Symposium Panel Spotlight on Land as Life: Ongoing Institutional Resistance and Survivance in Pandemic Times

March 23, 2021

This blog is part of a series that features panelists participating Field Stories: Community-Engaged Research in Times of Crisis, a day-long visual symposium that explores a range of community-engaged research practices, stories and assemblies about current social, health crisis and change.

Panel: Land as Life: Ongoing Institutional Resistance and Survivance in Pandemic Times

This session focuses a conversation that addresses the question of how universities can cultivate community-engaged research for social and cultural sustainability in good relation with people, community and land.

Land as Life is an undergraduate course in the Faculty of Xwulmuxw/Indigenous Studies at Vancouver Island University (VIU) that has been running for 18 years. It was created by community and it continues to be guided and led by the community members. Students are taught in part by Elders and community members from local Indigenous communities such as the Snuneymuxw and the Stz’uminus First Nations in settings outside the university campus.

The Land as Life project was led by Amanda Claudia Wager, Tier II Canada Research Chair in Community-Engaged Research and Professor in the Faculty of Education at Vancouver Island University.

Wager is one member of the five panelists. Other speakers include Georgina Martin, Laurie Meijer Drees, Fred Speck and Chelsea Thomas. She hopes that the project will cultivate a dialogue through reflection on the data taken throughout the course from students, student-helpers, course instructors and Elders/Knowledge Keepers. She wants to engage in a conversation that addresses the following complex community-engaged research themes:

  • The virtual adjustments that Elders quickly made to share their traditional knowledges;
  • The ethical considerations that accompany information gathering; and
  • The question of scientific versus community-engaged research credibility as knowledge valued in academic research.

University researchers are often in positions of power, a tenant that can cause possible harm or re-traumatization for participants. This panel aims to highlight the complexities surrounding community-engaged researcher in the face of structural systems that can perpetuate harm.

“We look forward to contemplating and discussing these challenging issues to benefit our communities and beyond,” says Wager.

More details

This panel discussion will take place Friday, March 26, 11:00-11:50 PT.

For more information and to register, visit:

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