Jordan Wilson: Bringing Research Back to the Community

FNSP student Jordan Wilson contributed to First Nations archives

“I was really interested in reconnecting with my community,” said Jordan, fourth-year student in the First Nations Studies Program.

Growing up in South Surrey, Jordan came to UBC in the footsteps of his older brother, a UBC alumnus. Although he has Musqueam ancestry, Jordan wasn’t very involved with his First Nations community until university. At UBC Jordan got involved with Musqueam 101, which started in 2006, where he developed close relationships with UBC Professors Sue Rowley and Margery Fee.

After taking a survey of first and second year courses, Jordan realized that his passion was in Aboriginal issues, deciding to major in the First Nations Studies Program; “It’s very interdisciplinary,” said Jordan, “and students in the program come from a variety of backgrounds.”

FNSP offers a research practicum in which students partner with a community and do research based on the community’s needs. Jordan worked with the Museum of Anthropology and his band, Musqueam, to research unpublished material housed in the Museum of Anthropology for the Musqueam Indian Band archives. For his research, Jordan interviewed anthropologist and UBC Professor Emeriti Michael Kew and as a result created a catalogue for Kew’s 1981 exhibit “Visions of Power, Symbols of Wealth.” Through Fee and a supportive English professor, Jordan has also video-interviewed well-known Aboriginal authors Richard Van Camp and Thomas King for CanLit.

Jordan has worked in the administration office of FNSP and continues to work as a student researcher at MOA on an AURA-funded research project, investigating unmarked and unattributed Inuit soap stone carvings which can potentially be traced back to a specific community based on their geological make-up. As he finishes the last year of his BA, Jordan shares this advice: “Your degree is only what you put into it.”

Jordan intends to pursue Museum Studies, hoping to offer a different perspective than Art Historians or Anthropologists—one from an Indigenous Studies background—and to continue to contribute to his home community in some form. He is also interested in continuing to do video work in a variety of capacities.

Written by Katie Fedosenko
Article Published August 9, 2010