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Civil Engineering

Engineering & Indigenous Information Sources

Engineering students and faculty at UBC are increasingly asking for assistance in developing research strategies and skills to locate sources by Indigenous scholars and about Indigenous knowledge within the field. The resources and pathways gathered here are meant as a starting point. Engineering librarians are available for consultations to explore your research questions with you and locate additional sources and approaches to finding answers. 

Thank you to Frances Purcell, iSchool student and Graduate Academic Assistant at Woodward Library for her work on this guide in 2022.  

To find Indigenous perspectives on various topics, including engineering, start with these databases:
Resources useful in understanding the overlapping topics of Indigenous knowledge and engineering:

Indigenous students and communities can be alienated by science because “it does not reflect their way of knowing or their identity” (Aikenhead, 2001, as cited in Desjarlais, 2022). Engineering as a scientific discipline must be particularly aware of this effect, as engineers are often entrusted to make decisions on behalf of a large range of populations with differing values and beliefs (Wolf et al., 2022). If engineers are to appropriately suit their projects and research to different user groups, they must “understand what other ways the users have come to understand existence” (Wolf et al., 2022) and intentionally include and work to understand perspectives and knowledge systems different from their own.  

Engineers and Geoscientists BC  (in alignment with UNDRIP, the Canadian Truth and Reconciliation Calls to Action, and the UBC Indigenous Strategic Plan) have recognized that Truth and Reconciliation is essential in ensuring Indigenous peoples are not alienated or harmed by engineers and their projects. As emerging engineers, it is important to learn how to incorporate Indigenous perspectives, research, and Traditional Knowledge into your own work and intentionally participate in anti-racism and decolonization. 

  • What is Reconciliation? Created by the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada video 
  • Reconciliation + Design Dialogue Series. Created UBC Applied Science, videos
  • Decolonization and Anti-Racism. Created by UBC Library resource guide  
  • Land Acknowledgements for Engineers and Geoscientists. Created by the Engineers & Geoscientists BC webinar 
  • The Value of Indigenous Engagement on Engineering and Geoscience Projects. Created by the Engineers & Geoscientists BC webinar 
  • Weaving Relations: Indigenous Design & Engagement in Applied Science & Land and Food Systems. UBC created, self-directed free course 
  • Engineers and Geoscientists BC Truth and Reconciliation Commission webpage 
  • Informing First Nations Stewardship with Applied Research: Research Guide. Created by Kitasoo/Xai’xais Stewardship Authority research guide
  • Tri-Council policy on research ethics involving Indigenous peoples policy 
  • UBC Indigenous Research Support Initiative webpage
Librarians at UBC have created guides on many topics of relevance to Indigenous research questions. These guides are great starting points:
This selected bibliography is meant to support further research in engineering education as well as in the application of engineering with Indigenous perspectives:

Aikenhead, G. (2001). Rekindling traditions: Cross-cultural science and technology units. Paper presented at the Indigenous Knowledge Conference, 2001. University of Saskatchewan, Saskatoon. 

Desjarlais, J. (2022). Indigineering: Engineering through Indigenous Knowledge and Mino Pimachisowin. The Northern Review, 53, 139–150. 

Engineers & Geoscientists BC. (n.d.). Truth & Reconciliation. Engineers & Geoscientists BC. Retrieved February 7, 2023, from  

Foster, C., & Jordan, S. (2014). A philosophy of learning engineering and a Native American philosophy of learning; an analysis for Congruency. 2014 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition Proceedings. 

Johnson, E. A. (2016). Mitigating social risk in the extractive sector: developing intercultural competence as a tool for negotiating western-Indigenous perspectives within the undergraduate mining engineering curriculum. Unpublished Ph.D. thesis. Kingston, ON: Department of Mining Engineering, Queen's University. 

Kennedy, J.E., Goldfinch, T., Leigh, E.E., McCarthy, T.J., Prpic, J.K., & Dawes, L. (2016). A beginners guide to incorporating Aboriginal perspectives into engineering curricula. Faculty of Arts, Social Sciences and Humanities – Papers, 122.  

Mackenzie, D.L. & Keely, E. (n.d.). Weaving Relations [Online course]. Canvas. 

Potts, K. & Brown, L. (2005). Becoming an Anti-Oppressive Researcher. In Brown, L. & Strega, S. (Eds.), Research as Resistance: Critical, Indigenous, & Anti-Oppressive Approaches (pp. 255-286). Canada Scholar’s Press, Inc.  

Ruta, A., Seniuk Cicek, J., Mante, A., Speare, M., & Herrmann, R. (2021). Ten calls to action to integrate Indigenous knowledges and Perspectives into the Biosystems Engineering program at the University of Manitoba. Canadian Biosystems Engineering, 63(1), 9.1–9.17. 

Wolf, P., Gonzalez, A., Rattray, C., Saha, D., Shaw, J., Martinussen, N., & Harris, B. (2022). Decolonizing the Engineering Curriculum. BCcampus Pressbooks.