PCIGR is actively involved in the development of a pioneering new research excellence cluster at UBC: Indigenous/Science: Partnerships in the Exploration of History and Environments. The cluster was funded through the Grants for Catalyzing Research Clusters 2017 competition, which provides seed funding to enable the formation and growth of interdisciplinary networks of researchers focused on solving key challenges facing society that transcend the traditional boundaries associated with departments, institutions, and funding agencies.
The Indigenous/Science research cluster seeks to catalyze a conversation and study of Indigeneity and science, with specific application to understanding Indigenous history and the environment via both empirical evidence and critical social theory. Their focus includes the Indigenous past, its material and historical manifestations, the environmental context within which it occurred, and the study of this past.
The cluster includes UBC researchers from four faculties and six departments/schools, as well as researchers from the University of Victoria and institutions in the United States, Belgium, and France. They are working with representatives of several First Nations to develop partnerships that will mobilize their research capacities to address issues that are relevant to the communities.
PCIGR Director Dominique Weis is one of three co-PIs leading the initiative, PCIGR Research Associate Marg Amini is a researcher in the Materials Analysis Group, and PCIGR PhD student Rhy McMillan is part of the core planning team. PCIGR is one of the cluster’s key analytical facilities and will play a large role in the Materials Analysis Group, tasked with producing quantitative data for the project. The laboratory will provide trace element, radiogenic isotope and stable isotope analyses and help answer questions such as: What is the original context or ‘source’ of artifacts, bones, teeth? Where did X come from? When did X happen? What geologic/biologic processes caused the observed chemical, isotopic, and structural characteristics?