An Urban Cree Finding Place at xʷc̓ic̓əsəm

  • Hailey Bird Matheson University of British Columbia
Keywords: social work; Indigenization; Indigenous land-based pedagogies; knowledge keepers; urban garden


This article explores my personal journey as an urban Cree and social work student at the University of
British Columbia (UBC). From this positionality, I reflect on what it means to Indigenize social work by
privileging personal and professional identity, including ceremony and spirituality, as integral to the ways
we interact with others, particularly between Indigenous Peoples. I offer my own journey connecting to
my identity as an urban Cree person through working with Indigenous plant medicines. In particular, I
will highlight my experiences at xʷc̓ic̓əsəm—a garden on the stolen and ancestral territories of the xʷməθkwəy̓əm [Musqueam] people. Also known as the Indigenous Health Research and Education Garden at the UBC Farm, xʷc̓ic̓əsəm means “the place where we grow” in hən̓q̓əmin̓əm̓. xʷc̓ic̓əsəm embodies a space
where Indigenous Peoples can connect with both human and plant relatives to share stories, engage with
traditional medicines, and heal in a space by us and for us.


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