Ms. Namaste Marsden appointed as inaugural Director, Indigenous Engagement

A message from Mike Allard, Vice-Dean, Health Engagement.

I am delighted to announce the appointment of Ms. Namaste Marsden as the inaugural Director, Indigenous Engagement in the Faculty of Medicine.

Namaste, Masemtxoxw, is from Wilp Gamlaxyeltxw, Lax Ganeda (Frog Clan), from Gitanyow, an independent Gitxsan nation in northern B.C. She is granddaughter to late hereditary chief Solomon Marsden, Gamlaxyeltxw. Members of her family, including Gamlaxyeltxw, brought forward expert testimony in the foundational case for Aboriginal rights and title in Canada, Delgamuukw vs. the Queen. Namaste, who has Bachelor’s degrees in Arts (Trent University) and Law (University of Victoria), has worked in First Nations governance and Indigenous health in the areas of Indigenous knowledge, partnerships, ethics, project management and mentorship.

Her work spans twenty years with Indigenous programs and projects, agencies and organizations at the community, nation, provincial, national and international levels. Her passion and expertise lie at the interface of Indigenous and First Nations knowledge and governance with western systems. She is committed to ethical engagement, addressing colonialism and racism against Indigenous peoples and privileging Indigenous worldviews with a focus to moving to rights recognition.

As Director, Indigenous Engagement, Namaste will provide vision, strategic leadership and diplomacy in advancing further development and implementation of the Faculty’s Response to the Calls to Action of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada. She will play a pivotal role in establishing meaningful, mutually beneficial relationships with Indigenous peoples, communities and organizations across the province. Namaste will also challenge and inspire the Faculty community to meet its obligations and commitments to advance human rights for Indigenous students, faculty, staff and the Indigenous peoples of British Columbia in accordance with the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous People.

Namaste will work very closely with me in my role as Vice-Dean of Health Engagement. She will also work closely and collaboratively with Roslyn Goldner, the Executive Director, Derek Thompson, the Indigenous Initiatives Advisor, and others from the Office of Respectful Environments, Equity, Diversity and Inclusion who will provide her with relevant support. Namaste will liaise with Sheryl Lightfoot, the Senior Advisor to the President on Indigenous Affairs, Nadine Caron, the Special Advisor on Indigenous Health to the Dean, Faculty of Medicine and Vice-President Health at UBC, as well as the UBC Office of Indigenous Strategic Initiatives and the various UBC Indigenous Strategic Plan Implementation Committees as appropriate, including cross-discipline Indigenous initiatives and activities through UBC Health.

Namaste is excited to join the Faculty and is happy to receive invitations to connect at Please join me in warmly welcoming Namaste to the Faculty and UBC!