Office of Indigenous Affairs

Elder May Sam

Indigenous International Co-op Opportunities

Elder May Sam offers words of encouragement to Cristal Walters (Kamilaroi), the first incoming Indigenous exchange student in a new partnership between UVic and the Wollotuka Institute at the University of Newcastle in Australia.

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First Peoples House at night

First Peoples House

The First Peoples House is a social, cultural and academic centre for Indigenous students and serves as a safe and welcoming place that encourages the building of community.

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Skip Dick being robed at convocation

Honoring our Elders

Songhees Elder Skip Dick received an honorary degree at the November 2015 Convocation, recognizing his work as a community, education and youth sports leader. Skip is a founding member of the Elders' Voices program.

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The Office of Indigenous Affairs is here to support the success of Indigenous students attending UVic. Before, during and after your time at UVic, we're here to connect you with you with educational, financial and cultural resources on campus and in local communities. We encourage you to explore services available to you, as well as non-academic programs that may be of interest to you. Check out the student section of our website to learn about services offered to all UVic students that you may be interested in.

INAF's main responsibility is supporting Indigenous students, but the office has taken on many other roles as well. Current roles include managing the First Peoples House, building and supporting Indigenous partnerships and ensuring that Indigenous content and ways of knowing are included in UVic curriculum and events.

We acknowledge and respect the Songhees, Esquimalt and WSÁNEĆ peoples on whose traditional territory the university stands and whose historical relationships with the land continue to this day. We are grateful to be working for an institution that is committed to the ongoing work of decolonizing and Indigenizing the campus community both inside and outside the classroom. The recent Calls to Action from the Truth and Reconciliation Commission have highlighted the importance of ongoing work and has acted as a catalyst for bringing a broader community together to reflect on our collective responsibility in the ongoing process of reconciliation. In this spirit, we reflect on the teachings of Songhees Elder, Skip Dick, and we are reminded that by honouring the stories and histories of our ancestors, we honour the paths of those yet to come.

Robina Thomas, Director, Indigenous Academic and Community Engagement

Territory and acknowledgements

UVic is situated on the territory of the Coast and Straits Salish people. The university sits on the site of an old Lekwungen village. If you look around, you will see the remnants of an old Garry Oak Ecosystem indicating the presence of camas fields on this land. 

Welcome to the ancestral land of the Lekwungen family group, Checkonien and Sungayka village ('snow patches'). This area was known for camas harvesting, trading and cultural and spiritual practices. It was home to the Checkonien family group including Chee-al-thuc whose longhouse was in what is now known as Cadboro Bay. The beach at low tide was one place the ancestors played qoqwialls ('lacrosse').

Cheryl Bryce
Songhees Nation