New indigenous employees

Download UVic's Employee Handbook and Indigenous Employee Guide. These documents will provide you with information and answers to questions you may have while you navigate your first few weeks.

New indigenous staff welcome and honouring ceremony

2024 was the first time new Indigenous staff were invited to participate in a welcoming and honouring blanketing ceremony. All employees are invited to participate as witnesses to this ceremony.  This is an incredible way to learn and participate in Coast Salish culture and protocol, which aligns with UVic’s renewed Indigenous Plan.

Organization Development and Learning Services (ODLS), in close partnership with Office of the Vice-President Indigenous (OPVI) and Indigenous Academic & Community Engagement (IACE) share the hope that by bringing you these sessions, you will learn about our collective commitment to the Xʷkʷənəŋ istəl | W̱ȻENEṈISTEL | Helping to move each other forward, UVic’s renewed Indigenous Plan (2023) specifically the teachings Nəcəmaat kʷəns čeʔi | ĆȺNEUEL OL| Work together and Nəwes šxʷ cən ʔay šqʷeləqʷən | ÁMEḴT TŦEN ÍY, ŚḰÁLEȻEN | Bring in your good heart and mind.

In the spirit of these teachings, we are encouraging you to participate in the Blanketing Ceremony, as a participant or witness. 

Participating in the ceremony

If you yourself are Indigenous and a new employee and would like to request permission to live and work on these lands by taking part in the blanketing ceremony, or you are from these territories and would like to be blanketed, please complete the registration form.  If you have any questions, please connect with Lalita Kines or Margaret Charlie who will share more detailed information about the ceremony and next steps.

Registration Form | New Indigenous Staff Blanketing Ceremony Participant

Witnessing the ceremony

All employees are invited to participate as a witness in the Blanketing Ceremony. This is an incredible way to learn and participate in Coast Salish culture and protocol, which aligns with UVic’s renewed Indigenous Plan.

By witnessing this ceremony, you will learn about our collective commitment to the first teaching Héʔəkʷ ʔə cə čəléŋən ɫtə | HÁEQ TE OL TŦE ĆELÁ EN TE| Remember our ancestors and birthright. It sets the goal: All members of the university community understand and  demonstrate how to live, learn and work in right relationships  with local lands, waters and laws.

The first two priorities of this goal link directly to employee’s participation in the Blanketing Ceremony:

1.1.1 Include Indigenous cultural competencies in staff and faculty hiring, training and retention strategies, ensuring that all employees know the laws and histories of these territories and are prepared to live in right relationship to this place.

1.1.2 Review and revise orientation programs and materials to ensure all students, staff and faculty coming to the university understand local histories, lands, and protocols.

As Dr. Skip Dick (Songhees Elder) says in his opening remarks of the Indigenous Plan:

“You have a responsibility to take care, to be living as a community, to not lose what it means to be a human being with other human beings.”

Event details

New Indigenous employees will be blanketed in ceremony and formally request permission to live and work on these lands, and a local Elder will then welcome them to these lands. Indigenous employees from this territory may not be requesting permission to work on these lands but may still wish to be honoured and protected in their new role by being blanketed. Non-Indigenous attendees will also have the opportunity to collectively request permission to work on these lands in accordance with traditional Coast Salish protocols.

Before asking permission to work on Lək̓ʷəŋən territories, Indigenous employees will be blanketed. Blankets are an important item of significance in Coast Salish cultures, and this blanketing will be guided by the protocols of the Lək̓ʷəŋən and W̱SÁNEĆ peoples. The blanket is intended to wrap new employees with the teachings and strength they will need for their future at UVic, in honour of their achievements and to provide security on their journey.

The New Indigenous Staff Welcome and Honouring Ceremony is part of new employee programgs. Please visit the new employee events page for more information.