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Etalew̓txʷ | ÁTOL ÁUTW̱ | Centre of respect for the rights of one another and all beings

Role & mandate

First Peoples House
First Peoples House was designed by Indigenous architect Alfred Waugh. The two featured house poles were carved by Tsawout artist Doug LaFortune.

Guiding statement

Rooted in the teaching of ʔetal nəwəl | ÁTOL,NEUEL | Showing respect for the rights of one another and all living things, and honouring the laws and protocols of the traditional territories, the Office of the Vice-President Indigenous (OVPI) leads the university’s Indigenous initiatives and priorities.

Laws & philosophies

  • Héʔəkʷ ʔə cə čəléŋən ɫtə | HÁEQ TE OL TŦE ĆELÁ EN TE | Remember our ancestors and birthright
  • Nəc̓əmaat kʷəns čeʔi | ĆȺNEUEL OL | Work together
  • Nəw̓es šxʷ cən ʔay̓ šqʷeləqʷən | ÁMEḴT TŦEN ÍY, ŚḰÁLEȻEN | Bring in your good heart and mind
  • Leʔt šxʷ helə ʔə cə mak̓ʷ sčeʔi səʔ | S,HOI EI MEQ EN ENA SE SĆȺ | Be prepared for the work to come

Names and teachings are provided in Lək̓ʷəŋən (Songhees & Esquimalt Peoples) | SENĆOŦEN (WSÁNEĆ Peoples) | English


The OVPI is responsible for:

  • the development of a strategy that integrates Indigenous cultures, histories, beliefs and ways of being and knowing across all aspects of the university’s mission
  • supporting the work of the Office of Indigenous Academic and Community Engagement, including student supports and community connections
  • working closely with the office of Equity and Human Rights on a coordinated approach to systemic issues

The OVPI will seek guidance and direction from Elders, Knowledge Keepers, colleagues and community leaders to achieve this visionary direction.


The VPI co-chairs the Indigenous Community Engagement Council (ICEC). The ICEC provides a forum for discussion among local Chiefs, community leaders and UVic leadership. Members of the ICEC advise and support UVic in the implementation of the Strategic Framework and Indigenous Plan. 


As the founding VPI, Qwul'sih'yah'maht, Robina Thomas is an integral member of the leadership team and reports to President Hall. The UVic executive leadership team is committed to walking alongside Robina and to helping achieve our shared objectives.

Robina was appointed as the founding Associate Vice-President Indigenous in April 2021 and became VP Indigenous as of April 1, 2022.

Academic programs

Academic programs with an Indigenous focus: