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

First Peoples House

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.


The First Peoples House (FPH) is a social, cultural and academic centre for Indigenous students at UVic and serves as a safe and welcoming place that encourages the building of community. We encourage you to come in and be part of creating a supportive space for Indigenous students on campus. 

The First Peoples House is a home-away-from-home for Indigenous students and provides a safe space for learning, sharing and community building. Acknowledging the teachings from these territories, one must enter the House with a good mind and good heart.

Although it displays art, the First Peoples House is not an actual art gallery or museum. Visitors are always welcome, but please walk quietly and with respect for the staff and students working and studying in the building. 

Policies & procedures

The First Peoples House is a unique building on the university's campus. As a result, several specific policies and procedures have been created to guide the use and governance of the building. Depending on the topic area, a number of more general university policies and procedures may also apply to users of the First Peoples House. 

Use of space in the First Peoples House is subject to policies and guidelines. The First Peoples House Policy and Procedures Manual is a working document, and will be posted when it is available.


In adopting its 2007 strategic plan A Vision for the Future - Building on Strength, the University of Victoria pledged to "build on our commitment to our unique relationship with Canada's First Peoples." An important step in achieving this objective was the construction of a First Peoples House (FPH). During the summer of 2001, UVic President Dr. David Turpin consulted with Coast and Straits Salish Chiefs and Saanich Elders about how to "create a welcoming and inviting environment" for Indigenous students at UVic. Collaboration between Indigenous and non-Indigenous UVic staff, students and faculty, Coast and Straits Salish Chiefs and leaders, Elders and community members continued throughout the project.

Designed by Alfred Waugh, the FPH opened on January 25, 2010 and quickly lived up to its intended purpose becoming a "home away from home" for many Indigenous students.

The FPH design reflects traditional and modern values of the Coast and Straits Salish peoples, as well as influences from the Interior Salish. Art and artefacts from the Salish peoples and neighbouring Indigenous cultures adorn its foyer and corridors. The building's exterior is clad in western red cedar planks resembling those of pre-contact longhouses. A timber canopy covered in wild grasses and low-maintenance indigenous plant life shelters the House's two entrances.

The FPH has already been recognized for its innovative, sustainable and community-oriented design, having received multiple awards at both the local and international level.


When entering the First Peoples House, do so with respect for the ancestors – the original caretakers of this land – and for each other by upholding the following teachings: 

  • Héʔəkʷ ʔə cə čəléŋən ɫtə | HÁEQ ȽTE OL TŦE ĆELÁṈEN ȽTE | 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,HOL EṮ MEQ EN ENÁ SE SĆȺ | Be prepared for the work to come

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

To listen to these teachings and learn the pronunciations, visit the Language page.


Booking a tour

Are you a prospective Indigenous student? We encourage you to visit the First Peoples House (FPH) and take a tour. Tours are relatively informal, take approximately 20 minutes, and are provided based on staff availability.

Hosting a tour

UVic faculty, staff, students and community members who are Indigenous and an active part of the House community are also welcome to host visits and tours. Please note the following:


The usage of all First Peoples House rooms must meet the objectives of Indigenous education and/or Indigenous cultural resurgence. First priority is always given to UVic courses, and then to other university and external bookings.

Guidelines for Protocol, Hosting and Payment for səlxʷéyn ɫtə /SELWÁN ȽTE (Elders), Knowledge Keepers and Community Members 

For more information, please contact the First Peoples House Building and Operations Coordinator by or at (250) 853-3601.