Services

Aboriginal Service Plan Initiative

Intended to increase Aboriginal learners' access, participation and success in the post-secondary education system by increasing the receptivity and relevance of post-secondary institutions and programs for Aboriginal learners, and by supporting partnerships between post-secondary institutions and Aboriginal communities.

Aboriginal service plans (ASPs) outline goals for Aboriginal learners in terms of access, participation, and success, as well as the specific actions required to meet these goals.

Creating a Caring Community program

This program was created to support Indigenous students in achieving success while in a post secondary environment by addressing the foundational elements of access, transition, retention and completion.

While a student's time at university requires a strong focus on academics, through Creating a Caring Community (CCC) activities we also aim to provide students with a more holistic, balanced experience by nurturing the cultural, social and physical aspects of their journey at UVic.

Feeling like part of a community, and having connections within it, is fundamental to success. CCC includes six main monthly activities to connect them that include:

  • New to UVic and Exit Strategies workshops
  • TD Indigenous Student Career Transitions program
  • CCC monthly theme activity
  • community kitchen
  • craft and culture night
  • talking circles
LE,NONET
The LE,NONET Project (2004-2009) was designed to help create a space at the University of Victoria where Aboriginal students would feel welcomed, could be successful in a community environment, and experience a beneficial education.

To accomplish this goal, several interrelated programs and initiatives were designed in consultation with Aboriginal students, faculty, staff, and representatives from local First Nations.

The project was given $250,000 in one-time funding so that it can continue to provide:

  • research apprenticeships and community internships
  • student mentoring
  • student bursaries
  • training and support for faculty and staff
  • partnerships with Vancouver Island First Nations and Aboriginal organizations
New to UVic

New to UVic is aimed at new Indigenous UVic students. It was designed to help improve study skills, uphold motivation and provide tools for dealing with the stresses of university life.

Bi-monthly topics included:

  • making and using notes
  • reading strategies
  • exam preparation
  • write papers/navigate the library
  • staying motivated
  • reducing anxiety/stress
Week of Welcome

Happening the last week of September every year, The Office of Indigenous Affairs creates a timetable of welcoming and orientation activities.

Welcome feasts, open houses, Elders' teas, academic advising, faculty and student panels and social interaction with the Indigenous UVic community is the focus for this annual event.

Exit Strategies

Exit Strategies aims to support and prepare students to make the transition from post-secondary education to the workforce. The program was developed in collaboration with the Nuu-chah-nulth Tribal Council and community.

The main focus is to help students identify support networks and pursue career opportunities that reflect their interests, aptitudes and culture. Bi-monthly topics included:

  • orientation
  • budgeting for students
  • effective workplace communication
  • assessing transferrable skills
  • career conversations: Nuu-chah-nulth alumni, résumé building, and portfolio building
TD Indigenous Student Career Transitions Project

This program, sponsored by TD Bank, is designed to help fourth year, and graduate students, gain direct "on the job" skills while pursuing their educational goals. Students will work towards mentoring and/or job shadowing and professional development skills such as resume writing and interview techniques, working with a job coach, and preparing for graduate studies. As a key requirement of the program, students are expected to give back to the community either by facilitating workshops, or organizing a community event.

Financial awards will be given to students for various levels of participation, including the following program components:

  1. Mentoring: a minimum of 20-25 hours .
  2. Job shadowing: a minimum of five days (25-35 hours) .
  3. Reciprocal learning and giving back: volunteer your time to give back to your community or extended community. This may take the form of organizing a community event, hosting a workshop(s), utilizing your skills to help your community in some way.

Students will have an opportunity to participate in:

  • orientation/career workshops
  • graduate studies preparation
  • professional portfolio development
  • entrepreneurship

Based on which career options are chosen, students will receive up to $2000 in awards. The third cycle of this program, June to December 2010, brought the total participants to 35.

CCC monthly theme activity

In consultation with Counselling Services and Indigenous students, we came up with unique themes to address each month of the school year, with workshops geared towards supporting each student in their introduction to life at university.

From New Beginnings in September, with workshops addressing culture-shock and transitions, to December's Reconnecting, and April's Awakening, the monthly workshops aimed to address the special needs and unique struggles of students throughout the school year.

Cultural services support Indigenous programs at the University of Victoria. They provide linkages between students, the local First Nations community, Aboriginal community organizations, Elders and the university.

Other cultural services and support include cultural training, cultural events and activities to support the emotional and spiritual wellness of Aboriginal and Indigenous students.

Community kitchen

Geared toward highlighting the importance of nutrition, and to address the reality of under-nourished university students, often living in poverty, the community kitchen program creates a monthly opportunity for Indigenous students to help plan and prepare healthy meals that can later be taken home to be enjoyed over the next week. Fifteen of the 48 participants were also given the opportunity to take part in a Foodsafe course to complement their food preparation and their resumés.

Craft and culture night

Bringing students and families together, craft and culture nights create an opportunity for learning the art of traditional crafts, as well as related cultural teachings. Held every second Wednesday, the cultural protocol liaison teaches cedar weaving and brings in an Elder skilled in working with wool to teach Cowichan knitting.

Over 140 participants attended throughout the 2009/2010 school year, and it has become an opportunity for whole families to connect to local island culture on a powerful artistic and community level.

Talking circles

Focused on creating opportunities for Elders to become fundamental sources of support and guidance for Indigenous students, every week a talking circle is led by a local Elder. This gives students a chance to take part in an open, honest dialogue about their struggles in the post-secondary environment, and receive feedback from both the Elder involved and their peers.

Over 300 Indigenous students and staff took part throughout the 2009/2010 school year, making talking circles a vital building block in the very foundation of Indigenous student support at UVic.

Elders' Voices

Cultural protocol liaison: Deb George

Within Indigenous communities Elders hold a place of great honour. They are considered to be the foundation of the community and the glue that keeps the community together. They are the "history books" tasked as keepers of the sacred stories, songs, language, culture and traditions.

In recognition and acknowledgement of the crucial role Elders play in their communities and based on recommendations made by students, staff, faculty and the administration of the University of Victoria, the Office of Indigenous Affairs was given the privilege of assembling a group of Elders from the local communities.

The role of these Elders is to guide students, staff, faculty and administration in Indigenous ways of knowing and being and to assist in weaving those ways into the fabric of the institution.

Elders in residence

Elder in residenceIn September of 2009, based on suggestion from students, Elders' Voices and the Office of Indigenous Affairs launched an Elder-in-Residence program. Every Tuesday, Thursday and Friday from 10:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. an Elder is available to answer questions, offer support, conduct ceremony or just to listen.

Financial services include helping students access awards and bursaries available from Student Awards and Financial Aid. The deadline for applications is May 31 each year.

General bursaries
  • Rosy and Steve Chan Memorial Bursary One or more bursaries are awarded to students of minority ancestral groups entering or continuing at the University of Victoria. Preference will be given to students of Aboriginal or Asian ancestry.
  • Faculty Association Bursaries One or more bursaries of $2,000 each are awarded to single parents, students with a disability or First Nations students.
  • Vancouver Foundation First Nations Bursary One or more bursaries are awarded to First Nations students.
  • Frank Wing Memorial Bursary One or more bursaries are awarded to students of minority ancestral groups entering or continuing at the University of Victoria. Preference will be given to students of Aboriginal or Asian ancestry.
General enterance scholarships
  • Norah and Calvin Banks Science Scholarship Awarded to an academically outstanding undergraduate Indigenous student in the Faculty of Science.
  • C.H. Dowling Memorial Scholarship Awarded to a First Nations student who is a resident of BC and who is entering UVic directly from a BC secondary school or college. Preference will be given to a student entering the Faculty of Humanities or the Faculty of Social Sciences.
  • Dr. J. Donald Rowlatt Entrance Scholarship Awarded to a BC secondary school student entering first year at UVic and who has been granted admission to the Faculty of Business. Preference will be given to an Aboriginal student.
In-course scholarships

Langford-Seabourne Scholarship One or more scholarships are awarded to full-time or part-time Snuneymuxw First Nations students with the highest GPA entering or continuing in the Master of Public Administration program. In the event there is no such candidate, preference will be given to a Snuneymuxw student in any graduate program at the University of Victoria. If no Snuneymuxw graduate student is found, the scholarship will be awarded to a Snuneymuxw student entering or continuing in any undergraduate program.Selection of the graduate recipient will be made by the graduate admissions and awards committee. Selection of the undergraduate student will be made by the senate committee on awards.

Faculty specific
  • Dr. J. Donald Rowlatt Entrance Scholarship A scholarship is awarded to a BC secondary school student entering first year at the University of Victoria and who has been granted admission to the Faculty of Business. Preference will be given to an Aboriginal student.
  • Aboriginal Graduate Scholarship in Economics A scholarship of $1,000 is awarded to an Aboriginal graduate student entering the Department of Economics. If there is no eligible graduate student then the scholarship will be awarded to an Aboriginal undergraduate student entering the Department of Economics.
  • Thomas M. Hess Scholarship in Indigenous Language Revitalization One or more scholarships are awarded to academically outstanding undergraduate Indigenous students in either the Faculty of Humanities or the Faculty of Education who are enrolled in Indigenous Language courses or an Indigenous language program.
  • Dairyland Scholarships in Environmental Studies Three scholarships of $750 each are awarded to academically outstanding undergraduate students in a majors program in Environmental Studies in each of the following: Political Ecology, Ethnoecology and Ecological Restoration. One scholarship of $750 is awarded to an academically outstanding undergraduate student in a declared major or minor program in Environmental Studies. Preference will be given to a First Nations student.
  • Ken Coates Book Prize A book prize is awarded to an outstanding student enrolled in a history course devoted to First Nations studies.
  • Sylvia Brown Entrance Scholarship A scholarship is awarded to an Aboriginal student entering the Faculty of Law. Preference will be given to a student who is a member of the Heiltsuk or Kitasoo or Nuxalk communities.
  • Keith B. Jobson Awards An award is presented to a student in the Faculty of Law who has demonstrated leadership, community interest or academic excellence in respect to Aboriginal issues.
  • Christopher S. Johnson Scholarship A scholarship of $550 is awarded to a second or third year Aboriginal student in the Faculty of Law. Preference is given to a student who is enrolled in the Law Centre program or has shown interest in criminal law and who has worked or is still working in Aboriginal communities or other community organizations.
  • Janes Freedman Kyle Law Corporation Prize in Indigenous Lands, Rights and Governance A prize of $1,000 is awarded to a student who has achieved high academic standing in the Indigenous Lands, Rights and Governance course in the Faculty of Law.
  • Winona Wood Native Womens' Student Scholarships in Law One or more scholarships are awarded to outstanding Native women students entering the Faculty of Law.
  • Trudy Usher Bursary One or more bursaries are awarded to Aboriginal students who are entering the School of Social Work at the University of Victoria.
  • Elizabeth (Betty) Valentine Pragnell Two undergraduate scholarships, one to a female and one to a male, are awarded to academically outstanding First Nations students with an interest in Native art in the Department of Visual Arts.
  • Michèle Pujol Bursary in Women's Studies A bursary is awarded to a female 3rd or 4th year student in the Department of Women's Studies. Preference will be given to a lesbian, woman of a visible minority or an Aboriginal woman.
LE,NONET bursary program

In the form of top-up funding; awarded annually to qualifying students. These funds did not displace any existing student funding nor substituted for funding that students might have received for their participation in the other programs offered as part of the project.

In addition to bursaries, LE,NONET also provided one-time emergency relief funds to eligible Aboriginal students in crisis situations such as: unanticipated medical costs, travel home in an event of family death or serious illness, or one-time assistance with rent or food for students in dire circumstances.

Indigenous counselling office - The Indigenous counselling office in the First Peoples' House is a welcoming place of sharing, caring and healing for all UVic Indigenous community members. They offer a respectful, emotionally safe and confidential setting for you to address all levels of life's concerns.

Student groups
Native Students Union

The Native Students Union works towards empowering students to benefit from academic learning at UVic while providing an outlet to maintain strong cultural and spiritual ties with other Aboriginal, Métis, Inuit, status and non-status students and our communities.

Indigenous Law Students Association (ILSA)

ILSA is a group for the Indigenous students of the Faculty of Law. They strive to foster a sense of community to its members, and hold events for the entire student body to promote Aboriginal cultural awareness.

The Staff and Faculty Aboriginal Cultural Training (SFACT) program was designed to meet the broad project goal of making the university a more welcoming environment for Indigenous students.

The need for this program arose out of the recognition that university campuses can be alienating for Indigenous students, who may face interpersonal and systemic racism and discrimination during their education. Additionally, Indigenous people have a unique relationship to the education system, due to a legacy of residential schools and other tools of colonization.

To raise awareness about these issues, SFACT included the development and piloting of online and face-to-face workshop modules for UVic faculty and staff. These focused on exploring the needs of Indigenous students and sharing knowledge about a range of cultural and historical Indigenous issues.


The Office of Indigenous Affairs provides leadership and support across the university’s Indigenous initiatives, including academic programs, student support services, protocol activities and the First People’s House.

The office assists students with academic, cultural and funding matters particularly related to First Nations sponsorship. The office also assists with the promotion and co-ordination of special events related to Indigenous cultural and traditional events.

First Peoples House creates an academic and cultural centre for Indigenous students, and a welcoming space on campus for the broader community. Designed by Alfred Waugh Architect of Vancouver in the Coast Salish style, the house includes academic, administrative and ceremonial spaces.