Territory acknowledgement

In this video, Esquimalt Elder Elmer George welcomes visitors to the traditional lands of the Songhees, Esquimalt and WSÁNEĆ people in Lkwungen and English, and UVic President Jamie Cassels gives a territory acknowledgement and talks about UVic’s commitment to redressing historical and continued barriers facing Indigenous students.

We acknowledge with respect the Lekwungen-speaking peoples on whose traditional territory the university stands and the Songhees, Esquimalt and WSÁNEĆ peoples whose historical relationships with the land continue to this day.


UVic recognizes that colonization and associated attitudes, policies and institutions have significantly changed Indigenous peoples’ relationship with this land. And for many years those same things served to exclude Indigenous students from higher education.

Today, we are proud that Indigenous students are enrolling and succeeding in UVic programs in increasing numbers. We are taking steps to create a warm, welcoming and respectful learning environment and sense of place to support our goals of creating a campus community that is accepting of diversity and inclusive of Indigenous ways of knowing and being.

While there is much to be done to redress the historical and continued barriers facing Indigenous students, the territorial acknowledgement is an important part of working together with our local Indigenous communities in a good way.

We see a number of ways that doing a respectful and meaningful territory acknowledgement can contribute to this work. It can inspire people to think about how they have come to be here, including the impacts of colonialism. It can foster a sense of responsibility to learn more about the people whose lands we live on, wherever we come from. It can offer an opportunity to reflect on what we will do differently based on what we have learned.

The acknowledgement was prepared in consultation with local Indigenous communities and it is the recommended and preferred statement to read at the commencement of UVic events on campus. We can use this acknowledgement any time we come together as colleagues.

If we are inviting people to campus, it is appropriate to request a Lwkungen Elder or Knowledge Keeper to do a welcome to the territory in accordance with Coast Salish protocol.