Collaboration Agreement Signing Ceremony

ĆȺNEUEL OL | Work together”

On May 4, 2022, leadership from the University of Victoria (UVic) and the W̱SÁNEĆ School Board (W̱SB) gathered on W̱SÁNEĆ territory for a signing ceremony for the renewal of the Collaboration Agreement 2022-2030. The original agreement, first signed in 2014, set out a five year plan to work together in a good way that holds up the values of W̱SÁNEĆ culture, language, and knowledge. By working together, both partners commit to develop and prioritize educational programming and services that promote the growth and development of First Nations students, and that strengthen the foundation for capacity building amongst W̱SÁNEĆ communities. The renewal is an eight year agreement that is a living document providing flexibility and the option to update as needed with the agreement of both parties.


During the signing ceremony, we were witness to the renewal and a recommitment of this work from the signatories Abraham Pelkey, Chairman of the W̱SB, Curtis Olsen, Administrator of the W̱SB, Robina Thomas, Vice-President Indigenous of UVic and Kevin Hall, President of UVic. As the group signed the renewal agreement, PENÁĆ David Underwood and respected Elder JSIṈTEN John Elliott from W̱JOȽEȽP Tsartlip First Nation blessed them with an Honour song.  

“The dream of our Elders is being realized in documents such as this,” says JSIṈTEN.

“We are so grateful to the University of Victoria for the ability to provide partnership programming at the Saanich Adult Education Centre (SAEC),” says Kendra Underwood, WSAEC Director. “The W̱, SENĆOŦEN IST program, meaning ‘moving the language forward through the breath of the people,’ is especially meaningful to us as it comes from our hearts. Language is inherently part of our identity, it is a part of our culture, and there is a good place for it in education if it is built in a good way and is kept sacred. We see this programming, and the work of all those around our partnership table, as contributing to the growth of our SENĆOŦEN immersion stream at the W̱SÁNEĆ School Board.”


This document is a beautiful way of coming together, reaffirming the commitment to working together in a good way with good hearts and acknowledging the late Dr. Marie Cooper and her vision and her work that is woven throughout the document. Keeping the spirit and language alive throughout the agreement honours her words and vision around this type of partnership. Working alongside our partners, UVic is honoured to see the work that is happening on the ground with this programming in community.

UVic acknowledges the harmful role Canada has played in education and recognizes that there is much more work to do to remove barriers to education. This agreement reaffirms the commitment moving forward and reflects a commitment to the young learners of today.  “We are walking a path of reconciliation and we are committed to doing better,” says Kevin Hall.

ÁMEḴT TŦEN ÍY, ŚḰÁLEȻEN | Bring in your good feelings

To read the Collaboration Agreement 2022-2030.