Office of Indigenous Academic & Community Engagement

Rededicating Charles Elliott's logo

Introducing IACE

Qwul' sih' yah' maht (Dr. Robina Thomas), the first Executive Director of the Office of Indigenous Academic & Community Engagement (IACE), holds a drum bearing the office's logo as the artist, TEMOSEṈ-THUT, describes it.

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Elder May Sam

Indigenous International Co-op Opportunities

Elder May Sam offers words of encouragement to Cristal Walters (Kamilaroi), the first incoming Indigenous exchange student in a new partnership between UVic and the Wollotuka Institute at the University of Newcastle in Australia.

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First Peoples House at night

First Peoples House

The First Peoples House is a social, cultural and academic centre for Indigenous students and serves as a safe and welcoming place that encourages the building of community.

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Skip Dick being robed at convocation

Honoring our Elders

Songhees Elder Skip Dick received an honorary degree at the November 2015 Convocation, recognizing his work as a community, education and youth sports leader. Skip is a founding member of the Elders' Voices program.

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IACE Updates

FALL 2021 - The First Peoples House office is open Monday to Friday from 8:30 am - 4:30 pm, with a daily lunch closure between 12 and 1 pm. We are adhering to all provincial COVID-19 restrictions including mandatory masks and regular sanitizing of work spaces and common areas. The student lounge, computer room and shared lunch room are open Monday to Friday from 8:30 am - 4:30 pm.  If you would like to meet with an IACE staff member at the First Peoples House, you can come by in person and talk to the IACE receptionist in Room 140, or call or email the staff member ahead to make an in-person or Zoom/phone appointment at  or 250-853-3730. Thank you.

What we do

The Office of Indigenous Academic and Community Engagement (IACE) is here to support the success of Indigenous students attending UVic. Before, during and after your time at UVic, we're here to connect you with the educational, financial and cultural resources available on campus and in local communities. We encourage you to explore the many programs and services that we offer to Indigenous students. Don't forget to check out the student section of our website to learn about the services offered to all UVic students.

IACE's main responsibility is supporting Indigenous students, but the office has taken on many other roles as well. Current roles include managing the First Peoples House, building and supporting Indigenous partnerships, and ensuring that Indigenous content and ways of knowing are included in UVic curriculum and events.

We acknowledge and respect the lək̓ʷəŋən 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. We are grateful to be working for an institution that is committed to the ongoing work of decolonizing and Indigenizing the campus community both inside and outside the classroom. The recent Calls to Action from the Truth and Reconciliation Commission have highlighted the importance of ongoing work and has acted as a catalyst for bringing a broader community together to reflect on our collective responsibility in the ongoing process of reconciliation. In this spirit, we reflect on the teachings of Songhees Elder, Dr. Skip Dick, and we are reminded that by honouring the stories and histories of our ancestors, we honour the paths of those yet to come.

Robina Thomas, Associate Vice-President Indigenous

Territory and acknowledgements

The university sits on the site of an old Lekwungen village. If you look around, you will see the remnants of an old Garry Oak Ecosystem indicating the presence of camas fields on this land. 

Welcome to the ancestral land of the Lekwungen Checkonien family group, and to Sungayka village ('snow patches'). This area was known for camas harvesting, trading and cultural and spiritual practices. It was home to the Checkonien family group including Chee-al-thuc whose longhouse was in what is now known as Cadboro Bay. The beach at low tide was one place the ancestors played qoqwialls ('lacrosse').

Cheryl Bryce
Songhees Nation