Indigenous Knowledge, Science, & Resource Management Field School

A partnership between the UVic Department of Geography and the QQS Projects Society of the Heiltsuk First Nation

Jess Housty leads a hands-on experience learning about a millennia-old clam garden and the Indigenous Knowledge systems that supported them (Photo by Chris Darimont)

Chris Darimont and students inspect a grizzly bear 'stomp trail' - a path created through the ritualized stepping of generations of bears at Koeye (Photo by Elias del Valle)

On a fine May day, freshly picked seaweed dries on the beach at Bella Bella, where connections between people and resources abound (Photo by Elias del Valle)

Interacting with multiple research projects at Koeye, students help measure juvenile salmon smolts before they are released (Photo by Kear Porttris)

The lodge at Koeye river (Photo by Kear Porttris)

Geography 453 students in Heiltsuk/Wuikinuxv Territories, coastal BC

When and Where

2020 Field School: Apr 29th - May 9th

Places visited: The village of Bella Bella, Heiltsuk Territory, and the remote Koeye River Lodge

How to Apply

Apply in: Spring term

Applications are now closed for 2020. Stay tuned for future offerings!

Contact  if you have any questions.

Program Overview

Please note: The 2020 offering of this field school has been adapted to fit into an online format. As such, some of the information presented on this page will be inaccurate.

For a full program description, see the Information Sheet.

The Indigenous Knowledge, Science & Resource Management Field School (a.k.a. the "University of Koeye") is based in the village of Bella Bella, Heiltsuk Territory, and the remote Koeye River Lodge. This field school is 9 days long, and usually offered in May.


  • Students should have third or fourth year standing, or be granted special permission to register.
  • This field school is designed primarily as a capstone experience for senior students, but the selection committee will consider other applicants based on a variety of factors, including course, life, and work experience. We are particularly interested in students from coastal Indigenous communities in the area (and offer fellowships to eligible applicants; please see below).
  • This field school will involve outdoor activities that will at times be physically demanding, such as hiking over rough or steep terrain. Applicants must mention if they have any accessibility needs that may affect their ability to participate in these activities.
  • Finally, we ask applicants to answer several questions, which allows us to assess the fit of each applicant and what they could contribute to the learning and community-engaged experience.

If you have any further questions, please email Chris Darimont at


This field school is comprised of one course worth 1.5 credits.  Successful applicants will be registered in the course through special registration by the Department of Geography (students will not register themselves). Students at other institutions will need to register as a visiting student at UVic before enrolling.  Those students can ask program counsellors at their home institutions about transfer credit, which we will support.

1. Geog 453 – Field Studies in Coastal and Marine Resources

Field School Fees

For field schools, students pay regular UVic tuition plus field school fees.

Fees can be paid by cheque, money order, counter cheque, or cash ONLY. Cheques should be made payable to the University of Victoria. Payment can be dropped off at the Geography main office (David Turpin Building, room B203) or mailed (cheques only).

Field school fees*:

  • $100 deposit paid at time of application
  • $1000 paid by March 31st, 2020

*All field school fees are subject to change between program offerings. 

Field school fees include:                   

  • Room & board in Bella Bella and the Koeye River Lodge
  • Water taxi and van charters
  • Teaching- and research-related equipment and materials
  • Compensation for guest lecturers and knowledge holders
  • Other field course expenses

 Field school fees do not include:

  • Tuition
  • Travel to Bella Bella by ferry and from Port Hardy (location where water taxi will deliver students after the course)
  • Other expenses, such as any personal gear (e.g. hiking shoes) required for the course

Financial Support

We strongly encourage students to apply for the Social Sciences Field Course Support Fund if they have financial need. These funds are distributed according to demonstrated financial need and the fit of the field course(s) to your career development. These funds can help pay for the field course fees (but not tuition). Email  for more details.

Students identifying as Indigenous, especially from the Indigenous Nations of the area, are encouraged to apply for the Edward Martin Memorial Field School Award. Email   for more details.

*PLEASE NOTE*: Students applying for field school funding support must do so within ONE WEEK of being accepted.