A 50-year journey of friendship between Camosun College and the University of Victoria (UVic) was celebrated this week during a paddle gifting ceremony that further ties the two institutions together.
The gift bestowed by UVic marks two important milestones for Camosun: the 50th anniversary of college, and 30th anniversary of Eyēʔ Sqȃ’lewen – the Centre for Indigenous Education and Community Connections.
“I honour our relationship with Camosun College and am committed to our ongoing work together to support the success of Indigenous students,” says Qwul’sih’yah’maht Robina Thomas, Associate Vice President, Indigenous, at UVic. “This paddle signifies the journey of learning and the importance of paddling together toward our common goals.”
The paddle was made by Coast Salish artist from Shı́shálh Nation, Margaret August, who is an alumni of Camosun and UVic. August created a paddle for the Building Reconciliation Forum at UVic in 2018. This gift is the sister paddle.
The paddle depicts a Salish owl design with the title ‘The Face of Change’. Owls often come for protection during major changes that can often be imminent. Owls bring light, and magic, and that is what the paddle represents.
“A long time ago, as a student I went from Camosun to UVic, and that was the start of an amazing journey that landed me back at Camosun to do the work I love,” says Janice Simcoe, Director of Eyēʔ Sqȃ’lewen. “I’ve seen so many students take that walk from here to there, and then into the work of their lives. I’m so happy to work in friendship and relationship with the University of Victoria.”
The ceremony on March 2 included a ceremonial speaker and witnesses from the Songhees Nation, the Eyēʔ Sqȃ’lewen leadership group and others during a ceremony at Na’tsa’maht on Camosun College’s Lansdowne Campus.
“This paddle gifting ceremony is an important event,” says UVic President Kevin Hall. “It celebrates the anniversaries of the college and Eyēʔ Sqȃ’lewen and reaffirms the shared priorities that form the special connection between our two institutions.”
“Camosun and the University of Victoria share many common goals,” says Camosun College President Lane Trotter. “Over the last five decades, deep relationships and strong links have been forged so that change-makers, leaders and community builders can emerge.”
Camosun College has campuses located on the traditional territories of the Lək̓ʷəŋən (Lekwungen) and W̱SÁNEĆ peoples. Established in 1971, the college serves thousands of learners a year in over 160 certificate, diploma, bachelor's degree, post-degree diploma, and professional studies and industry training programs.
As one of Canada’s leading research-intensive universities, we are driven by our curiosity, engagement and innovative spirit to help solve the world’s biggest problems. We embrace and support Indigenous-led scholarship and are committed to fostering respect and reconciliation.