Elder Skip Dick siting in a lawn chair, smiling for the camera at the annual cookout.

The Elders' Initiative ensures that Indigenous students and the college community can benefit from the knowledge and guidance of these important community members.

May Sam, Cathey and Doug Lafortune, Victor Underwood

Elders, May Sam (left), Cathey and Doug Lafortune (center), Victor Underwood (right)

Who can request a meeting with an Elder?

Camosun Students

Students may wish to request a meeting with an Elder for many reasons if they are seeking another perspective as they serve as teachers, advisors, counsellors and healers. Our world is constantly changing and they can give a grounding and understanding of current and past events. Elders are knowledge keepers of tradition and culture and can provide emotional support in a non-judgmental environment. They're also sought out to resolve conflict while conveying cultural teachings.

Camosun Employees

Employees may request an elder to speak to a classroom or to attend an event to share wisdom through spirituality and tradition that shapes their lives as well as the guidance they provide to others. 

What to know before making a request

There are certain teachings that need to be understood before making a request for an Elder. In order to maintain the strong relationship that has developed between the Elders and Camosun the following should be adhered to:

  1. All requests for Elders must go through the Elders Coordinator. This helps to ensure that all requests are made in an appropriate way that is consistent with Elder(s) culture and/or ways of being.
  2. Elders receive an honorarium for their time. The honorarium is $50 per hour, up to $200 per day. There are certain circumstances in which the honorarium might be higher. For example, some ceremonies will require more preparation time and/or travel time. If your department or event doesn’t have a budget for this please discuss this with the Elders Coordinator.
  3. When you invite an Elder to your class, event, and/or meeting it is very important that you arrange to meet the Elder with a parking pass. There are two dedicated Elder parking spaces and one at Interurban campus. It is important that our Elders get to and from the class, event, and/or meeting without stress or worry.
  4. While the Elder receives an honorarium for their time it is common practice to give a small gift of appreciation for the knowledge that the Elder(s) is sharing. The gift could be a signed card of appreciation, a department-specific gift, a small blanket, something traditional from your own culture, or something that you have made. The gift is about reciprocity and thanks. If you require help please contact the Elders Coordinator.
  5. Please be sure to have water and/or food available for the Elder depending on the length of time they will be with you.
  6. If you are inviting an Elder(s) to an event with a meal be sure to serve the Elders first. Some Elders may want to serve themselves so it is best to ask.
  7. While you may know and understand the teachings used in one territory, please be aware that Camosun operates in Coast and Straits Salish territory and as such we work to follow the teachings of this place and its peoples. If you are unsure of anything please contact the Elders Coordinator.
  8. If you are meeting with an Elder be sure to leave plenty of time because it is up to the Elder when the meeting is finished. That being said, the Elders do understand the way the modern world works and take that into account.

Request an Elder