Bukwila Totem Pole - Lansdowne campus

Using the Four Corner-posts for guidance, Camosun College succeeded in implementing the following actions:

Gathering in Na'tsa'maht

A gathering in Na'tsa'maht. Na'tsa'maht is a Salish phrase meaning "unity or working together as one".

Policy and Planning

​​​​​​Brought more Indigenous presence to our Senior Leadership Council (SLC)
We welcomed Janice Simcoe, our Director of Indigenous Education, as an SLC member. Janice’s presence has been tremendously impactful. Her relationships with local First Nations, her experience, and her insightful comments, have added tremendous capacity to SLC to support Indigenization.

Ensured the Strategic Plan is informed by Indigenization and Reconciliation
Indigenization is one of the core values in our Strategic Plan. Indigenization is the process by which Indigenous ways of knowing, being, doing and relating are incorporated into educational, organizational, cultural and social structures of the institution. Its goals are to make Camosun as welcoming and relevant to Indigenous learners as we can be, and to prepare non-Indigenous students, graduates and employees to better understand, live alongside of, and work with Indigenous peoples.

​​​​​Designated September 30 as an annual, college-wide, college-supported Orange Shirt Day.
September 30 represents the time of year children were taken from their homes, and it sets the stage for anti-racism and anti-bullying policies for the coming school year. It is the opportunity for communities to come together in the spirit of reconciliation and hope for generations of children to come.

Piloted an Indigenous job event for potential employees
This pilot event facilitated our meeting a number of community members interested in working with Camosun. The event and our follow-up discussions have provided some great ideas regarding promising practices for recruitment going forward.

Provided Elders’ parking
The Ancillary Services and Facilities departments provided annual parking permits for Indigenous Elders who regularly visit our campuses. Four parking stalls have been reserved, two at Lansdowne and two at Interurban. Providing dedicated parking spaces is one small way for us to show gratitude for the Elders who share their knowledge with students, staff and faculty.

Enhanced educational planning to support the major goals of Indigenization and Reconciliation
The College has supported the Indigenization of the educational planning and approvals process in several ways:

  1. Included questions on curriculum changes forms asking developers how their curriculum/teaching learning experience has been indigenized.  
  2. Initiated a non-voting seat at our Education Council (EDCO), for the College’s Indigenization Coordinator.
  3. Created a faculty position, CETL Indigenization Education Developer, to support faculty as they work to Indigenize their way of teaching and/or the content of their courses.
  4. Supported the development of the BC Campus Indigenization Project, by leading the development of: Pulling Together – A guide for Indigenization of Post-Secondary institutions, to support faculty members and others to indigenize their institutions https://opentextbc.ca/indigenizationleadersadministrators/.

Facilitated the purchase and storage of blankets for use within Na’tsa’maht, and installed steps from Na’tsa’maht down to the Pit Cook area.
With support from the Facilities department, to help keep people warmer during Na’tsa’maht events on cold days, the College provided 250 blankets, mobile carts for the blankets, and storage space within Na’tsa’maht for the carts. The College also installed stairs from Na’tsa’maht down to the Pit Cook area to ensure Elders and others do not slip on their way down to the Pit Cook area.

Organized and implemented an information campaign to educate the Camosun community about the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples
We were privileged to have Gregory Younging speak at both campuses about UNDRIP. Unfortunately Gregory passed away in Spring 2019. He was a Canadian editor and expert on First Nations copyright. He was a member of the Opsakwayak Cree Nation in Northern Ontario. His mother is a residential school survivor and her experience of abuse influenced his decision to spend his career raising issues related to the impacts of colonization, and advocate for Indigenous knowledge.

UNDRIP, is also referenced in Camosun’s Indigenization policy and our Equity, Diversity and Inclusion policy. It will also inform future planning of Indigenous education at the college.

a group of kids from the child care center on campus take part in Orange shirt day

Children from Camosun Child Care participating in Orange Shirt Day

Employee Education

Facilitated an ‘issues session’ for Board
After reviewing background reading, our Board of Governors received a presentation from Janice Simcoe, Director, Eyēʔ Sqȃ’lewen: The Centre for Indigenous Education & Community Connections, and Corrine Michel, Indigenization Coordinator, to ensure their awareness of the legacy of Residential Schools, the TRC Calls To Action, what we as a College were already doing, and what we can do next. Our Board has been incredibly supportive of our efforts.

Provided a one-day TRC awareness day in February 2017 for all employees
February 17, 2017 was an amazing day, a Day of Reconciliation. It was a wonderful opportunity to hear from Chief Dr. Robert Joseph, and his daughter Shelley Joseph, from Reconciliation Canada. It was inspiring to see everyone from across our college so absorbed and engaged in what is a tremendously challenging and imperative topic for us as a public institution and as a country. The comments received about the activities and dialogue each department engaged in on the afternoon of Conversations Day were insightful and inspiring. 

Expanded offerings of TELŦIN TŦE WILNEW (TTW) for employees
TELŦIN TŦE WILNEW  (TTW) is an award winning, blended delivery course which provides insight into an Indigenous world view; describes the impact of colonization and how it affects students attending the college today; and guides participants in the development of new teaching and learning methods. We have significantly ramped up our offerings of TTW. As of the end of April 2020, 476 Camosun employees have competed the TELŦIN TŦE WILNEW course. 

Incorporated intercultural awareness and understanding as key college-wide competencies, informed by principles of Indigenization, in the college’s Capability Framework.
The purpose of the college’s Capability Framework is to: Create an inclusive, capability-based framework for consistency in decision-making and resource allocation; identify core and leadership capabilities unique to Camosun; focus on knowing, being, doing, and relating in ways that foster an environment that supports students on their path to success as life-long learners; develop language that reflects the common culture of the Camosun community; and provide the foundation for identifying and developing new strategic initiatives. 

Introduced integral elements of Indigenization into the onboarding process, the welcome orientation, and the employee handbook
Each new employee welcome event includes a Territorial welcome from Elders, occurs in circle format, explicitly highlights Camosun’s commitment to Indigenization, and is designed to promote relationships through listening, dialogue and interaction.

Piloted the development of cultural camps for students and employees, including college leadership
The pilot for the cultural camp led to the development of a new course: IST 250 QĆÁSET - Indigenous Cultural Camp. Students learn about traditional Indigenous values, philosophies, spirituality, teachings, and ceremonies related to relationships with land. The course is primarily delivered as a land-based experiential camp, off-site, under the direction of Indigenous knowledge keepers, Elders, and faculty.

a group of indigenous people and settlers roast campus bulbs and salmon over an open fire on the campus green

College community participating in the annual Camas Pit Cook

Curriculum Development and Delivery

Explored programming to meet relational and cultural leadership needs in Indigenous communities and organizations
The Education Leadership Team has approved the proposed Advanced Certificate in Ways of Indigenous Leadership & Learning to go forward. The Ministry of Advanced Education and Skills Training has expressed support. Conversations have been held local Indigenous leaders, and others, to get their input on what’s being proposed, and what the demand for graduates of such a program would be within their organizations. We reached out to a number of Indigenous services organizations including Tribal Colleges in the United States and Canada, to get their thoughts on possible student interest in this programming. Respondents voiced strong support. The program has a proposed start date of September 2022.

Supported faculty to indigenize teaching and learning experiences in programs and courses
This can include the application of indigenous teaching and learning processes and strategies and/or course and program planning that includes learning outcomes and practices that reflect inclusion of contextualized indigenous content or traditional knowledge appropriate to the discipline. Indigenization of programs and courses may take the form of formal learning experiences (e.g. IST 120, HLTH 111), teaching through circle, intentional application of indigenous models such as the Circle of Courage approach to teaching/learning practices, or indigenization as a curricular theme. Facilitate the use of courses like IST 120 and HLTH 111 as electives for students.

Developed and provided learning opportunities for newcomers to Canada and International students to learn more about Indigenous peoples, history, and current issues. 
Camosun International (CI) continues to invite local Elders to welcome events to welcome students to the territory, acknowledge territory at gatherings and on print material, promote annual campus events such as the Pit Cook, Orange Shirt Day, and National Indigenous Peoples Day, support the field school / exchange with the Ara students from New Zealand, as well as many other actions.

Faculty in the English Language Development department have sought to indigenize their course content and teaching practices in a variety of ways. Some examples include taking TTW, participating in the Indigenous Education Community of Practice, creating ESL exercises using Indigenous content, created readings and associated language tasks about the W’SANEC Reef Net Fishing, invite Elders and other Indigenous people to share their unique ways of knowing, especially story-telling as a way of transmitting knowledge.

Acquired a Camosun Canoe to provide students, employees and community members’ access to a canoe for cultural camps and outdoor expeditions/field trips etc. 
The canoe will also be used by Camosun employees who participate in the annual RRU canoe race on National Indigenous Peoples’ day, and may be used during a Tribal Journeys event in the future.

Developed and implemented contract training opportunities for public servants and local business owners to become more knowledgeable about issues of reconciliation and developing better working relationships with Indigenous peoples
We have run “Building Relationship with Indigenous Peoples” successfully in community and are seeking to expand the number of sections offered. The course was delivered a number of times in Fall 2018 and Winter 2019. COVID-19 has stalled delivery.

Explored domestic and international field schools, for example with Maori students and institutions, to support students learning more about international approaches to Indigenization
In Fall 2016, Camosun International helped financially support our first partnership with the Ara Institute of Canterbury, in Christchurch, New Zealand, with a specific focus around collaborations between their Maori Studies Office and Camosun’s Eye? Sqa’lewen. 

Camosun students have participated in two study abroad trips with the Ara Institute of Canterbury in Christchurch, New Zealand, and Ara students have participated in two study abroad trips at Camosun. 

A field of wild camas flowers

Learn more

View all of Camosun's 39 steps to address the TRC Calls to Action.