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Greater Victoria post-secondary schools mark 50 years with Indigenous paddle ceremony

UVic, Camosun celebrate relationship and shared goals for Indigenous education
UVic president Kevin Hall prepares to gift Camosun College a paddle as Candice Work (from left), assistant to UVic associate VP Indigenous; Robina Thomas, UVic associate vice-president, Indigenous; Dorothea Harris, UVic Indigenous Initiatives coordinator; and event master of ceremonies Edward George look on, during a March 2 ceremony. (Courtesy of Camosun College)

Camosun College and the University of Victoria marked two Camosun milestones with a paddle ceremony March 2 – the school’s 50th anniversary and the 30th anniversary of Eye Sqa’lewen – the Centre for Indigenous Education and Community Connections.

“Camosun and the University of Victoria share many common goals. Over the last five decades, deep relationships and strong links have been forged so that change-makers, leaders and community builders can emerge,” Camosun president Lane Trotter said in a news release.

READ ALSO: Award-winning Camosun student recognized for leading Indigenous peers

Qwul’sih’yah’maht Robina Thomas, UVic associate vice president, Indigenous spoke of honour and commitment to the ongoing work together to support the success of Indigenous students.

“This paddle signifies the journey of learning and the importance of paddling together toward our common goals,” Thomas said.

UVic gave Camosun a paddle made by Coast Salish artist Margaret August from Shishalh Nation, who is an alumna of both schools. It is a sister paddle to one August created for the Building Reconciliation Forum at UVic in 2018 and depicts a Salish owl design with the title The Face of Change. Owls bring light, and magic, and that is what the paddle represents.

READ ALSO: Camosun College celebrates 50th with Indigenous art unveiling in Saanich

“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 Eye Sqa’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 event included a ceremonial speaker and witnesses from the Songhees Nation, the Eye Sqa’lewen leadership group and others during a ceremony at Na’tsa’maht on Camosun College’s Lansdowne Campus.

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Camosun College and the University of Victoria celebrate 50 years of friendship with a paddle gifting ceremony March 2. (Courtesy of Camosun College)

About the Author: Oak Bay News Staff

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