Professional Development

Na’tsa’ maht Shqwaluwun, One Heart, One Mind 2019-2020

About this Series:  The Office of Aboriginal Education and Engagement heads into the 11th year of offering Na’tsa’ maht Shqwaluwun: Understanding Indigenous Perspectives Learning Series.  We are offering the following sessions to interested faculty, staff, students and community members.

Register on Eventbrite!


Coast Salish Protocol Sessions

Vancouver Island University resides on the traditional territory of the Coast Salish people and has developed long-standing relationship with many local First Nation communities and Aboriginal organizations. This introductory session, facilitated by Snuneymuxw and VIU Elders Geraldine Manson and Gary Manson, provides the basis for understanding the importance of recognizing these relationships and acknowledging respect for the traditional territories we inhabit.

Facilitator: Elder Geraldine Manson

Date:  Friday, September 27, 2019

Time: 11:30 am to 1:00 pm

Place:   VIU Nanaimo Campus, Bldg. 170 - Shq’apthut- A Gathering Place

Audience:  Everyone Welcome


 Indigenous Book Circles

The Indigenous Book Circles offer an opportunity to those interested in discussing the prominent and contemporary themes present in Indigenous literature of all genres. These circles are open to anyone interested in discussing any, or all, of the featured books. The Office of Aboriginal Education and Engagement at Vancouver Island University has generously offered to purchase books for up to 20 participants for each circle. There is no cost to register. Please show your Eventbrite ticket to pick up your book.

 Marrow Thieves by Cherie Dimaline
Facilitator: Professor, Dawn Thompson
Location: Strong Nations, 102 – 5160 Dublin Way
Time: 3:30pm – 5pm
Date: November 6th, 2019
Book Pickup Location: Strong Nations – must show Eventbrite registration confirmation for book pickup

From Where I Stand 
by Jody Wilson-Raybould
Facilitators: Bryn Tuba and Heather Burke
Location: Tillicum Child Care Centre (479 10th St - upper floor)
Time: 12pm – 1pm
Date: November 27 (tentative)
Registration closed. Bring your own lunch – light snacks provided

Colonized Classrooms
 by Sheila Cote-Meek
 Professor Martin Martens
Location: VIU Campus Library (Building 305, Room 509)
Time: 11:45am – 12:45pm (bring your own lunch)
Date: January 22, 2020
Book Pickup Location: Office of Aboriginal Education and Engagement (Building 180 – 4th Floor) – must show Eventbrite registration confirmation for book pickup

esearch is Ceremony by Shawn Wilson

Facilitators: Sheena Robinson & Heather Burke
Location: Nanaimo Aboriginal Centre
Time: 6:30 - 8pm
Date: February 3rd, 2020
Register: TBD

Book Pickup Location: Office of Aboriginal Education and Engagement (Building 180 – 4th Floor) – must show Eventbrite registration confirmation for book pickup.

More circles will be added! Check back soon for details.

The KAIROS Blanket Exercise: A Workshop in Reconciliation

The KAIROS Blanket Exercise is a facilitated two-hour interactive exercise. The exercise uses blankets to represent the lands of what is now called Canada, and the distinct cultures and nations, which live on those lands to this day. Participants represent the First Peoples; when they move onto the blankets, they are taken back in time to the arrival of the Europeans. The exercise is facilitated by a Narrator who walks the participants through the history of treaty-making, colonization and resistance that resulted in the nation we today call Canada.  A debrief circle is part of this activity.

Vancouver Island University would like to acknowledge KAIROS Canada for developing this exercise and providing VIU permission to facilitate these sessions. KAIROS Canada is a joint venture ecumenical program administered by the United Church of Canada.

Date and time:  Friday, November 22, 2019   9:00 am - 11:00 am
Place: VIU Nanaimo campus, Building 355, Room 211
Audience:  VIU Community - bring your own blanket
Registration required:   Register on Eventbrite!
Registration is limited to 30 VIU participants. If you register and cannot attend, please contact Office of Aboriginal Education and Engagement.

Date and time: Friday, March 13, 2020  9:00 am - 11:00 am
Place: VIU Nanaimo campus, Building 305, Room 507
Audience: VIU Community
Registration: Register on Eventbrite! (registration will open February 2020)

Soup & Bannock: Lunch & Learn Series

This speaker’s series is held by Office of Aboriginal Education and Engagement at Vancouver Island University and sponsored by various VIU departments. These talks are Tuesday over the lunch hour once a month in Shq’apthut – A Gathering Place and provide the opportunity for students, staff, faculty and community to expand their experience and awareness in current Indigenous topics and various aspects of Aboriginal Ways of Being and Knowing.  

Dates:  2nd Tuesday of each month - September 2019 to April 2020

Time:   11:30 am to 1 pm  Soup served at 11:30 am, presentation at 12 pm

Place:   VIU Nanaimo Campus, Bldg. 170 - Shq’apthut- A Gathering Place

Audience:  Everyone Welcome

Optional Registration:   Register on Eventbrite!


Fall 2019

Tuesday, September 24, 2019 - Georgina Martin, Faculty of Arts & Humanities, Vancouver Island University

"Indigenous Research: Theories, Practices and Relationships and Decolonizing Research Indigenous Storywork as Methodology"

Indigenous scholars offer alternatives for Indigenous researchers and students alike to uphold and articulate Indigenous Knowledge within the academy.  Dr. Georgina Martin shares her experiences to locate and offer a Secwepemc worldview through her embodied and lived-experiences.  In her chapters, “Indigenous storywork principles offer critical, ethical, and methodological guidelines that become seamlessly linked to Indigenous traditional and lived stories” by using the hand drum as the theoretical and methodological framework.

Sponsor: Arts & Humanities

Optional Registration:   Register on Eventbrite!

Tuesday, October 8, 2019 - Cynthia-Lou Coleman, 2019 Fulbright-Canada Jarislowsky Visiting Research Chair

"What Can I Do and How Can I Make a Difference?"

Visiting researcher Cynthia-Lou Coleman will talk about how she answers questions raised by Jody Wilson-Raybould: What Can I Do and How Can I Make a Difference? Coleman shares how her work is mass communication led to a critical look at how Indigenous perspectives are disparaged when environmental and cultural issues emerge in public view.

Cynthia-Lou Coleman is a professor of communication at Portland State University in Oregon, USA, and is the current Fulbright-Canada Jarislowsky Visiting Research Chair in Aboriginal Studies at Vancouver Island University. Her work focusses on how environmental and cultural clashes are communicated that impact Native American communities, such as a Dakota Access Pipeline, and the unearthing of an ancient skeleton on Indigenous land in the Pacific Northwest. Palgrave-Macmillan will publish Coleman’s book on mass media and environmental communication in 2020.

Sponsor: Office of Provost and Vice-President Academic

Optional Registration: Register on Eventbrite!

Tuesday, November 12, 2019 -  Kelly Terbasket, Program Director Indigeneyez

"Strengthening Relationships for Indigenous Resurgence"

Join IndigenEYEZ Program Director Kelly Terbasket for a presentation about her work in strengthening relationships for Indigenous resilience and resurgence.

This event is inspired by Nanaimo Art Gallery's year long inquiry, "What are generations?"

 If Indigenous resurgence is an iceberg, policy change and activism are the visible tip while relationship and connection are the massive piece beneath the surface. The colonial legacy of fragmented relationships and internalized oppression is at the root of the lateral violence in our communities and families that undermines our best efforts at resurgence.

IndigenEYEZ leads camps and leadership training workshops for Indigenous communities to strengthen and repair our relationships with ourselves, with others, with our communities and with the land. Using holistic arts-based and land-based methodologies, we experientially coach participants in Indigenous values, worldviews, and ways of thinking about relationships and community. Our work is informed by traditional Syilx principles of relationship and community, which align with attachment theory in developmental psychology. Our programs strengthen relationships through hands-on experiences of rebuilding secure attachment.

Kelly Terbasket is the Program Director of IndigenEYEZ. Kelly has a Bachelor of Social Work from the University of Victoria and an extensive background working in Indigenous community development for over 30 years in regional and provincial positions, including at Health Canada and with her own band and Nation. She is a Certified Executive Coach (Royal Roads University) and trained in Creative Facilitation through Partners for Youth Empowerment (PYE Global).

As a mixed-heritage woman Kelly has been bridging distinct worlds all her life - reconciling and weaving together the strengths of her Indigenous and European ancestry. She is a top connector and relationship builder at a time in history when deeper connections to self, each other, and the land are critically needed.

 Sponsor: Nanaimo Art Gallery and VIU Gallery

Optional Registration: Register on Eventbrite!

Tuesday, December 10, 2019 - Philip Oxhorn, Dean, International Education

Title to be announced

Sponsor: Faculty of International Education

Spring 2020

Tuesday, January 14, 2020 - Student presenters, Vancouver Island University

Title to be announced

Sponsor: Office of Aboriginal Education and Engagement

Tuesday, February 11, 2020 - Dr Deb Saucier, President & Vice-Chancellor, Vancouver Island University

Title to be announced

Sponsor: Office of the President

Tuesday, March 10, 2020 - Faculty of Social Sciences, Vancouver Island University

Title to be announced

Sponsor: Faculty of Social Sciences

Tuesday, April 14, 2020 - Faculty of Health and Human Services, Vancouver Island University

Title to be announced

Sponsor: Faculty of Health and Human Services


Indigenous Learning Circles

The Indigenous Learning Circles hold space for reflection where participants can come together and listen and learn from one another. In the past, the Office of Aboriginal Education and Engagement and the Centre for Innovation and Excellence in Learning, have co-hosted these circles. This year we invite colleagues from the different program areas who might be interested in hosting a learning circle to let us know and we would be happy to assist, inviting Elders and Students from the 'Su'luqw'a' Community Cousins program if requested, booking space, etc.Date and Times: Will vary, please watch for invites coming to your area Audience: Open to VIU Campus Community members Questions: and

meyugum-thut   also known as the Ripple Project

The Ripple Project showcases initiatives and collaborations related to Indigenous education at Vancouver Island University.  Bringing Indigenous ways of knowing and being into our institutional fabric is necessary and aligns with our greater values.  We are moving forward, with care and respect, in a good way.
  • students’ work
  • community-based programs
  • teaching and learning practices
  • Elders’ teaching
  • reflections from those engaging in the process
meyuqum-thut.   Like ripples in a pond, the effects of our thoughts spread out far beyond our immediate reach.


Students as Partners

The Office of Aboriginal Education and Engagement, along with the Centre for Innovation and Excellence and Learning and International Education are engaging students as partners in a teaching, learning and leadership capacity.  In particular, we are interested in furthering awareness and understanding of, as well as generating ideas about, VIU’s graduate attribute: Indigenous Perspective. 

Students will be invited to come together starting this fall and build community throughout the year.  There is no prescribed ending point here.  How the partnership unfolds and takes up this work is yet to be determined, and will be co-designed with all participants of the partnership.  We do anticipate there will be an opportunity in the spring of 2019 to share some of the conversations that have unfolded with the rest of the VIU community.