Na’tsa’ maht Shqwaluwun, One Heart, One Mind

Understanding Indigenous Perspectives Learning Series | 2017-2018

About this Series:  This year the Office of Aboriginal Education and Engagement is continuing with its Na’tsa’ maht Shqwaluwun: Understanding Indigenous Perspectives Learning Series.  We are offering the following sessions to interested faculty, staff, students and community members.

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Coast Salish Protocol Session

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 Elder 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.

Dates:  Friday January 12, 2018

Time: 11:30 am to 2:00 pm

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

Audience:  Everyone Welcome

Registration Link


 Conversations Toward Reconciliation

The release of the Truth and Reconciliation Committee report (2015) and its 94 recommendations across all sectors have generated increased interest in the area of Indigenous and non-Indigenous relations in Canada. This series will identify an Indigenous framework incorporating values and principles that surround an Indigenous philosophy of balancing the mind, body and spirit.  From here, participants will be invited to consider the points of intersection for engagement within this framework.  A critical component of this dialogue will be exploring existing tensions and disrupting notions that good intentions alone do not equate to good things for all people. 

Dates and times: 4 Fridays 10:30 to 12:00 Noon –

                              February 9, 2018, February 23, March 2, March 9, 2018

Place:  VIU Nanaimo campus, Bldg. 250, Room 308 (Conference Room)  

            Link to Campus Map

Questions:  Sharon.Hobenshield@viu.camailto:

Audience:  Everyone Welcome

Registration Link


 Indigenous Learning Circles

The Indigenous Learning Circles are continuing this year with a slightly adjusted format.  We want to continue to hold the space for reflection where participants can come together and listen and learn from one another.  This year’s format will involve different members of last year's learning circles teaming up to co-host in their respective faculty or department.  This will open up the circles to a variety of colleagues, from a variety of areas, and our discussions, connections and experiences will continue to be deepened.  Elders and Students from the 'Su'luqw'a' Community Cousins program will continue to be an integral part of each circle. 

Date and Times:  Will vary, please watch for invites coming to your area

Audience:  Open to VIU Campus Community members and


 Indigenous Book Circle

The Indigenous Book Circle offers an opportunity to those interested in discussing the prominent and contemporary themes present in Indigenous fiction. These circles are open to anyone interested in discussing any, or all, of the books listed below.  

The Break by Katherena Vermette

Facilitated discussion by Heather Burke

Date and time: Monday, February 26, 2018- 6:30 to 8 pm

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

Audience:  Everyone Welcome

Registration Link


 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.

Dates and times:   4 sessions  •  Wednesday, Nov. 15, 2017   10 am – 12 Noon

                                                 •  Tuesday, Dec. 12, 2017    10 am – 12 Noon

                                                 •  Thursday, Feb. 8, 2018   1 – 3 pm

                                                 •  Friday, March 2, 2018   1 – 3 pm

Place:  VIU Nanaimo campus, Bldg. 305 (Library), Room 507 (Boardroom)

Audience:  Everyone Welcome

Registration Link

Soup & Bannock: Lunch & Learn Series

This speaker’s series is held by Services for Aboriginal Students 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 2017 to April 2018 - Exception:  Thursday, Feb. 15, 2018

Time:   11:30am to 1:00pm Soup served at 11:30 am, presentation at 12 pm

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

Audience:  Everyone Welcome

Register:   Registration Link 

Spring 2018
Tuesday, March 13, 2018 - Barney Williams Jr., our Nuu-Chah-Nulth Elder-in-Residence

"Mental Health from a traditional perspective"

Sponsor:  President's Office
Tuesday, April 10, 2018  - Louise Mandell Q.C.  Chancellor, Vabncouver Island University

"Sacred responsibility: sacred storytelling"

In this talk Louise Mandell will look back upon her journey, carrying the torch of the land question into Canadian Courts, where she entered.  Mandell will share deep learnings, and speak of where we find ourselves today. 

Sponsor: Faculty of Management

New This Year!

Reflections on Truth and Reconciliation: From Argentina to Canada

In 1976, Patricia Erb was a student leader and social activist in Buenos Aires. At 19, Patricia was imprisoned, held captive for four weeks and tortured at a secret army site called Campo de Mayo. That same year (1976) Conrad Prince was put up for his second adoption at the age of two. Conrad and his siblings were among more than 20,000 Indigenous children who as part of the Sixties Scoop were apprehended and placed with white families. Under Patricia’s leadership, Save the Children has established an Indigenous Advisory Circle, developed a Relationship Framework and has nurtured new and expanding partnerships with Indigenous children and communities.

During Reflections on Truth and Reconciliation: From Argentina to Canada, Patricia and Conrad will share their personal journeys. Patricia will share her thoughts on the power and challenge of Truth, Memory and Justice and reflect on the time this journey has taken for her and for the people of Argentina. Conrad will reflect on what are the first steps along Canada’s path of reconciliation and together they will discuss what lessons can be learned from other Truth and Reconciliation processes and what Canada must learn on its own to achieve ours.


Canadians are familiar with the work of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission in Canada, which examined Canada’s residential school system and its historic impact and current day implications for Indigenous children and communities. The Truth and Reconciliation process was originally developed in Latin America and has been adopted by countries around the world as a means of uncovering, acknowledging and helping people heal from state led or sponsored wrongdoings committed against a targeted population.

One of the first such commissions was established in the early 1980s in Argentina to respond to the human rights violations, disappearances and deaths caused by the military junta that had only recently lost power. While the process in Argentina has been underway for more than 30 years and addresses very different communities and issues, there are lessons to be learned for Canada as we begin our journey.

Date and time:   Monday November 6th, 2017 from 7 – 9 pm

Place:  VIU Nanaimo campus, Bldg. 356 (Education/Social Sciences), Room 109 (Lecture Theatre)

Audience:  Everyone Welcome

Registration Link


Two Moccassins, Two Worlds, Ryan McMahon

This keynote speaking engagement is Ryan's most popular workshop booking - through a 45 - 60 minute speaking engagement Ryan shares his story of failure & triumph and charts his path from a "kid that grew up in the bush" to "the fastest rising Native comedian working in North America today." (CBC Winnipeg Comedy Festival). Ryan's honest take on the ups and downs of drugs & alcohol, his (re)connection to culture & ceremony and the balance it takes to live in today's contemporary context is all covered in the funny, sometimes painful, but always hopeful.

Date and time:   Tuesday, March 27, 2018   7 – 8 pm    Doors open at 6:30 pm        

Place:  VIU Nanaimo campus, Bldg. 310 – Malaspina Theatre

Audience:  Everyone Welcome

Ticket purchase through Eventbrite


Indigenous Knowledge in our Disciplines

In these sessions we invite faculty who have been engaging with Indigenous perspectives in their classrooms to further their knowledge and understanding by exploring the tensions and affinities between Indigenous knowledge and their disciplines.

Through discussions, reflections and readings we will bring our collective minds to the process of academic reconciliation.  This five-part series will be facilitated by Sharon Hobenshield and Dawn Thompson, who will work with interested faculty to identify a time and place to gather, on a monthly basis, from November 2017 to April 2018.

Audience:  Open to VIU Faculty members

Questions:   Contact or

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