Tla’amin Nation executive council has gifted Vancouver Island University (VIU) the new name tiwšɛmawtxw (teew-shem-awt-xw), which means House of Learning, for its campus located in Tla’amin territory.
The gift is in the spirit of decolonization and reconciliation, according to a joint media release from Tla’amin and VIU.
A renaming ceremony took place on September 20.
“The Tla’amin Nation acknowledges with gratitude Vancouver Island University’s readiness and willingness to participate and engage in meaningful reconciliation,” stated Tla’amin hegus John Hackett. “This renaming is a pivotal example of continued reconciliation within our territory and across Turtle Island more broadly. We are hopeful that this renaming will inspire more reconciliation work throughout the territory.”
VIU has committed to building stronger partnerships with Indigenous communities and pledged to do more to honour Indigenous students, employees and communities, deepen understanding of Indigenous knowledge; and work with Indigenous Peoples to co-create programming that better serves the priorities of their communities, the release stated.
“We thank the Tla’amin Nation for this meaningful gift of a name that reflects our place in the community that allows Vancouver Island University to be an inclusive and welcoming place for everyone,” stated Dr. Deborah Saucier, VIU president and vice-chancellor. “Accepting the gifted name in ceremony of our campus in the qathet region reflects our ongoing commitment to truth and reconciliation by promoting the use of traditional names where we teach, learn, research, live and share knowledge. We greatly value our relationship with the Tla’amin Nation and we are grateful for this gift.”