Journey of the Paddle

The Paddle's first dip

VIU feast recognizes good relationships
First nations theme highlights luncheon

by Paul Galinski |

Published Powell River Peak

Vancouver Island University (VIU) celebrated partnerships and relationships at a first nations feast at the tiwšɛmawtxʷ campus recently.

"We are bringing together a bunch of different traditions," said Sharon Hobenshield, VIU's director of aboriginal education. "The theme is celebrating partnerships and community development. At the core of that is relationship building. My grandfather always used to say, to do good is to be good. Simple words, but if we go into things with good hearts, good things will come."

Hobenshield said a good friend of hers recently said that relationship building is not romantic. "It's not just staring into each other's eyes and singing Kum Ba Ya," she said. "It's tough, especially between different groups. As first nations people and non-first nations people, sometimes building relationships is tough work. We have to have tough discussions but we persevere and learn from our elders who always come from a good place."

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Chief Shawn Atleo visits tiwšɛmawtxʷ Campus

Chief Shawn Atleo (A-in-chut), Vancouver Island University’s first Chancellor,  wanted a gift that signified a journey because he comes from a canoeing  and whaling culture.  Paddles signified moving together, pulling together, working together in a canoe.  When in big water, people are completely relying on others in a canoe.  The paddle represents the journey in both a physical and spiritual sense:  when the paddle is being stroked in the water, we can only see half of it.  The spiritual side we cannot see.  Being part of a team in the water is something that touches a person forever, just like the experience of attending school.

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