UVic Torch -- Spring 2009
Autumn 2009,
Volume 30, Number 2

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 Masterful Marsalis
Qwul’sih’yah’maht (Robina Thomas, MSW ’00) of the Lyackson Nation and Trevor Good, BSW ’09, of the Snuneymuxw Nation (and the Indigenous student support coordinator) under the timber canopy of the new First Peoples House.
Photography by
Ted Kuzemski


FIRST PEOPLES HOUSE, IN THE HEART OF CAMPUS between the Quadrangle and University Centre, is now open.

Architect Alfred Waugh was inspired by the design from pre-contact Coast Salish longhouses. The 1,100-square-metre structure features an exterior clad in cedar planks and welcoming poles carved by the artists Doug LaFortune (Tsawout First Nation) and Charles W. Elliot (Tsartlip First Nation).

“It’s an honour to have a place on campus where Indigenous students, faculty and staff can come and feel completely respected for who and what they are,” says Social Work Prof. Robina Thomas, MSW ’00. “It is an environment where their academic journeys can be supported in a holistic way.”

Apart from offices and classrooms, the First Peoples House includes a ceremonial hall and a gallery for native art and artifacts.

Landscaping includes 65 large trees, hundreds of native plants and a 370-square-metre green roof. A storm water retention pond surrounds the building’s west side.

Design and construction was completed with the goal of qualifying for LEED gold sustainability standards. Funding support included donations from BMO Financial Group and TD Bank Financial Group.

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