In the spirit of Truth and Reconciliation, an historic agreement was signed between the shíshálh Nation and Capilano University, September 21, 2017.

“Signing this agreement is a step towards healing and reconciliation,” declared Ashley Joe, education and employment manager for the shíshálh (Sechelt) Nation.

The Affiliation Agreement Regarding Post-Secondary Educational Opportunities formalizes and expands upon the existing collaboration between the Nation and the University.

“The legacy of residential schools cast a dark shadow for our people. You had to choose between giving up your status and identity and getting a post-secondary education,” said Joe, her voice brimming with emotion. “This is why signing this affiliation agreement is so historic.”

Joe spoke in front of dozens of guests at the event at kálax-ay, the Sunshine Coast campus. Guests included employees of Capilano University in North Vancouver, students at kálax-ay and representatives of the shíshálh Nation, all of whom received a commemorative pendant in the shape of a Coast Salish paddle, to represent paddling together. shíshálh drummers welcomed everyone with songs, before Joe, shíshálh Elders and Toran Savjord, Capilano University’s vice-president of strategic planning, assessment and institutional effectiveness, addressed the gathering.

“Capilano University works collaboratively with First Nations Peoples and we have much to learn from you,” Savjord said. “We want to continue to support the promotion and study of Aboriginal history, culture, language, protocols and values.”

Capilano University offers a Sechelt Nation Language and Culture certificate, and the affiliation agreement states the University will continue to support the promotion and study of Aboriginal history, culture, language protocols and values. Together, the two organizations are committed to developing programs and services delivered in a culturally sensitive and inclusive way.

“It has always been in the hearts of the shíshálh to work in partnership,” said shíshálh Chief Warren Paull. “Without each other we are truly lost.”

Submitted by Cheryl Rossi, Communications & Marketing

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