Tla’amin Nation gifts ʔayʔaǰuθəm name to local VIU campus

Group photo around the new sign at VIU’s campus in the qathet region

A sign with the new name for VIU’s campus in the qathet region was unveiled at the campus on Tuesday. Left of the sign: Dillon Johnson toqwanon, Executive Council member, Losa Luaifoa, Executive Council member, and Leonard Bob, Elder with Tla'amin Nation. On the right: Dr. Deborah Saucier, VIU President and Vice-Chancellor, Eugene Louie, VIU Elder-in-Residence, and Liam Haggarty, academic administrator of the tiwšɛmawtxw campus.

September 20, 2022 - 11:30am

VIU’s campus in the qathet region will now be called tiwšɛmawtxw.

The Tla’amin Nation Executive Council has gifted Vancouver Island University (VIU) the name tiwšɛmawtxw (teew-shem- awt-xw), which means House of Learning, for its campus located in ɬaʔamɩn ʔəms gijɛ (Tla’amin Territory).  

The gift is in the spirit of decolonization and reconciliation. Following a renaming ceremony on September 20, 2022, VIU’s campus in the qathet region will now be called tiwšɛmawtxw and not by its colonial name.

“The Tla’amin Nation acknowledges with gratitude Vancouver Island University’s readiness and willingness to participate and engage in meaningful reconciliation,” said Tla’amin Nation’s Hegus John Hackett. “This re-naming is a pivotal example of continued reconciliation within our territory and across Turtle Island more broadly. We are hopeful that this re-naming will inspire more reconciliation work throughout the territory.”

Vancouver Island University has committed to building stronger partnerships with Indigenous communities. VIU has pledged to do more to honour Indigenous students, employees, and communities; deepen understanding of Indigenous knowledges; and work with Indigenous Peoples to co-create programming that better serves the priorities of their communities.

“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 be an inclusive and welcoming place for everyone,” said 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.”

A sign with the new name for VIU’s campus in the qathet region was unveiled at the campus on Tuesday.


Learn More:

About Tla’amin Nation

The Tla’amin Nation is a modern, forward-thinking First Nation Government at an exciting point in its history. In April 2016, the community became self-governing through the modern treaty process. The community resides in the qathet Regional District. The Tla’amin Nation has a rich heritage that stretches back since time immemorial and is guided by its ta’ow (teachings) enshrined in its constitution and governance structure.



About Vancouver Island University

Vancouver Island University (VIU), located on the west coast of Canada, is one of Canada’s most inclusive universities. We place students at the centre of our work, recognizing that education is a key determinant of social progress and economic prosperity. Our unique student experience includes small class sizes; dedicated, award-winning faculty; and exceptional undergraduate research opportunities that are often realized in collaboration with our many community partners.  




Dillon Johnson, Tla’amin Nation Executive Council,

Jenn McGarrigle, Vancouver Island University,

Tags: Indigenous | Reconciliation | Announcements

Sign up for our VIU news and experts email