One of our core values at St. Michaels University School is respect.
With this in mind, we acknowledge that our school rests in the heart of Straits Salish territory, a living culture with its own rites, ceremonies, and unfolding history.
We honour the Esquimalt, Songhees, and W̱SÁNEĆ peoples – whose homelands we share and whom we recognize as our neighbours.
Begun in 2017 and explicitly backed with a commitment in our Floreat strategic plan to "Honour Our Indigenous Connections", the SMUS community has undertaken an intentional journey to build authentic and respectful relationships with local Indigenous Peoples. This has entailed deepening our understanding of the history behind our relationship and what it means to be on a path of reconciliation today.
Key to this journey since the outset has been a focus on relationships. We have sought guidance from First Nations elders who are respected within their communities and traditionally trained in the ways of their people. Much of the last few years has been spent laying this groundwork, particularly with the Coast Salish and Kwakwaka‘wakw communities on Vancouver Island. The eminent Coast Salish Elder Bill White, from the Snuneymuxw First Nation, joined us early on to be our First Nations Guide. Bill’s thoughtful and knowledgeable guidance has allowed us to move this journey forward.
After drawing on conversations with members of our local traditional community, along with advice from diversity leaders and other independent schools, 10 interrelated strands were identified as central to our approach:
- Access to a First Nations Guide
- Access to a broader Council of Elders
- Access to an Indigenous Personal Counsellor
- Appointment of an Indigenous Scholar
- Appointment of Indigenous Faculty and Practicum Students
- Appointment of an Indigenous Liaison
- Appointment of an Indigenous Liaison Administrator
- Installation of Culturally Significant Pieces
- Establishment of basic Indigenous Cultural Literacy Among All Staff
- Establishment of Indigenous Knowledge and Perspective Throughout the Curriculum
We are making considerable progress along our path to becoming a more welcoming community, much of which can be read in the recent articles below. Of special note include the:
- Establishment of an Indigenous cultural literacy course that is undertaken by every member of our staff and faculty.
- Appointment of an Indigenous Scholar, who for 2021-22 is the Lyackson artist Dylan Thomas.
- The reinterpretation of our core values through four Spindle Whorls which are displayed at the entrances of our Junior School, Middle School and Senior School and in our Chapel.
- Recognition of [the] National Day for Truth and Reconciliation as a significant opportunity for ceremony, education, and reflection as a community.
NEWS - March 11, 2022
NEWS - January 21, 2022
NEWS - October 8, 2021