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Friends Seminary

INDIGENOUS WAYS OF BEING- Vancouver Island 2024


Lenses of Inquiry



Despite the many social and economic struggles these Nations have faced due to colonial policies of past and present, manyFirst Nations people continue to practice their language, arts, and sustainable forms of resource management while also finding new ways of keeping their communities thriving in the modern day.Students will learn directly from teachers, students, and leaders within these Indigenous communities, come to understand the limitations of Western perspectives on ‘resources,’ and witness shining examples of hope for the future that originate with Indigenous ways of knowing and being.



By focusing on the logging industry in and around Victoria, BC, students come to understand the tensions and formidable challenges facing the Kwakwaka’wakw, Nuu-chah-nulth, and Coast Salish bands of First Nations. Can land be shared? Can someone’s land that was stolen be sold? Who owns the trees and the rights of what to do with those trees on stolen land?What is the process of reconciliation ongoing on Victoria and elsewhere in British Columbia? Is it enough, especially compared with our own practices in the United States?



In today’s globalized economy, we are detached from the people, plants, animals, and time-tested processes we rely on every day. Learning from the indigenous ways of knowing and being, we reflect on this privilege Where does your toilet paper comes from? What about the precious metals in your phone? Have you ever seen or touched the land and sea creature we rely on for dairy, eggs, wool, and protein? These are just a few of the questions we will answer as we come face to face with some of the primary sector industries that make our modern life possible. Balancing concern for the environment with the realism of humanity’s need for natural resources, our class will engage with professional foresters, urban farmers, and aquaculture experts to learn more about how the global economies impacted by local lives today, yesterday, and in the future.


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The below itinerary provides one projection of the daily schedule. Changes may be made to improve the program quality, based on the logistical and educational needs of enrolled students.

DAY 1:

Friday, March 15th 2024

We meet at the airport and catch our flight to Vancouver. We arrive and check in into our accommodations, have dinner and get a great night sleep. Many adventures are ahead of us tomorrow, we'll need all our energy!

DAY 2:

Saturday, March 16th 2024

We convene at Horseshoe Bay for a ferry ride into Victoria that afternoon after arrival. We breath deeply the fresh air and take in all the lush green and expansive blue, exploring the downtown area and having dinner that evening.


DAY 3:

Sunday, March 17th 2024

After breakfast, we convene to create some essential questions for the program together. We outline our assumptions and expectations around First Nations peoples, issues, and history, distinguishing between Canada and at home in the United States. From there, we head to the University of Victoria to prime our understanding of the program themes. We visit an authentic Long House on campus and learn from a First Nations historian about the building and its work on reconciliation with the university for the land it is built upon.We also meet with the indigenous law research team at the university, which will serve as an important introduction to the tension we will explore on the program between logging, land ,and native rights. In the afternoon, students have time to explore downtown Victoria and have high tea at the famed Empress Hotel. From there, we transfer up the cost to the town of Nanaimo, checking in to our hotel in time for dinner.

DAY 4:

Monday, March 18th 2024

After breakfast and a tone-setting exercise, we take the foot ferry from the town of Nanaimo to Saysutshun (Newcastle Island),prepared for a day of learning with the Petroglyph Development Group. Now in Snuneymuxw territory, we open our eyes and expand our minds to learning indigenous ways of knowing and being.The Petroglyph Development Group is a wholly-owned corporation of the Snuneymuxw First Nation delegated to manage business and economic development. Their work centers around the realization of the economic potential of Snuneymuxw First Nation, bringing forth our Snuneymuxw Snuw’uyulth, the teachings passed down from Ancestors and elders, into the business realm. We meet local elders, learn traditional ecological practices, explore the island, and learn about the realities of logging and urban growth on Vancouver Island. We also do a Hybrid Heritage Mapping exercise with elders. Before leaving, we enjoy a salmon dinner before taking the foot ferry back to Nanaimo.


DAY 5:

Tuesday, March 19th 2024

We head back out on the foot ferry again to Saysutshun for another day spent with leaders, this time with the Snuneymuxw Development Corp. We meet with their elder CEO on reserve lands, tour a recent community forestry block, and learn about harvesting and reforesting.To explore both sides of the coin, in the afternoon we visit the Coastland Wood Industries Sawmill to understand the whole process of logging and perspectives on both sides. We return again to Nanaimo for a dinner and sunset in town.


DAY 6:

Wednesday, March 20th 2024

In the early morning of day 5, we spend the morning on a whale watching tour, hoping to view these magnificent creatures. After lunch, we drive to view the old growth at Cathedral Grove for a hike and to see the impacts of logging first hand. We return to Nanaimo for dinner and resting after a packed day of outdoor activities.

DAY 7:

Thursday, March 21st 2024

After breakfast and a briefing for the day, we head to Departure Bay for a morning of kayaking in the sound. We have a chance to immerse ourselves in nature and view the wildlife and sea life in the gorgeous sound. We'll have a picnic lunch and then return to town for explorations and downtime.


DAY 8:

Friday, March 22nd 2024

In the morning, we hold a program closing workshop, capturing all of our learnings as well as our outstanding questions about the complex issues and beauties we have come across on the program. We depart Vancouver Island for the journey home, crossing again by ferry into Horseshoe Bay. We head to the airport to say our goodbyes and return home.


Packing List

Everything you will need on this program, packing tips and basic information on your destination!
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Know before you go!

Learning resources and self-guided research tips to help prepare you for your program.
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Flight itinerary
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Important Dates & Deadlines



Confirmed Number of Travelers 

Participant Flight Booking Information

One week before deposit deadline

Deposits Paid (30% of Ground Total, 10% of which is non-refundable)

Participant Information Submitted

Participant Agreements Signed


Balance Payment

Traveler Documents and Medical Information