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Vancouver Island University’s ‘su’luqw’a’ Community Cousins Aboriginal student mentorship program is celebrating its 10th anniversary in September 2021. In honour of this important milestone, we are sharing the stories of 12 people closely connected with the program – one per month – leading up to the anniversary.
The ‘su’luqw’a’ Community Cousins program builds capacity for mentors to gain leadership and employability skills through outreach and mentoring activities. Students hone skills in self-awareness, communication, leadership, self-care and an exploration of personal values, with an emphasis on “telling one’s story” as a path to self-empowerment through outreach to others.
Xulsimalt – Gary Manson’s connection to Vancouver Island University began in 2008 when he was asked to skip the VIU canoe from Port Hardy to Duncan for Tribal Journeys – an annual event where Indigenous peoples along the Pacific Northwest Coast travel via ocean-going canoes to a different host Nation each year. It was the first year VIU had participated with staff and students.