Indigenous Ways of Being

Vancouver Island

Duration 7 days
Suggested group size 12 - 20 students / 2 Envoys Field Staff
Suggested ages 14 - 18
Experience Indigenous Ways
Scarce Resources & Rethinking Resources


Indigenous Ways of Being

Vancouver Island

Despite the social and economic struggles these Nations have faced due to colonial policies, many First 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 learn directly from teachers, students, and leaders within these Indigenous communities, understand the limitations of Western perspectives on ‘resources,’ and witness examples of hope for the future

“Here, the land holds ancient stories, and a commitment echoes to honor and preserve the wisdom of the First Nations.“


“Rainforest exhales, orcas in elegance, nature's symphony resonates.“


Impact Statement Everywhere we go, we carry a promise – to engage with respect, act with purpose, and leave a positive imprint. As envoys of our journey is more than travel; Our footprint is light, but our impact is profound, creating bridges of cooperation and mutual growth across the globe.

Day 1

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

Day 2

We visit the University of Victoria, where we explore a Long House and interact with a First Nations historian. Meetings with the indigenous law research team provide insights into logging, land, and native rights. The afternoon includes exploring downtown Victoria before transferring to Nanaimo.

Day 3

We take the ferry to Saysutshun (Newcastle Island) for a day of learning with the Petroglyph Development. In Snuneymuxw territory, we meet local elders, learn traditional ecological practices, explore the island, and learn about logging and urban growth on Vancouver Island.

Day 4

Another day with leaders in Saysutshun, this time with the Snuneymuxw Development Corp. We meet their CEO on reserve lands, tour a community forestry block, and learn about harvesting and reforesting. To explore both sides of the coin, we also visit the Coastland Wood Industries Sawmill.

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 6

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 7

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.

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Lenses of Inquiry



Despite challenges from colonial policies, many First Nations maintain their language, arts and sustainable resource practices. In this experience students learn from Indigenous communities, discovering limitations to Western resource perspectives and witnessing hopeful examples for the future.



Focusing on the logging industry in Victoria, BC, students explore challenges for First Nations. Questions arise about land sharing, selling stolen land, tree ownership, and reconciliation progress in British Columbia. Is it enough, compared to our practices in the United States?



In our globalized world, we're often unaware of the origins of daily essentials. Drawing from indigenous knowledge, students explore sources with professionals in forestry, urban farming, and aquaculture and examine the impact of global economies on local lives.


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