Editor’s note: This article was originally published on the My UVic Life student blog on Feb. 4, 2015.
The First Peoples House is a beautiful space that holds a heart-warming importance for myself and many others in the Indigenous community.
I came directly to the University of Victoria after high school. I quickly fell in love with the campus and soon after moving into residence on-campus and attending classes I flourished and welcomed many new experiences.
One space that I had not yet visited but was incredibly intrigued to explore was the First Peoples House. My friend introduced the space to me one afternoon, and as I stepped into the building I could almost immediately recognize that this space was different.
As an Indigenous student, this is a building you enter knowing that you can feel comfortable, relaxed, and most importantly supported. This is a wonderful space where people hold each other up in a good way, wishing the best for another person’s well-being, and it is utilized as a space for rejuvenation, learning, and community.
I began my exploration knowing nothing about the house, and only a little about culture growing up, but it was when I went to university that I further opened my mind to areas I hadn’t explored before, such as culture.
I began meeting the incredible staff at the house, learning about the services available, volunteering, and meeting other students who I would frequently see. I am now working as a Campus Cousin, where I support new students in their transition to university life and help organize events at the house.
This building is unique and different from any other building on campus; it is a place where community members feel grounded and connected; it is a community, a family, and a home away from home.
Ricky Watts is a fifth-year student, and campus cousin lead of the LE’NONET program.