What started as a class project could become an important tool for educating new students and the university community about Royal Roads’ Coast Salish heritage. “Even before the pyramids had been built in Egypt, the indigenous populations on our West Coast, and in fact right here, on the land that is now home to Royal Roads University, were developing an amazingly rich and complex culture,” BA Professional Communication student Shawn Morris says in a voiceover for a video entitled Tse Tsa Watle: Coming Together in Interdependence. Morris – along with fellow students Brett Blair, April Trigg and Matt Smith – created the video as part of their professional experience class project. The nine-minute piece discusses Coast Salish history. It also explores First Nations’ different way of learning and how everyone can learn from their perspectives. The students were required to find a client, do a needs assessment, create a communications plan, implementing it and make recommendations. In this case, the students’ client was Prof. Virginia McKendy and the Tse Tas Watle initiative. A Hul’q’umi’num’ word, Tse Tas Watle means coming together to help one another. The 1.5-year-old Royal Roads initiative is loosely defined and ever-evolving, McKendy says. To date, the project has brought together interested parties to hear from six First Nations guest speakers at Royal Roads. “The goal of the Tse Tsa Watle initiative is, in all our diversity and difference, for indigenous and non-indigenous people to find projects and initiatives and good things to do together that will help us start creating unity of mind that doesn’t exclude anybody or anybody’s world view,” McKendry explains. McKendry says she is very pleased with the result – and she’s not the only one. For the video, Morris won a Student Communicator of the Year – Award of Merit (Communication Creative category) from the International Association of Business Communicators, British Columbia (IABC/BC).
Morris was also featured in yesterday's Nelson Daily. You can read the story here.