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Our Community: Camosun students get hands-on; hospital campaign gets a boost

During the dig, instructors and students from the college’s Indigenous Studies program helped honour the life and death of the bear through song.

Students get hands dirty with lesson on anthropology

Camosun College anthropology students got some hands-on learning recently when they got the ­opportunity to excavate the carcass of a black bear that had been buried on the Landsdowne campus.

The unique learning session came about when an Indigenous colleague of archeology instructor Nicole Kilburn gave the college a hunted black bear carcass in 2021. The body was missing its head and paws, which had been removed for ceremonial purposes.

“I knew right away this could be a great teaching and learning opportunity,” Kilburn said.

In 2022, the location was used by students to ­successfully detect anomalies beneath the surface using ground penetrating radar technology.

In March, students got some field training, getting dirt under their fingernails for the first time.

During the dig, instructors and students from the ­college’s Indigenous Studies program helped honour the life and death of the bear through song.

“Valuing and respecting Indigenous ways of ­knowing and being are key parts of teaching and learning, ­particularly as archeologists grapple with the dark ­history and legacy of the discipline,” said Kilburn.

Forensic anthropology instructor Katie ­Waterhouse led the students in recovery techniques and the ­reconstruction of the bear bones for evaluation in the forensic lab. The bones are now part of the college’s comparative collection for faunal analysis.

“It was a beautiful outcome,” said Kilburn.

Glenshiel house needs new board members

The Glenshiel Housing Society is looking for a ­expressions of interest to join its board. The society is looking for people with experience in the areas of ­non-profit management, financial oversight and ­governance.

The society provides affordable housing for low to moderate income seniors in a building built in 1909 in the style of a turn-of-the-century European hotel. The Glenshiel is home to more than 70 independent seniors, who enjoy meals, activities and light housekeeping.

The society says that recruiting board members, who provide strategic leadership and direction to the organization, has become increasingly difficult in the past few years.

Expressions of interest should be sent to [email protected]. The deadline for submissions is May 31.

• For more information, go to

Donation to help preserve Indigenous languages

The Royal B.C. Museum has received a $250,000 donation toward its Indigenous Audio-Visual Collection ­Digitization Project from the Wesik Family Foundation.

The aim of the project is to digitize and preserve the language and cultural traditions of more than 200 ­Indigenous communities and nations in the ­province.

The museum’s Indigenous audio and visual collection consists of more than 28,000 photographs, audio ­recordings and moving images taken across British Columbia between 1890 and 1990, with only 20 per cent of the collection digitized.

The Wesik Family Foundation’s donation will ­contribute to the digitization of the remaining 80 per cent of the collection.

“Digitizing the audio-visual collection ensures long-term care and sharing of significant cultural knowledge and voices,” said Tracey Drake, CEO, the Royal B.C. Museum. “We are extremely grateful to the Wesik Family Foundation for their financial support to advance this important work.”

• For more information on the ways to support the museum, go to

Hospital auxiliary boosts $11-million imaging campaign

The Victoria General Hospital Auxiliary has pledged $250,000 to support the Victoria Hospitals Foundation’s $11-million Imaging is Power campaign, specifically for two new MRI machines for Victoria General Hospital.

The all-volunteer auxiliary, which has been ­supporting the hospital since 1982, will fulfil the pledge over two years.

“Our members are generous with their time, ­forward thinking, and have a huge passion for the patient and staff experience — that is why it was critical we ­support the Victoria Hospitals Foundation’s imaging campaign, and all the good it will do for caregivers and patients alike,” said Cindy McInnes, president of the Victoria General Hospital Auxiliary. “This pledge is a true gift from the community: our volunteers who give of their time of course, but also every visitor that has supported our gift shop. The teddy bear you bought may have just helped fund new MRI technology for VGH — thank you.”

The Imaging is Power campaign — to modernize six imaging machines for Royal Jubilee and Victoria General hospitals — is approaching the $9-million ­milestone of its $11-million goal.

• For more information, go to

Grassroots drive honoured with Jack Layton Prize

A local grassroots campaign for free prescription ­contraception in B.C. has received a Jack Layton ­Progress Prize.

The AccessBC campaign was awarded the prize at the Broadbent Institute’s 2024 Progress Summit, which was held in Ottawa, April 10-12.

The prize is named for the late Jack Layton, who served as leader of the federal New Democratic Party from 2003 to 2011. It is awarded to an individual or organization who has run a noteworthy political or issue campaign reflecting the ideals exemplified by Layton, including justice, sustainability and democracy.

AccessBC started out as a conversation between two friends — Devon Black and Teale Phelps Bondaroff — at a kitchen table in 2017. Over the course of six years, the campaign launched letter writing campaigns, lobbied politicians, put up billboards and secured endorsements from 36 municipalities, the Union of British Columbia Municipalities and others.

In April 2023, British Columbia became the first province to make prescription contraception free.

“At a time when we see reproductive rights being eroded around the world, it is inspiring to see B.C., and soon Canada, become beacons of hope for ­reproductive justice,” said Bondaroff, campaign chair. “I am so grateful to all of our amazing AccessBC volunteers for their tireless work and dedication, and I am proud to see this work recognized through the Jack Layton ­Progress Prize.”

• For more information, go to or ­

Maritime achievement awards seek nominations

Nominations are now being accepted for consideration for the 2024 Lieutenant Governor’s Award for Maritime Achievement.

The award is a collaboration between the ­Government House Foundation and the Maritime Museum of B.C.

It recognizes individuals and organizations who have made noteworthy contributions to B.C.’s maritime interests in the areas of science, technology, business, applications of maritime skills, nautical heritage and culture, art and academic endeavours.

Nominations will close on June 15, with the awards presented at a ceremony in November.

• For more information, a list of past winners or to apply, go to

Cancer Foundation canvassers begin campaign

The B.C. Cancer Foundation is advising residents of Victoria, Saanich, Sooke, Oak Bay, Metchosin and Esquimalt that door-to-door canvassers will be in their neighbourhoods periodically over the next few months.

For security and safety purposes, all canvassers wear ID badges and B.C. Cancer Foundation teal vests.

The canvassers will not accept cash and only ­encourage residents to sign up for a monthly giving program.

Donors will receive an email confirmation ­immediately.

• Residents with questions about the ­door-to-door ­program or a fundraiser in their ­neighbourhood are asked to call 1-888-906-2873 or go to ­

[email protected]