The University of Victoria presented an honorary doctor of education degree to John Edward Elliott Sr. on Monday afternoon.
Elliott, an elder of the Tsartlip Nation, is a scholar, teacher and mentor working to preserve and teach the traditional language of his people.
He worked for 40 years at tribal schools, immersing students from kindergarten to Grade 10 in the First Nations language. Elliott also worked and supported projects at UVic and Camosun College focusing on Indigenous knowledge and culture.
Earlier in the day, the university presented Ruby Peter with an honorary doctor of laws degree. She is a member of the Quamichan First Nation. The university cited her work "documenting, teaching and revitalizing the Hul'q'umi'num' language."
She is a co-author of Cowichan Dictionary, published in 1995, and has worked as a language consultant and translator in dozens of projects. She has also highlighted her culture by teaching about traditional stories, longhouse ceremonies, weaving and dancing.
The degree was presented during spring convocation ceremonies at the University of Victoria. Ceremonies for graduating students continue all week.