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Q’um Q’um Xiiem Dr. Jo-ann Archibald Installed as UFV Chancellor

Fraser Valley (Darren McDonald) – UFV joined hands to welcome Q’um Q’um Xiiem Dr. Jo-ann Archibald into her new role as University Chancellor. Held May 9 at the Gathering Place on UFV’s Chilliwack campus, the proceedings were designed to honour both academic tradition and Stó:lō ceremony. Dr. Archibald is UFV’s fourth chancellor, taking on the title after Dr. Andy Sidhu’s six years in the position.  

Beginning with an academic procession, the program was guided by both University Secretary Al Wiseman and T’xwelátse Herb Joe. In accordance with Stó:lō tradition, T’xwelátse called multiple witnesses to speak to the gathering near the end of the ceremony and share what they experienced there with their communities.  

“The university community is eager to apply the experience, skills and understanding of this Chancellor to our work here at UFV, and for this Chancellor to bring her profound knowledge of Indigenous people and ways of knowing to UFV’s governing systems,” said T’xwelátse. 

“Her research and knowledge around Indigenous story telling will benefit UFV in so many ways. The potential for transformative impact is profound.” 

At the centre of the Gathering Place, four new blankets were laid on the floor to create a space where no one had ever stood before. T’xwelátse explained that this is referred to as sacred ground.  It was here that Archibald would take her oath. 

Eight singers and drummers circled the crowd before the Soowahlie First Nation council shared remarks. Tanya Commodore expressed how proud she was of the incoming chancellor, saying, “We hold our hands high in gratitude for all your accomplishments, and look forward to all your endeavors at UFV.”  

After a land acknowledgement from Dr. Tracy Ryder Glass came a description of Archibald’s new role from UFV Alumni Association Associate Vice-Chair Tricia Taylor, followed by a heartfelt speech from President Joanne MacLean thanking former Chancellor Andy Sidhu for his service.  

“Andy’s contributions to society, both here in British Columbia and abroad, are deep and far-reaching,” said MacLean. 

“His selfless dedication to the betterment of our community has earned him the respect of many – he is truly a leader among leaders and a humble pillar of society.” 

Q’um Q’um Xiiem was then robed, and the Chancellor’s medallion placed around her neck. 

Next, young Sasquatch Dancers performed traditional dances, accompanied by their drummer who sang a paddle song, a victory song, and an eagle song. 

Then, in her green and gold academic robe and her Chancellor’s medallion, Archibald stood on sacred ground as she took her oath of office. She was adorned with a red cedar hat made by Gracie Kelly, of Soowahlie First Nation, and a stole by master Stó:lō weaver Frieda George, of Squiala First Nation, both created specially to mark the occasion.  

The new chancellor addressed the crowd, inviting them to participate in an activity called Hands Back, Hands Forward. She shared memories from her own academic journey and expressed the importance of making youth feel valued and cared for. 

 “Today, I am very proud to become the fourth chancellor of UFV,” she said. 

“I also raise my hands in respect to the former chancellors. They have, in their own way, ensured the university has addressed community, Indigenization, and connection for the purpose of excellence.”  

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