Vancouver Island University's ceremonial paddles were given to the University by Chief Shawn A-in-chut Atleo when he was installed as VIU's first Chancellor in 2008. One paddle was given to VIU's three regional campuses in Nanaimo, Cowichan and Powell River and another to the Parksville-Qualicum Centre.
The steering paddle gifted to the Nanaimo campus has since become an important symbol and tradition in our convocation ceremonies. This paddle, made by Brian Bob, Qwuyutsapulth of the Coast Salish/ Ucluelet First Nation, is carved of yellow cedar and signifies teamwork, pulling together, like in a canoe. The salmon carved onto the blade represents journeys; salmon leave the place where they are hatched but return later in their lives, much in the same way that youth earn an education and then return home to bring their skills and knowledge back to their communities.
At the convocation ceremonies, the paddle is carried in and out of the theatre by the President.