Vancouver Island University (VIU) has appointed Marcia Turner as Associate Vice-President, Indigenous Education and Engagement.
In this role, Turner will provide strategic leadership to guide the University in defining and implementing a vision for the interrelated commitments and practices of Indigenization, decolonization and reconciliation within the academy. Her work will be instrumental as VIU aims to fulfill its commitment to the Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s calls to action and the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples. Turner’s role will seek guidance from Elders, Indigenous communities and knowledge keepers to further focus on realizing learner needs and aspirations, program development and support, and ensuring Indigenous students have community and agency in meeting their educational goals.
“I am honoured and humbled to be invited to this new role and opportunity to advance Indigenous self-determination and decolonization at VIU,” says Turner. “I believe in the transformative power of education and the strength and resilience of Indigenous people. It is my passion to equalize Indigenous knowledge systems and amplify the voices of Indigenous people.”
Turner explains: “As an Indigenous leader in this role, I have a responsibility to VIU, the Indigenous communities and our ancestors. The creation of this role sends a signal that VIU is committed to improving the experiences of Indigenous students, employees and communities at the University. Our work ahead is complex and will involve uncomfortable conversations. However change does not happen when we are comfortable. I look forward to building on the good work VIU and Indigenous communities have built together.”
Turner is Gitxsan from the Lax Gibuu clan, Wilp Haijimsxw. Her ancestral name is Ligigalwil, a wing chief name she carries. Her Dawson family is from the Dzawada’enuxw community. She brings a wealth of knowledge and experience to VIU’s first AVP, Indigenous Education and Engagement role, drawing from her 25 years of working with a diverse range of organizations at the community, provincial, national, and international levels. Turner’s advanced leadership experience comes from working with both the provincial government and post-secondary education sectors, including her role as the Aboriginal Provincial Manager for Success by 6 with the United Way of the Lower Mainland.
Turner’s professional experience includes teaching at the University of British Columbia, North Island College (NIC), Royal Roads University and the University of Victoria (UVic), as well as supporting program development collaboration with Indigenous scholars, traditional leaders and Elders for the University of Victoria and North Island College. As part of these collaborations, she led the co-creation of the Diploma in Indigenous Community Development and Governance at UVic and supported the creation of the Certificate of Aboriginal Leadership at NIC.
Since 2014, Turner has been owner and CEO of Daxgedim Haanak’ Nation Building, a consulting business in Indigenous governance, community development and engagement. Her clients included the Royal BC Museum, Simon Fraser University, provincial and federal governments, First Nations communities and Coast Salish Employment and Training Society.
Turner is currently a PhD student in Political Science, Indigenous Politics at University of Hawaii. She holds a Master of Arts in Leadership from Royal Roads University (2019) and a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science with a Minor in Indigenous Studies from the University of Victoria (2012).
When not working, Turner enjoys beach walks and hikes with her two dogs, spending time with her four grown sons and friends, learning ballroom dancing and spending time learning her simalgyax language and Gitxsan culture.
Marcia Turner assumed her new role on July 18, 2022. For more information, email Debra Jacklin, VIU’s Manager of Talent Acquisition, at [email protected]