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Douglas College coat of arms by Indigenous artist a first for Canada

Douglas College coat of arms

Marking the beginning of its 50th year, Douglas College has unveiled its first ever coat of arms, which is the first in Canada to feature complete artwork rendered by an Indigenous artist.

“A coat of arms represents a shared sense of history and tradition,” said Kathy Denton, Douglas College President and CEO. “But whose history and whose tradition? Inviting Carrielynn to interpret our coat of arms in her own vision is one way Douglas is engaging in the spirit of reconciliation and building a more welcoming campus.”

Carrielynn Victor, a local Coast Salish artist, produced the initial and final artwork from concepts and designs outlined by the Canadian Heraldic Authority. The process employed to produce the new coat of arms is a first for the Heraldic Authority – the body responsible for creation and granting of new coats of arms, flags, and other symbols – and a first for Canada.

“The Canadian Heraldic Authority is thrilled to be working with an Indigenous artist for the artwork of the Douglas College coat of arms, including the painting that will appear on the grant document itself,” said Bruce Patterson, acting Chief Herald of Canada. “This is a new way of working for us, and we are grateful to Douglas College for facilitating this project, which could set important precedents for how Canadian heraldry can showcase Indigenous art and symbolism.”

The new Douglas College coat of arms consists of a shield with a crowned heart – a feature of the Douglas family coat of arms – supported by two lions, a nod to the College’s mascot. At the top there is a raven and two Douglas fir boughs. All of the features sit above a globe, which represents the College’s global outlook, and at the bottom, a banner reads E’yo’l, Te’lmel, Te’mex, or Excellence, Knowledge, Passion in Halkomelem, a traditional Coast Salish language.

"This coat of arms project has been an exploration of blending two traditions with strong principles, and prescribed design elements,” said Carrielynn Victor. “The resulting coat of arms should stand the test of time, as it carries elements that are true to heraldry, and also to Coast Salish design. I was honored to blend my Coast Salish and Scottish heritage together in this one-of-a-kind piece."

Victor lives on the traditional territory of the Cheam First Nation, where she creates art and manages an environmental consultancy.

“Representation of Indigenous culture is long overdue in many institutions in British Columbia,” said Melanie Mark, Minister of Advanced Education, Skills and Training. “I’m so proud of Douglas College for their leadership and commitment to meaningful reconciliation. Today is all about remembering that no act of reconciliation is too small, and that we can all make a difference by working together. By recognizing Coast Salish culture and artists in their official coat of arms, Douglas College is leading by example as we strive to build more inclusive campuses for students, faculty, and staff throughout B.C.”

For more information on the Douglas College coat of arms, please visit douglascollege.ca/coat-of-arms.

Douglas College is the largest degree-granting college in B.C., combining the academic foundations of a university and the career-ready skills of a college to provide the most relevant and inspiring undergraduate experience in British Columbia. 

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Contact
Maia Odegaard
Communications Coordinator
odegaardm@douglascollege.ca
604 527 5806