Sneq’wa e’lun is a gathering and resource space for Indigenous (First Nations, Metis, Inuk) students, faculty, associate faculty and staff. It’s also where we come together with members of our whole university community for learning, sharing and building relationships.
It’s located on the shore of Esquimalt Lagoon, where the Lekwungen-speaking ancestors and families once lived.
The name Sneq’wa e’lun is the Lekwungen expression for Blue Heron House. “Sneq’wa” means “Blue Heron” and “e’lun” means “house.” You may hear people calling the building the “Blue Heron House”, and while this is correct, we use the Lekwungen language as a sign of respect.
The name was chosen by an anonymous vote of more than 150 people who attended a feast that was held to open the building. Three options were provided by the Old Ones/Elders, who later became the Heron Peoples Circle. When you read the significance of the Blue Heron below, it will probably make sense to you why this beautiful creature was chosen to represent this beautiful space.
The Blue Heron brings messages of self-determination and self-reliance. They represent an ability to progress and evolve. The long thin legs of the heron reflect that an individual doesn’t need great massive pillars to remain stable, but must be able to stand on one’s own. Blue Herons have the innate wisdom of being able to maneuver through life and co-create their own circumstances. Blue Herons reflect a need for those to follow their own unique wisdom and path of self-determination. These individuals know what is best for themselves and need to follow their hearts rather than the promptings of others. The Blue Heron symbolizes patience, grace, balance, elegance, and determination.”— adapted from Blue Heron Environmental with assistance from members of the Heron People Circle.
Sneq’wa e’lun has two rooms for studying, class meetings and events.
The Resource Room
The Resource Room holds up to 10 people and has a large television screen connected to a computer.
The Gathering Room
The Gathering Room holds up to 50 people and has a large television screen connected to a computer. This room has internal microphones and speakers that connect to the computer which it can be turned on for events where participants may be inside or out.
There's a kitchen that includes a fridge, sink, microwave, dishwasher and kitchenware. Users are required to clean the kitchen space after use. The space is equipped with three gender-inclusive washrooms, one of which is an accessible washroom.
Sneq'wa e'lun is not open to the public. Staff work in offices and other workspaces throughout the building and when you've confirmed your booking, during your use, please be mindful of others in the building.
Space must be booked through Royal Roads University’s online scheduling system.
Accessing Sneq’wa e’lun
Sneq’wa e’lun is available to students, faculty and staff, and to external Indigenous organizations and partners.
As we do our best to avoid conflicting schedules, keep in mind, that your reservation may be bumped, as priority is given to Royal Roads Indigenous students, Indigenous faculty and staff and local Nations. Other Royal Roads bookings are accommodated if they do not conflict with reservations made by these users. Indigenous community organizations are given the next priority, followed by external community organizations that are not Indigenous-led. Fees may be charged to users external to the Royal Roads community.
Users should know that bookings may be shifted to another campus location if an Indigenous student or group priority emerges. In the rare instance where this occurs, Campus Services will work with the person or group impacted to provide comparable space.
Students are welcome to book space for themselves, class groups or activities. Indigenous students are given priority. Email Candice Cook, Indigenous student services coordinator, to request a reservation.
Faculty and staff
Faculty and staff are invited to make a booking request through our online scheduling system for Royal Roads activities.
External community organizations
External community organizations that are not Indigenous-led are invited to connect with our Campus Services staff to learn more about the possibilities and conditions for booking Sneq’wa e’lun.