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Four Feathers Writing Guide

Learn more about traditional Coast Salish teachings and approaches to learning that can support your development as an academic writer.


Traditional Lands

Royal Roads University acknowledges that the campus is located on the traditional lands of the Xwsepsum (Esquimalt) and Lekwungen (Songhees) ancestors and families who have lived here for thousands of years.

This land has been part of the fabric of the life of Indigenous communities long before Hatley Castle was built, and it will be long into the future. It is with gratitude that we now learn and work here, where the past, present and future of Indigenous and non-Indigenous students, faculty and staff come together.

Hay'sxw'qa si'em!

Knowledge Keepers

This guide would not have been possible without the tremendous generosity and contributions of Cowichan Nation Elder Dr. Shirley Alphonse and SC’IÁNEW̱ Nation Elder Nadine Charles. Thank you for helping to create a vision, for participating in the gathering of information, for sharing your knowledge, and for bringing your voices to this project.

Thank you to all the Indigenous Knowledge Keepers who are quoted in this guide. We are grateful to be able share your wisdom with the Royal Roads’ community. In particular, thank you to Elder Elmer George, Songhees Nation; Chief Gordon Planes, T’Sou-ke Nation; and Elder Arvid Charlie, Cowichan.

Finally, thank you to Dr. Kathy Absolon, whose Academic Writing Manual for Aboriginal Students contributed to the inspiration for this guide and who kindly granted permission to adapt that work.


S'AEL plaqueThank you to everyone who contributed to the development of this resource through participation, encouragement, support, and feedback. The resource would not have been possible without the support and involvement of numerous members of both the Royal Roads University and First Nations’ communities; in particular, thank you to:

  • Elder Elmer George, Songhees Nation
  • Dr. Elder Butch Dick, Songhees Nation
  • Elders Burt and Lee Charles, SC’IÁNEW̱ Nation
  • Elders George and Ruth Cook, Kwaguilth Nation
  • 'Old One’ Victor Underwood, Tsawout First Nation
  • Asma-na-hi Antoine, Toquaht Nation, Nuu-chah-nulth, Indigenous Education and Student Services Manager, Royal Roads University
  • Roberta Mason, Associate Vice-President, Student & Academic Services, Royal Roads University
  • Rosie Croft, University Librarian, Royal Roads University

All photos on this page © Royal Roads University