UFV graduate Tsandlia Van Ry was celebrated at her home on June 15, for winning the Lieutenant governor’s medal. (UFV photo)

UFV graduate Tsandlia Van Ry was celebrated at her home on June 15, for winning the Lieutenant governor’s medal. (UFV photo)

UFV learning journey helped Stó:lō woman reconnect with roots

Tsandlia Van Ry is this year’s winner of UFV’s Lieutenant Governor’s medal

The recipient of this year’s Lieutenant Governor’s medal at the University of the Fraser Valley is a graduate who has recently been in the news.

Tsandlia Van Ry was part of a small group of community members who proposed the name Stitó:s Lá:lém Totí:lt (‘place of crossing, house of learning’ in Halq’eméylem) for the new elementary/middle school under construction in Chilliwack.

READ MORE: VIDEO: Learning begins with new indigenous name for Chilliwack school

But there is much more to Van Ry than that.

The university’s publication UFV Today recently published an in-depth feature article on Van Ry, along with stories of several other big award winners. The criteria for the Lieutenant Governor’s medal includes student involvement in promoting diversity, inclusion, and reconciliation. The story explains all the ways that Van Ry fits the bill.

She is receiving her second credential, a Bachelor of Education, from UFV this spring, after having completed a Bachelor of Kinesiology in 2018. While she was born here and even attended UFV as a baby in daycare there, she moved away when very young.

As a young woman she returned to S’ólh Téméxw (Our Land), the traditional home of the Stó:lō people, to pursue studies at UFV. That’s when her reconnection with her culture began, the article states.

“It’s amazing how much being part of the land and making those connections can teach you,” she observed. “I have learned so much from the land, and knowledge keepers around me. It was difficult not being immersed in my culture growing up, although I didn’t know it at the time. Returning here really sparked my re-learning and re-integration to my community. My true identity had always been there, beneath the surface, and once I returned home, I couldn’t ignore it.”

Van Ry has already been hired as a teacher on call by the Chilliwack School District and is eager to start work in September.

To read more about her life story, including her strong connections to UFV, her travel adventures, and more, visit UFV Today.

READ MORE: Fraser Valley student with perfect GPA was GG gold


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