New robes created with cedar, Coast Salish design for first Indigenous woman as KPU chancellor

January 27, 2021
Kwantlen Polytechnic University’s new chancellor, Kim Baird, is a former chief of Tsawwassen First Nation and a graduate of KPU. As the first Indigenous woman to serve as chancellor at KPU, Baird was given new academic robes with a Coast Salish design and modern fit to honour her. “It was quite a collaborative project from the beginning, because I worked with Kim and some other Tsawwassen First Nation representatives to make sure that we were contributing in a way that would be appropriate, as well as really educational and creative,” said KPU graduate and freelance fashion designer Sam Stringer. A cedar weaver from Tsawwassen created a traditional mat for the robe, which was cut into shapes and integrated into the sleeves of the robe. Baird stated that the finished robe far exceeded her expectations, and added that wearing regalia that reflects her heritage felt like starting off her time as chancellor on the right foot: “Some people might think it’s window dressing, but I think it’s really important, these symbolic gestures,” she said. “It’s an important gesture for reconciliation.” University Affairs (BC)