The Origin of NIL TU,O Child and Family Services Society

The word NIL TU,O comes from the Coast Salish SENCOTEN language.  It implies “new beginning” and reflects the hopes and aspirations of the communities that have come together for the common goal of caring for their children and families.

In 1996, representatives from eight (8) communities began the planning process: Esquimalt, Pacheedaht, Pauquachin, Songhees, Sooke, Tsartlip, Tsawout and Tseycum. The planning process occurred over a period of two (2) years in four (4) stages, including community awareness, community needs assessment, agency design and negotiation of formal agreements with the federal and provincial governments.  

November 5th, 1997, the NIL TU,O Child and Family Services Society was incorporated as a non-profit Society, the first Directors were Paul Sam, Karen Harry and Simon Smith.

In March 1999, an agreement was signed between the Society and the provincial and federal governments.  The “Collective Nations” who were signatories to this agreement were Beecher Bay, Pauquachin, Songhees, Tsartlip and Tsawout.  In September 2000, T’Sou-ke joined the others.

The first Annual General Meeting (AGM) of the society was in October 1999, confirmed and elected members to the Board of Directors from each of the Collective Nations who signed the agreement.

At the Strategic Planning session held in the spring of 2000, a mission statement was developed:

  • NIL TU,O CFSS goals are to ensure the safety, protection, and well-being of our children.

  • Working together to maintain the traditional values of the extended family

  • Demonstrating mutual respect, love, patience, and nurturing for our children and families.

In 2001, NIL TU,O began offering services to the members of the Collective Nations.


Logo design

Artist Dave Underwood Introduces New NIȽ TU,O Logo

NIȽ TU,O SXELTOW̱ - NIȽ TU,O logo

Niltuo-Text-around-logo-blue.png

I had at first created the original logo using the same symbols that the new one still uses, however, I was not able to articulate in-depth the themes of the logo. This was mainly because the elements were left too obscure and unresolved. I now feel it has resolved, as there is unity to the symbols, which give it balance and direction while also using the art form that speaks to the area that the organization represents.

There are three general themes that this NIȽ TU,O logo addresses: change, connection/relation and direction. Change is initially represented by transitions of colour. The blues and greens change from dark to light or night to day and vice-versa. In this context, time also represents change, as indicated by the passing of days, or the moon/sun and the single star, the first and last star of the day. Change is also renewal, or new beginnings, which is the baby silhouette, the WEXES - frog, who traditionally symbolizes new life and beginnings, and again, the transition from day to night.

As for the notion of connection, it is represented by the transitioning tones of relative colour. The STḴȺYE, wolf, is traditionally symbolic of family, whom is also considered an old relative. The body of the STḴȺYE indicates this through a human face on it that wears a ŚW̱,KITES, a wool head band, which is associated with SIÁM, an honourable person.

For direction, there is a continuum of the arrow designs flowing in two directions: outward from the sun and back to the moon. To elaborate further, they go from the WEXES, to the sun, to the earth, to the STḴȺYE and to the moon. On the ground, a simple representation of green grass changes from a darker green to a light green. The lighter green forms a path that is as though illuminated by the rays of the sun, indicating either a new direction or an enlightened one.

The themes of this image can yet be elaborated on, however the above statements render the core of the logos meaning. It is note worthy that the meaning has grown and become clearer, concurrently, not only in terms of my ability as an artist and as well as a human being, but also in terms of the growth of the NIȽ TU,O organization.

ENÁN SEN U, YEḴ OL EȻs NIȽ ŚW̱,ÍY OL E TŦE EN SĆȺ - I hope the logo suits the work well.

HÍ,SW̱ḴE SIÁM – Thank You

PENÁĆ – G. David Underwood