University of Calgary: Blessing ceremony opens new Indigenous Hub at UCalgary’s Foothills campus

The new Indigenous Hub at the University of Calgary’s Foothills campus offers a space for staff, students, faculty and Elders to gather, share and connect.

The Hub was recently officially opened with a blessing from UCalgary Senator and Elder Reg Crowshoe, Hon. LLD’01, ceremonialist and a former chief of the Piikani First Nation. Crowshoe started the blessing with a prayer and a smudge, grounding the room as an ethical space for work to be done on parallel paths toward reconciliation.

The Indigenous Hub is located in the Indigenous, Local and Global Health Office within the Health Sciences Centre, part of the Cumming School of Medicine (CSM). Planning for the space began in 2019 when Elders and Indigenous community members provided input about function and design to create a welcoming, supportive and ceremonial space for Indigenous staff, students, faculty and Elders.

“In my clinic, we have a similar ceremonial room that the clinic was built around,” says Dr. Lindsay Crowshoe, MD, assistant dean of Indigenous health at CSM. “The room offers an intentional environment where patients and staff can reconnect with our culture and traditions integral to healing and wellness. Even the idea that the room is there inspires hope in clients and staff.

“In our modern institutions, these spaces are rare. Having this space in our school is intended to similarly support and inspire us.”

The CSM’s Indigenous Health Program will offer teachings, workshops, gatherings, celebrations and ceremonies within the Indigenous Hub. The hope is to invite Elders in Residence to gather and offer guidance, learning and support to Indigenous students over tea, says the program’s co-ordinator, Holliston Logan, BSc’15.

The Indigenous Hub space, located on the ground floor across from the Feasby Student Lounge, can be booked through Logan and reserved for activities, events and ceremonies that align with UCalgary’s Indigenous Strategy, ii’ taa’poh’to’p. The space also aligns with the CSM’s Indigenous Health Dialogue, the faculty’s vision for responding purposefully to the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada’s Calls to Action. Dr. Beverly Adams, BA’83, MD, the CSM’s senior associate dean of education, additionally supported this initiative.