Nov. 25, 2022
UCalgary celebrates 5 years of commitment to our Indigenous Strategy
Since its launch in 2017, the University of Calgary’s Indigenous Strategy, ii’ taa’poh’to'p, continues to guide UCalgary on its path of transformation and communicates its commitment and responsibility for truth and reconciliation. This November marks five years of transformative reconciliation through education addressed by more meaningful and thoughtful inclusion of Indigenous Peoples and knowledge systems in UCalgary faculties and business units.
“The UCalgary Indigenous Strategy, ii’ taa’poh’to’p, has been validated in ceremony and honoured with cultural gifts from the Elders, including a Blackfoot name, a song, cultural symbols, teepee design, a buffalo symbol and a Winter Count Buffalo Robe. The traditional validation of ii’ taa’poh’to’p through ceremonial smudge and cultural gifting connects back to our journey framework,” says Dr. Reg Crowshoe, Hon. LLD’01, a Piikani Elder and Cultural Adviser.
Despite the challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic, during the last academic year (2021-2022), UCalgary students, faculty, staff, and community members continued to show up and recommit to the Indigenous Strategy through their participation and involvement. A few highlights from the last year include:
- UCalgary awarded $50,000 internally under the ii’ taa’poh’to’p Intercultural Grant Program, bringing the total allocation commitment to $260,000 in support of 25 projects since 2018.
- More than 10,600 students, faculty, staff, and community members took part in Indigenous-focused educational, cultural and community events offered by UCalgary.
- Through the Office of Indigenous Engagement, Indigenous student, faculty and staff voices were included in several in-depth university policy reviews, while many Elders were consistently sought out by faculties, departments and administrative units as a way to guide UCalgary in its reconciliation and transformation journey.
- To increase access, UCalgary introduced and approved three new faculty-based Pathway programs for Indigenous students in engineering (launched in 2022), science and arts (approved for 2023).
- The Calgary Foundation made a $1-million gift to UCalgary’s Office of Indigenous Engagement to advance the major goals of the Indigenous Strategy and our parallel path toward reconciliation.
Even so, when it comes to reconciliation, intent is just as important as actions, says Dr. Michael Hart, vice-provost (Indigenous engagement): “Spirit is fundamental for Indigenous people. It is central to healthy relationships and moving forward towards our vision. As we revisit the spirit of ii’ taa’poh’to’p, we revitalize our journey together along parallel paths, strengthen our respectful relationships in our shared space, and enact commitment to transform the university for the benefit of all people.”
Join UCalgary on Dec. 2 as we create space to revisit the spirit and intent of ii’ taa’poh’to’p, while celebrating and honouring the continued journey. This webinar, Revisiting the Spirit of ii’ taa’poh’to’p, will also provide the UCalgary community with continued momentum and awareness about the strategy, highlight progress to date, and welcome special guests who have helped shape the ii’ taa’poh’to’p journey.
Dec. 2, 2022
12 – 1:30 p.m., online
Courtesy Jacqueline Ottmann
Dr. Jacqueline Ottmann, BEd’89, PhD, is the president of the First Nations University of Canada and a former UCalgary faculty member. She is Anishinaabe (Saulteaux) from Fishing Lake First Nation in Saskatchewan. Prior to her academic career, Ottmann was an elementary, and high school teacher and principal. She remains an engaged scholar alongside her responsibilities as a senior academic leader.
While at UCalgary, she was the co-ordinator of the First Nations, Métis, and Inuit undergraduate teacher education program, and director of Indigenous Education Initiatives within the Werklund School of Education (WSE). She also co-chaired the WSE Indigenous Strategy, and, alongside the provost, co-chaired the task force that created the Indigenous Strategy.
Dr. Reg Crowshoe, Hon. LLD’01, is a member of the Piikani First Nation in Southern Alberta, where he formerly served as chief. Crowshoe is a well-respected and well-known community leader, ceremonial Elder and spiritual adviser. He has a long-standing relationship with UCalgary and has generously shared and offered his guidance, ceremonial leadership and traditional knowledge to students, staff, faculty and senior leadership. He received an honorary doctorate degree from UCalgary in 2001 and is also a member of the University Senate. Crowshoe has been instrumental in the development of UCalgary’s Indigenous Strategy, ii’ taa’poh’to’p, where he was a key member of the Steering Committee. He was also the ceremonial leader and provided the traditional design and interpretation of our cultural symbols for ii’ taa’poh’to’p.
ii’ taa’poh’to’p, the University of Calgary’s Indigenous Strategy, is a commitment to deep evolutionary transformation by reimagining ways of knowing, doing, connecting and being. Walking parallel paths together, ‘in a good way,’ UCalgary is moving toward genuine reconciliation and Indigenization.