June 14, 2022

Blessing ceremony opens new Indigenous Hub at UCalgary's Foothills campus

Dedicated space inspires hope and learning along the path to Indigenous reconciliation
group photo in the Indigenous Hub
Indigenous, Local and Global Health Office

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.

  • Photo above, from left: Katrina Fras, research assistant, Indigenous Primary Health Care and Policy Research Network; Andrea Brose, program manager, Indigenous, Local and Global Health Office; Dr. Pamela Roach, PhD, director, Indigenous health education; Dr. Dianne Mosher, MD, associate dean, Indigenous, Local and Global Health Office; Elder Rose Crowshoe, a member of the Piikani Nation; Dr. Reg Crowshoe, PhD, Traditional Knowledge Keeper in Residence, UCalgary; Holliston Logan, Indigenous health program co-ordinator, Indigenous, Local and Global Health Office; Dr. Lindsay Crowshoe, MD, assistant dean, Indigenous, Local and Global Health Office; Dr. Michael Hart, PhD, vice-provost, Indigenous Engagement, UCalgary.

“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.

Students, staff and faculty are welcome to visit the Indigenous Hub in person during National Indigenous History Month and enjoy a cup of tea with Logan. Drop-in dates for the month are June 15 and 22; see event listing for times. To book the space, email Logan at hjlogan@ucalgary.ca.

Elder Reg Crowshoe, Hon. LLD'01, is a member of the Piikani First Nation in southern Alberta, where he formerly served as chief. Reg is a well-respected and well-known community leader, ceremonial Elder and spiritual advisor. He received an honorary doctorate degree from UCalgary in 2001 and is also a member of the University Senate. Reg has been instrumental in the development of the University of Calgary’s Indigenous Strategy, ii' taa'poh'to'p, for which he was a key member of the Steering Committee and a cultural advisor. 

Dr. Lynden (Lindsay) Crowshoe, MD, is assistant dean of Indigenous health for the Cumming School of Medicine (CSM). He is also co-chair of the Indigenous Health Dialogue, Indigenous Health Program director, and is a member of the Piikani Nation, Treaty 7 Region of Alberta. He is an associate professor in the Department of Family Medicine and a member of the O’Brien Institute for Public Health at CSM.

The University of Calgary unveiled its Indigenous Strategy, ii' taa'poh'to'p, in November 2017. The Strategy is the result of nearly two years of community dialogue and campus engagement, and involved the work of a number of people from the university, Indigenous communities and community stakeholders. Recommendations from the strategy will be implemented as we move forward with promise, hope and caring for the future, walking parallel paths "in a good way." Learn more about ii' taa'poh'to'p here.