Indigenous Initiatives

Land Acknowledgement

St. Mary’s University is located in the traditional territories of the Niitsitapi (Blackfoot) and the people of the Treaty 7 region in Southern Alberta, which includes the Siksika, the Piikani, the Kainai, the Tsuut’ina and the Iyahe Nakoda. We are situated on land where the Bow River meets the Elbow River; the traditional Blackfoot name of this place is “Mohkinstsis,” which we now call the City of Calgary. The City of Calgary is home to the Otipemisiwak Métis government. St. Mary’s university is situated in District 6, the Calgary Elbow Métis.

St. Mary’s is committed to Truth and Reconciliation, most importantly to the Calls to Action in Education.

“Achieving reconciliation is like climbing a mountain- we must proceed a step at a time.  It will not always be easy. There will be storms, there will be obstacles, but we cannot allow ourselves to be daunted by the task because our goal is just and it is also necessary.” – Justice Sinclair

LeeAnn Gervais

Indigenous Relations and Initiatives Specialist

LeAnn was born and raised in Prince Albert and Saskatoon, Saskatchewan. Her family is traditionally from Batoche and northern Saskatchewan and she was raised in the Catholic and Métis traditions. She is married and blessed to be a mother to three children, who are her greatest teachers.   

She is honoured to share her life experiences through St. Mary’s University. In her life journey, she has earned a degree in Métis Education, worked as an Addictions Counsellor for 10 years, a Graduation Coach for Indigenous students, Family Support Worker for Indigenous families, Cultural Teacher, and Curriculum Consultant for Indigenous Education.


We Listen:

We Act:

Indigenous Scholarships

Value: $2,000

St. Mary’s University, in memory of George Elliott, awards this scholarship to a continuing First Nation, Métis, or Inuit (FNMI) student. The scholarship is automatically awarded to an FNMI student with the highest GPA in the previous academic year. To be eligible for this award, students must register for a continuing year at St. Mary’s University. No application is required.

Value: $4,000 (5)

These awards were established by the Alberta Government to support Indigenous Albertans (First Nations, Métis and Inuit) in their pursuit of post-secondary studies in bachelor’s degree programs in Alberta. To be eligible a student must be Status Indian/First Nations, Non-Status Indian/First Nations, Métis or Inuit and be able to provide a copy of proof of Indigenous ancestry; registered in at least 60% of a full course load (40% of a full course load if a student with a documented permanent disability); a Canadian citizen or permanent resident; a resident of Alberta; and in satisfactory academic standing in the previous academic year.

St. Mary’s University’s Indigenous Logo

St Mary’s University recognizes, respects and celebrates the unique history and cultures of all of the First Nations, Métis and Inuit people. The land on which the university sits is traditional Blackfoot territory. We strive to support all Indigenous students through community partnerships, celebrations of rich heritage and cultural practices and the provision of an inclusive learning environment.

The logo was developed by Kristy North Peigan, a young artist from the Piikani First Nation. The Indigenous logo Kristy North Peigan created for St. Mary’s University is based on the native concept of a Winter Count — the stretched buffalo hide with the pictographic telling of historical events. This logo is the story of St. Mary’s University and the partnership it is crafting with First Nations, Métis, and Inuit peoples. Its elements include:

  • Buffalo hide is referencing the hide that is being gifted to StMU
  • Deer and buffalo are pulled from StMU’s Coat of Arms as well as the game that sustained life for the Blackfoot people
  • Triangular shape is symbolic of tipis and the establishment of a camp for the Treaty 7 peoples
  • The green triangles represent the mountain landscape to the west as seen on the Coat of Arms and also is symbolic of a painted tipi to show what regional area the owner is from
  • The Métis symbol (infinity) and the polar bear paw print represent the welcoming of Métis and Inuit students and cultural knowledge for StMU
  • Red and white circles are beading accents and decorative element
  • The feathers are culturally sacred and the five feathers represent the five nations of Treaty 7