Indigenous Initiatives at St. Mary’s University

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 also home to Métis Nation of Alberta, Region 3.

Vision and Mission

Create space for Indigenous ways of knowing and provide foundational understandings of the history of colonization that we can imagine a way forward toward reconciliation together.

Our responsibility and commitment is to humbly invite and learn from the generous Elders and Knowledge-Keepers who have been leading our path of Indigenous Inclusion and addressing the colonial legacy in the Academy. We take to heart Justice Murray Sinclair’s words:

It is precisely because education was the primary tool of oppression of Aboriginal people, and miseducation of all Canadians, that we have concluded that education holds the key to reconciliation.

  • To our Indigenous Advisory Council which provides advice and assistance to Indigenous strategies and activities, assists and supports Indigenous programming, and helps to ensure that the program continues to meet the needs of students and community
  • To our Elders Guidance Circle who gather around us to provide their individual and collective wisdom and guidance on our path towards reconciling the ongoing colonial legacy of education in Canada
  • To our Elders on Campus when we regularly welcome Elders and Knowledge-Keepers on campus to provide rich discussion and story-telling, cultural teachings and ceremony to all of the StMU community to learn more about Indigenous Ways of Knowing
  • Through our Truth and Reconciliation Working Group led by Elder Grandmother Doreen Spence. This group brings together Indigenous and non-Indigenous students, faculty and staff to learn how to create ethical space (Ermine, 2007) so that we can envision and journey forward together in a good way. This helps to inform our Indigenous Strategic Plan
  • Through offering academic mentoring and guidance in a culturally safe and relevant manner to self-identified Indigenous learners
  • Through student support and engagement with Elders, Traditional Knowledge-Keepers and mentors who engage and nurture Indigenous learners on campus to help them achieve their own story of success
  • Through offering Indigenous Studies courses INST 201: Introduction to Indigenous Studies, and INST 301: Indigenous Studies Field Course
  • Through our Continuing Education Series, Indigenous Voices, to host Indigenous Elders, Knowledge-Keepers and Scholars 4 times per year to center Indigenous Voices and Ways of Knowing in the academy