Nov. 22, 2023

UCalgary's Journey Update reinforces commitment to ‘becoming good relatives’

Join UCalgary Nov. 28 to celebrate progress, foster relationships, and advance truth and reconciliation through education
The words "Becoming Relatives 2023 Journey Update" in bold font super imposed on a brown fur background. A cultural symbol fill the right side and depicts several people together in a circle. The top left and bottowm right corner of the image feature red and yellow ribbons of colour, respectively.
The concept of ‘becoming relatives’ is depicted in the 2023 Journey Update report through a group of people coming together in a circle.

Awareness, education and understanding are the guiding principles of the University of Calgary’s Indigenous Strategy, ii’ taa’poh’to’p. On Nov. 28, the Office of Indigenous Engagement will host the Annual Journey Update event to celebrate and renew UCalgary’s commitment to truth and reconciliation through education. This year’s Journey Update will focus on the theme of Becoming Relatives and will mark six years since the strategy’s launch.

Since 2017, ii’ taa’poh’to’p has guided UCalgary on its parallel path toward transformative reconciliation by acknowledging our responsibility to address truth through teaching and learning, encourage reconciliation through innovative research, and inspire change through Indigenous ways of knowing, doing, connecting and being.

The university aims to foster authentic relationships with Indigenous communities built on a foundation of kindness for all our relations and a teaching, learning, and research environment that supports a culturally safe space for Indigenous knowledges to be shared, imparted and co-created.

Creating an ethical space for Indigenous peoples and knowledge systems hinges on Indigenous and non-Indigenous peoples becoming relatives through mutual understanding, compassion, and respect.

The concept of ‘becoming relatives’ is depicted in the 2023 Journey Update report through a group of people coming together in a circle. The same cultural symbol can be seen on the university’s buffalo robe winter count and reflects the primary objective of the Indigenous Strategy.

“Indigenous and non-Indigenous systems are very different, but ultimately, we often have the same goals,” says Dr. Reg Crowshoe, Hon. LLD’01, a Piikani Elder and cultural adviser.

“This circle is an ethical space where we can better understand each other and take care not to impose one knowledge system over another,” he says. “We are learning and growing together as friends; we are becoming relatives.”

The 2023 Indigenous Strategy Journey Update report will be released one day before the event and will chronicle the university’s successes in promoting transformation and renewal as well as establishing the following year’s goals. These goals are guided by the university’s visionary circles, which consist of Ways of Doing, Ways of Knowing, Ways of Being, and Ways of Connecting. Some highlights for this year include:

  • Increased Indigenous student enrolment
  • Indigenization of spaces and places for learning and knowledge exchange
  • Innovative research excellence in Indigenous-focused projects, community partnerships, and grants
  • Innovative practices in teaching and learning
  • Increased support and access for Indigenous learners  

The success of the Indigenous Strategy continues to fuel UCalgary’s ongoing commitment and progress toward transformative reconciliation, says Dr. Shawna Cunningham, acting vice-provost (Indigenous engagement).

“This year's Journey Update is a testament to the significant strides we have made in truth and reconciliation and underscores our commitment to becoming relatives through innovative programs, partnerships and learning opportunities. Our journey is focused on creating a teaching, learning, and research environment that promotes a deeper understanding of our lived experience and ensures a safe space for Indigenous knowledge systems to thrive” says Cunningham.

“Our community's engagement and support have been instrumental in this journey and we look forward to nurturing those relationships as we continue to elevate and support Indigenous perspectives.”

The event will include four stories offered by UCalgary staff and faculty in support of the strategy’s visionary circles. Journey highlights from the past year will also be provided along with a keynote address on Ethical Relationality as Kinship Wisdom from Dr. Dwayne Donald, PhD, a professor from the University of Alberta. UCalgary President Ed McCauley will lead introductions and discussions.

Join UCalgary on Nov. 28 to celebrate the university’s progress through ii’ taa’poh’to’p and create momentum as we embrace our shared journey toward truth and reconciliation.

Event details

Date: Nov. 28
Time: 12 – 1:30 p.m.
Location: (in-person) Forum, Taylor Institute for Teaching and Learning (TI-160)

Register for this event

Dr. Dwayne Donald

Courtesy Dwayne Donald

Keynote speaker

Dr. Dwayne Donald, BEd’92, PhD, was born and raised in Edmonton and is a descendant of amiskwaciwiyiniwak (Beaver Hills Cree), Métis and Norwegian ancestors. He works as a professor in the Faculty of Education at the University of Alberta. He is also a Tier 1 Canada Research Chair in Reimagining Teacher Education with Indigenous Wisdom Traditions. His work focuses on ways in which Indigenous wisdom traditions can expand and enhance understandings of curriculum and pedagogy.

The University of Calgary’s Indigenous Strategy, ii’ taa’poh’to’p, 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. 

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