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Indigenous Initiatives

Our University’s Blackfoot name is Iniskim, meaning Sacred Buffalo Stone, and was gifted to us by Elder Bruce Wolf Child in 2002. The University of Lethbridge acknowledges and deeply appreciates the Siksikaitsitapii peoples’ connection to their traditional territory. We, as people living and benefiting from Blackfoot Confederacy traditional territory, honour the traditions of people who have cared for this land since time immemorial. We recognize the diverse population of Aboriginal peoples who attend the University of Lethbridge and the contributions these Aboriginal peoples have made in shaping and strengthening the University community in the past, present, and in the future.

Find University of Lethbridge Territorial Acknowledgement statements

In 1975, the University established one of Canada's first Departments of Native American Studies. Since then, our campuses have created programs and initiatives to support Blackfoot and all Indigenous peoples.

 

Report to the President

In the summer of 2011, President Mahon asked Roy Weasel Fat, Red Crow Community College Vice President Academic, and uLethbridge faculty members Drs. Leroy Little Bear (BASc (BA) '72, LLD '04)* and Jane O'Dea to create a strategy to support Indigenous students, faculty, staff and community members at the University.

After thorough collaboration with Indigenous communities, they submitted seven recommendations in the Report to the President: FNMI Centre.

On March 20, 2012, a Band Council Resolution from the Blood Tribe was established in support of a proposed Niitsitapi Gathering place.

In his Open Letter dated May 29, 2012, President Mahon has committed to upholding the historic prominence of Blackfoot and all Indigenous peoples at the University of Lethbridge:

"We will place greater focus on recruiting and retaining Blackfoot and other First Nations, Metis, and Inuit students, the fastest growing young adult population in Canada. However, enrolment is not the only reason to focus on this population. Creating opportunity and an inclusive campus environment for all students is simply the right thing to do."

Read the Report to the President

Read the Band Council Resolution

 

Iniskim Education Committee

In the spring of 2013, the University's General Faculties Counsel Iniskim Education Committee, established as a result of the Report to the President: FNMI Centre, held its first meeting. Their work includes creating the Blackfoot and First Nations Metis and Inuit Protocol Handbook.

Learn more about the Iniskim Education Committee

Go to the Blackfoot and FNMI Protocol Handbook

 

Memorandum of Understanding with Red Crow Community College

In June 2014, the University's of Governors and Red Crow Community College signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) to encourage deeper collaboration to benefit both institutions' students, faculty, staff and community.

Read the MOU

 

Iikaisskini (Low Horn) Gathering Place

On December 4, 2014, the University opened a new Indigenous gathering place as recommended in the Report to the President. Named for Dr. Leroy Little Bear (BASc (BA) '72, LLD '04)*, Special Advisor to the President and Professor Emeritus, Iikaisskini or "Low Horn" is a special place for the University of Lethbridge and a tie to Blackfoot and other Indigenous communities.

Learn more about Iikaisskini Gathering Place

 

Truth and Reconciliation

The Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) Summary and Final Reports calls on us all to contribute to reconciliation. Educational institutions in particular have a crucial role to play in developing and implementing “a process of truth and healing”[1] that explores the generational effects of residential schools, honours survivors’ resilience, and promotes reconciliation between Indigenous and non-Indigenous people. The University's Truth and Reconciliation Committee developed a set of initiatives in support of the TRC recommendations to be designed and undertaken in collaboration with a range of University and community representatives and partners.

Visit the TRC website

Read President Mike Mahon's TRC statement 

Watch TRC discussion with Dr. Leroy Little Bear

Watch TRC discussion with Dr. Wilton Littlechild, TRC Commissioner

 

EleV

EleV, a unique partnership between the Blackfoot Confederacy, the University of Lethbridge and the Mastercard Foundation, will enable Indigenous youth to achieve their goals and become leaders in their communities by: 

  • improving Indigenous student transition to post-secondary
  • maximizing student success
  • increasing work integrated learning opportunities and entrepreneurship supports
  • creating partnerships and programs leading to employment opportunities for Blackfoot youth
  • supporting Blackfoot Nations in realizing their economic development aspirations

Learn more about EleV

 

Academic programs and student supports

Faculty of Education: Graduate Studies & Research in Education

Faculty of Education: Combined Bachelor of Arts/Bachelor of Education major in Indigenous Education

Faculty of Fine Arts: Bachelor of Fine Arts major in Native American Art (Art History/Museum Studies)

Faculty of Fine Arts: Bachelor of Fine Arts major in Native American Art (Art Studio)

Dhillon School of Business: Indigenous student support

Dhillon School of Business: Bachelor of Management major in Indigenous Governance and Business Management

Faculty of Health Sciences: Bachelor of Health Sciences major in Aboriginal Health

Faculty of Arts and Science: Indigenous Student Success Cohort

Indigenous Students' Union

Indigenous Student Affairs

 

Alumni

Iniskim Indigenous Alumni Chapter

 

Language and library resources

Blackfoot Language Resources

Blackfoot Digital Library

 

*denotes uLethbridge alumni

[1] Honouring the Truth, Reconciling for the Future: Summary of the Final Report of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada, page 27.