Traditional Blackfoot naming ceremony a highlight of Homecoming Weekend

The University of Lethbridge is excited to welcome everyone to a special Homecoming Weekend this year, Sept. 1-3, 2017, as it celebrates its 50th anniversary.

Proud to be located in Treaty 7, the heart of traditional Blackfoot Territory, the University will see five outstanding members of its community, including four alumni, participate in a decades-long custom. Chancellor Janice Varzari (BN ’90, MEd ’02), Board of Governors Chair Kurt Schlachter (BSc ’00), longest-serving faculty member Dr. Dennis Connolly (LLD '17), Chancellor Emeritus Dr. Van Christou (LLD '84) and Provost & Vice-President (Academic) Dr. Andy Hakin will each be honoured with a Blackfoot name as they take part in a traditional naming ceremony.

“Our relationship with the Blackfoot people extends to the very beginning of the U of L and is one that figures prominently in everything we do here at the University,” says Dr. Mike Mahon, President and Vice-Chancellor.

Mahon was bestowed the Blackfoot name Iipisowahsi or Morning Star, meaning son of the sun and the moon, when he was inducted into the Kainai Chieftainship in 2012.

“That was a very significant ceremony for me, and I’m sure the distinguished group of individuals who will be granted their Blackfoot names this weekend see it as a great honour,” adds Mahon. “Blackfoot Elder Dr. Pete Standing Alone gave me my name, saying that the sun is the father and the moon is the mother. Therefore, when they are praying, they often refer to the morning star as their brother. That is very symbolic and reflects the relationship we want to continue to foster with the Blackfoot people.”

The naming ceremony (Saturday, Sept. 2, 12:30 to 2 p.m. in the Grove) is just one of a number of Homecoming activities. With three days of free events ranging from behind-the-scenes tours, hands-on workshops, fascinating speakers, live music, an open-air community fair and more, those returning to the University as well as newcomers will find plenty to do.

For a full list of Homecoming events, visit: