Oct. 11, 2018

Indigenous Strategy awards nearly $50,000 to community-led grant projects

First round of grant recipients begin building intercultural capacity on campus
Indigenous Strategy

ii’ taa’poh’to’p is the name of the university's Indigenous Strategy.

Over the past year, UCalgary launched ii’taa’poh’to’p our Indigenous Strategy, marking the beginning of our transformative journey toward truth and reconciliation with Indigenous peoples on campus and in our community.

Although establishing a campus environment where we fully engage with Indigenization is a commitment that takes time and dedication from many people, the launch of the Indigenous Strategy grants program in June 2018 demonstrated that our UCalgary community is ready to embrace the challenge with open arms.

Following the close of grant applications in July, nearly $50,000 was distributed to six projects led by a mix of students, faculty and staff. Projects tackle diverse topics, ranging from preserving Indigenous languages to training veterinarians on the cultural importance of animals to showcasing Indigenous music and art during Indigenous Awareness Week.

“I’m incredibly pleased with the work that has been done over the past year as we continue on our journey toward truth and reconciliation,” says Dr. Michael Hart, vice-provost (Indigenous engagement).

“The launch of the Indigenous Strategy grants program is an exciting step that empowers our university community to fully engage with Indigenous, cultures, knowledges and traditions on campus and off.” 

To be selected for funding, applicants had to show how their projects relate to the guiding principles and recommendations outlined in ii' taa'poh'to'p, with a particular focus on building intercultural capacity on campus.

Additionally, applications had to meet other criteria and were adjudicated by a group of Indigenous Strategy stakeholders. Both individuals and groups were welcome to apply, presenting opportunities for research teams, student clubs or just people to bring their ideas to life.

The ii' taa'poh'to'p grants were launched in response to the recommendation to engage in systemic transformation and intercultural capacity building across the campus community,” says Shawna Cunningham, director of the Indigenous Strategy.

“Indigenization through innovative programs that promote intercultural capacity is a responsibility of the institution as a whole and requires campus wide leadership, engagement, and innovation. We were looking for projects that have a positive impact on campus community and move us forward on our path towards reconciliation. We are thrilled with the response and the caliber of submissions this year, and look forward to seeing these projects unfold.”

Applications for the next cycle of grant funding will open in summer 2019.

2018 Indigenous Strategy funded grants

  • Indigenous Research Ethics Oversight Best Practices, led by Dr. John Ellard, PhD (academic staff)
  • Indigenous Engineer in Residence Program, led by Dr. Qiao Sun, PhD (academic staff)
  • Indigenous Awareness Week 2019 Closing Ceremony, led by the University of Calgary Indigenous Students’ Council (student)
  • Co-learning Around Animal Health, led by Catherine Wagg (academic staff)
  • Centering Community Directions: Building an Indigenous Health Strategy for the Cumming School of Medicine, led by Lynden Crowshoe (academic staff)
  • Connecting Siksika Students and Siksika Storytellers to Document and Preserve the Blackfoot Language, led by Elizabeth Ritter (academic staff)

ii’ taa’poh’to’p, the University of Calgary’s Indigenous Strategy, 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 will move towards genuine reconciliation and Indigenization.