Indigenous Graduation

It's time to celebrate!

Writing Symbols Lodge invites our Indigenous graduates to celebrate their achievements alongside their family, friends and community. 

This year, we're inviting graduates from the Class of 2020 and the Class of 2021 to gather at the University of Calgary for gift-giving and ceremony with their loved ones.

Date: July 22 and 23
Time: 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. MDT (graduates must pick a one-hour time slot for their mini-Circle of Honour)
Location: Green Space 18 (behind the Cenovus Spo'pi Solar House)

Registration is now closed.


Arrival: Please aim to arrive approx. five minutes before your time slot to get settled. Each mini-ceremony will be set to a one-hour schedule that will include Elder remarks and blessings, UCalgary remarks, the Circle of Honour, gifting and traditional songs.

Parking: Free parking will be available to all attendees in Lots 11, 12 and 13. Volunteers will be at each lot entrance to provide parking codes.

Check-in: The event is located at Green Space 18 (behind the Cenovus Spo'pi Solar House). Students and guests must head to the UCalgary tipi first to check in and get organized for the ceremony.

Dress protocol: Participants are invited (but not expected) to wear traditional dress including ribbon skirts and shirts. Regalia is also welcome (keep in mind that you will be blanketed during the ceremony). All participants are asked to wear clothing that covers the shoulders and goes below the knees. These protocols are a guide for participants — additional questions can be emailed to

Safety: While not mandatory, masks are recommended to protect yourselves and your family

Photography: Please note that a photographer will be present at the event. The UCalgary tipi will be set up and props will also be available to students for photos with their guests!

The Circle of Honour is a special gifting ceremony, which is held during the Pow-wow. This ceremony is presided over by Indigenous Spiritual Leaders (Ceremonial Elders) and includes a special honouring of Indigenous students who have received a degree from the University of Calgary in an accredited program. To participate, graduates must have been approved to graduate in an accredited degree program from the University of Calgary in the previous November or the June convocation ceremonies.

When the ceremony is about to take place, Grads will be called into the circle and will be presented with ceremonial gifts by the Spiritual leaders. As this is a ceremonial honouring, Graduates must be present on the academic year (Fall or Spring convocation) of their graduation in order to receive the traditional gifts. If you participate in this ceremony, please ensure that you obtain documents from the Native Centre regarding proper care of the ceremonial gifts. These documents are available at the reception desk during the event as well.

The Giveaway allows Indigenous Graduates to thank the community for coming out to be a part of the Pow-wow and is an important part of the celebration. After the dances, graduates will be invited to pass out these gifts to Pow-wow attendees and guests.

The Métis sash is a traditional piece of clothing, created through a process called "finger weaving." We are grateful to offer our Métis graduates the opportunity to receive a sash presented by the Métis Nation of Alberta, Zone III. *Metis students must indicate on their registration form if they would like to receive a sash.

For more history of the Métis Sash or to learn about the six colours of the sash and their symbolic meanings, please visit

Pow-wow dancers during the Grand Entry

Chris Wedman

Student awards

Olive Dickason award ($1,000)

Two awards will be given to graduates from fall 2019/winter 2020 and fall 2020/winter 2021.

Applications are now closed.

Royal Eagle award ($1,000)

Two awards will be given to graduates from fall 2019/winter 2020 and fall 2020/winter 2021.

Applications are now closed.

Get involved

The Indigenous Graduation celebrations require the support of students, faculty members, staff and volunteers, as well as sponsors.

If you’re interested in volunteering your time leading up to or during the event, or if your company or organization would like to provide sponsorship, please email us at⁠