UCalgary Indigenous Teepee

Indigenous Graduation Celebration

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 fall 2021 and winter 2022 graduates to gather at the University of Calgary for gift giving and ceremony with their loved ones.

Date: Saturday, June 4, 2022

Session one: 10 a.m. – noon MT Faculty of Kinesiology, Faculty of Nursing, Haskayne School of Business, Schulich School of Engineering

Session two: 1 – 4 p.m. MT 

  • 1 p.m. Cumming School of Medicine, Faculty of Law, Faculty of Science, Faculty of Veterinary Medicine, School of Architecture, Planning and Landscape, School of Public Policy
  • 2 p.m. Faculty of Social Work
  • 3 p.m. Werklund School of Education

Location: Green Space 18 (behind the Cenovus Spo'pi Solar House)

Now accepting registrations from fall 2021 and February 2022. Please, check your email for the registration link. June 2022 registrations will be emailed after May 18, 2022.

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 writingsymbolslodge@ucalgary.ca.⁠


Arrival: Please arrive 15 minutes early to get settled.

Parking: Free parking will be available to all attendees in Lots 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 registration team 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 writingsymbolslodge@ucalgary.ca.

Safety: Masks are mandatory on all UCalgary campus buildings and recommended at the event.

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 Gifting ceremony is presided over by Indigenous Spiritual Leaders (Ceremonial Elders). It is our special way of honouring 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, February, or the June convocation ceremonies.

As the ceremony takes place, Grads will be called individually by faculty and will be presented with ceremonial gifts by the Spiritual leaders. As this is a ceremonial honouring, Graduates must be present in order to receive the traditional gifts. All Graduates will be presented with blankets and medallions, with the addition of sashes for Métis Graduates and Eagle Feathers for Ph.D. Graduates.

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 Métis Elders and Métis Nation of Alberta Representatives.

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

Pow-wow dancers during the Grand Entry

Chris Wedman

Louise Baptiste receiving the Dr. Olive Dickason Award from Dr. Michael Hart, Vice-Provost (Indigenous Engagement)

Louise Baptiste, 2019 recipient of the Dr. Olive Dickason Award

Student awards

Applications are now open for the Dr. Olive Dickason Award, presented by the Writing Symbols Lodge, as well as the Royal Eagle Award, presented by the RBC Foundation and the Writing Symbols Lodge. 

These awards are an opportunity for you to tell us about the great things you've accomplished. Whether it was overcoming a major obstacle or standing up to be a leader in your community, we want to honour and celebrate with you! 

The Dr. Olive Dickason award recognizes and honours the accomplishment of an Indigenous graduand who exercised resilience in overcoming adverse life events to achieve success and graduate from the University of Calgary. This tribute includes a financial award of $1000 provided by Brent and Hugh Alexander.

The Royal Eagle Award is sponsored and presented by the RBC Foundation to a graduating Indigenous undergraduate student at the University of Calgary. This tribute includes a financial award of $1,000 and recognizes academic excellence and community-based volunteerism or student leadership.