University of Calgary

Banquet and Powwow recognizes Aboriginal graduates

UToday HomeJune 18, 2013

By Melissa Lackey

Hon. Reg Crowshoe leads the honour song for the staff.Hon. Reg Crowshoe leads the honour song for the staff.On June 8, the University of Calgary celebrated the achievements of 93 self-identified Aboriginal graduates during the Native Centre’s Aboriginal Graduation Banquet and Powwow.

Highlights of the evening, themed Our Legacy, Our Future to show how ancestral legacy helped carve the path for the pursuit of higher learning, were plentiful.

Student awards

Darlene Marchuk was presented with the Dr. Olive Dickason Award, which recognizes students who overcome extreme adversity and life challenges while achieving success. Tom Horvath (ConocoPhillips Canada) was the presenter. Marchuk’s inspiring story continues this fall, as she pursues her master’s degree in social work.

Gaylene Weasel Child was recognized for her academic achievement and volunteer work in Aboriginal student and community events through the RBC Foundation’s Royal Eagle Award.

Métis sash presentation

Métis sashes were presented to seven graduating students. Joe Pimlott (Métis Nation of Alberta, Region III) and Jacquie Gesyler (Rupertsland Institute) presented the sashes.

Community awards

Alumna Vanessa Shelley received the Douglas Cardinal Award for outstanding professional achievement and community contributions. Shelley works for Alberta Health Services and is a role model and mentor for Aboriginal youth.

Brian Sinclair from the Faculty of Environmental Design was presented with the Honorable Rev. Chief John Snow Sr. Award for his work engaging with Aboriginal people on architecture and design.

Alumni Shane Cunningham received The Honorable Joseph Crowshoe Award from his mentor, the Honorable Reggie Crowshoe. Cunningham was nominated by the Native Ambassador Post-Secondary Initiative team for his efforts to enhance the lives of Aboriginal students.

Carole Tucker’s outstanding contributions to the Native Centre and the university community were recognized with The Honorable Ralph Steinhauer Award. Tucker worked with Aboriginal students as an advisor for over six years, helping students plan and achieve their academic success.

Graduation Powwow and Circle of Honour

A traditional Powwow concluded the evening. After the Grand Entry, graduates participated in a special gifting ceremony and received an eagle feather presented by a member of the Aboriginal community and a Pendleton blanket presented by a university representative. During the powwow, 82 adults, 78 youth and 35 tiny tot dancers participated, and 11 drum groups were present, representing the nations within Treaty 7.

Sponsors and volunteers

The event would not be possible without the support of volunteers and sponsors.

Gold sponsors: Cenovus Energy Inc., ConocoPhillips Canada, Nexen Canada, Suncor Energy Foundation, and TD Financial Group.

Silver sponsors: Canadian Pacific, Encana Natural Gas, and Pembina Pipeline Corporation

Bronze sponsors: Access Pipeline Inc., ATCO Group, Big Eagle Services, Devon Energy Corporation, Enbridge Inc., Husky Energy Inc., and RBC Foundation