Indigenous Graduation Celebration
It's time to celebrate!
The Indigenous Graduation Celebration is an annual event in which Writing Symbols Lodge invites Indigenous graduates from the University of Calgary to celebrate their achievements alongside their family, friends, Elders and community. This event is held in addition to the convocation ceremonies that all UCalgary grads can attend upon completing their degrees.
Indigenous graduates are honoured at the celebration with a gifting ceremony to commemorate this exciting achievement. The event also includes Métis fiddlers and performers.
When: Saturday, June 3, 2023 from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.
Where: Green Space 18 (behind the Cenovus Spo'pi Solar House)
- Faculty of Arts
- Haskayne School of Business
- School of Architecture, Planning and Landscape
- Werklund School of Education
- Cumming School of Medicine
- Faculty of Kinesiology
- Faculty of Law
- Faculty of Nursing
- Faculty of Science
- Faculty of Social Work
- Faculty of Veterinary Medicine
- School of Public Policy
- Schulich School of Engineering
Activities for the public
3:30 – 5 p.m.
After the graduation celebration for students and their guests, members of the public are invited to stop by and participate in a Round Dance! All are welcome to attend and join in. A giveaway will be offered to guests.
Honouring Indigenous graduates
An important element of the Indigenous Graduation Celebration is the gifting ceremony, which is presided over by multiple Elders. It's a special way of honouring UCalgary's Indigenous students who have completed their studies and received their degrees. Traditional gifts for the ceremony include blankets and hand-beaded medallions, with the addition of sashes for Métis graduates and eagle feathers for PhD graduates. These gifts are blessed by the Elders before being presented to the graduates.
During the ceremony, graduates are individually called to stand before their peers, loved ones and community, and are presented with ceremonial gifts by the Elders in attendance. As this is a ceremonial honouring, graduates must be present in order to receive the traditional gifts.
To participate, graduates must have been approved to graduate from a UCalgary program from in the most recent November or February convocation ceremonies, or the current year’s June convocation.
Ramsey Kunkel Photography
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 email@example.com.
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 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.
Indigenous students who have graduated in the previous fall/winter or expect to graduate this spring are eligible to apply for the Dr. Olive Dickason Award and the Royal Eagle Award, funded by the Writing Symbols Lodge and various donors.
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!
Applications for these awards open May 8 and close May 26, 2023.
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 $1,000 provided by Brent and Hugh Alexander.
The Royal Eagle Award is sponsored and presented by Writing Symbols Lodge 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.