Indigenous Initiatives

The Sweetgrass Bear, a sculpture by Indigenous artist Steven Steinhauer


The Indigenous Initiatives Office is working collaboratively with stakeholders inside the University and within the broader community to ensure Indigenous initiatives support the the strategic direction of the University and enhance relationships and opportunities for collaboration. A number of initiatives, such as the following, have taken place or are underway.

Territorial Acknowledgement 

Three options for Territorial Acknowledgements were developed through an internal consultation process at the University of Alberta for use in written publications including the institutional strategic plan, For the Public Good, as well as Convocation Programs. This is recognized as only a small first step and that there is more work to be done regarding territorial acknowledgement. With permission from the author (a new hire and graduate student we are proud to have here at the University of Alberta) Chelsea Vowel, we encourage those interested in learning more about the context for territorial acknowledgements to check out this blog post from September 2016: Beyond Territorial Acknowledgements

Sweetgrass Bear

The University of Alberta was honoured to acquire The Sweetgrass Bear, a sculpture by Indigenous artist Steven Steinhauer. The sculpture acknowledges the University’s location on Treaty 6 territory and is part of our efforts to work toward respectful, meaningful reconciliation with Indigenous peoples. The Sweetgrass Bear stands at the south end of Quad, in front of the Administration Building. 

Annual Indigenous Networking Event

The goal of the Annual Indigenous Networking Event is to increase awareness of Indigenous Initiatives across the University. This event is an opportunity to make connections between existing projects, consult on ideas for new initiatives, and to learn what’s already going on.  

2nd Annual Forum on Reconciliation - Learning to ‘Walk the Talk’

The University of Alberta was honoured to host the 2nd Annual "Building Reconciliation Forum: Universities Responding to the TRC's Calls to Action"—a two-day leadership forum for Canadian university presidents and their leadership teams, First Nations, Métis and Inuit leaders, student leaders, Indigenous scholars, and scholars dedicated to research that is meaningful to Indigenous peoples. The 2nd Annual Building Reconciliation Forum was held at the University of Alberta, North Campus from September 28-29th, 2016. Information from the forum including the full video proceedings can be found here.

Indigenous Cultural Support Office

The Indigenous Cultural Support Office located at 2-29 South Academic Building (SAB) is available to assist faculties, departments and units in the inclusion and engagement of Indigenous peoples and knowledge, including advising on cultural protocols and providing a connection to Elders and knowledge experts to support University of Alberta events and programs. The Indigenous Cultural Support Office can be reached at 780-492-4671.

Councils and Working Groups

The Council on Aboriginal Initiatives is a long-standing committee co-chaired by the Chancellor and Provost, and has diverse representation from academic/non-academic staff, community members and service providers who promote and support Indigenous education programs, services and initiatives at the University of Alberta.

Other councils in development include the Indigenous Colleagues Council, and Elders/Knowledge Keepers Resource Council.

Working groups underway are exploring Research and Knowledge Translation, Indigenous Content Development, and Indigenous Governance.


Indigenous Hub

This site was developed as part of an inventory of existing Aboriginal initiatives that was undertaken by the Office of the Provost and Vice-President (Academic) in 2015. This site provides an index of all of the existing Indigenous/Aboriginal programs, services and initiatives across the University of Alberta and can be found here