Imagining a good future through Braiding Past, Present and Future: The University of Alberta Indigenous Strategic Plan

With the launch of the Indigenous Strategic Plan on June 24, 2022, we invite you to join the work that is necessary to achieve the vision outlined in the plan.


“And so we are humans – of the earth. Ojibway teachings say that all of us, we human family as expressed in the word … come from the Earth. We emerge onto the breast of her as spiritual energy embarking on a journey to find the highest possible expression of ourselves. Our truth. With humility as our guide, the journey is less a trek than a perambulation toward the recognition of ourselves as Sacred. We are part of everything. We are part of Creation. Creation is a sacred flow of energy and we are part of that. To know yourself as a sacred part of Creation is to carry Humility.” 

One Drum: Stories and Ceremonies for a Planet, the late Richard Wagamese, 2019, p. 64.

On Friday, June 24, 2022 the University of Alberta community will celebrate the launch of Braiding Past, Present and Future: the University of Alberta’s Indigenous Strategic Plan. The Indigenous-led plan is the university’s first formally endorsed plan with goals and strategies outlined across the institutional mandate in teaching, learning, research and community engagement. We start this invitation with a quote from the late Richard Wagamese that reminds us that we are all humans of the earth.

As a member of the University of Alberta community and as a human of the earth who lives and works, or studies, in this place now called Canada, we invite each of you to find yourself in this plan. We invite you to join the work that is necessary for our community to achieve the vision outlined in the plan and to share in the hope for what might be as we journey together. 

We have been moved by the many conversations we have had in developing this plan and in planning for the launch. So many have expressed their sense of responsibility for getting this work right. 

In honour of those responsibilities, Indigenous Peoples in the U of A community will be preparing for the launch of the plan in ceremony. Ceremony invites us to honour our ancestors, to call upon their strength and to look to each other, engaging in the work of the present and carrying the hopes for the future forward for those yet to come. Ceremony helps us focus the energy of our good intentions and walk those intentions in a Good Way. 

As part of the university community, we invite you to lend your collective energy to this intentionality in any way you see fit. Together, we can imagine what a good future might look like if we carry out our vision well for “all humans of this earth” as Wagamese describes.

We know that the efforts, formed by the collective prayers and actions of Indigenous Peoples and allies over the years, have led us to where we, the University of Alberta, are today and our hearts are in a good place. We are grateful for the changes we have lived long enough to see as we learn truths about our collective histories and more about each other. 

Just a short time ago, the changes we now see taking place in education, the law, human rights and even in the assertion by Indigenous peoples the right to self-determine would have been hard to believe. As the resurgence of Indigenous peoples strengthens, each of us are often reminded of hope in the phrase, “I am my ancestors wildest dreams” or “I am who the ancestors prayed for.”  

There is still so much work to be done. 

We invite you to hope and to participate in the Indigenous Strategic Plan and in all of the work that seeks our highest possible expression. This truth seeking, this imagining the impossible, is at the heart of what a university is. We invite you to play your part in realizing the fruition of the vision in the plan as a starting point in a long and critical journey that will take generations to achieve.

Together, we are leading with purpose. 

Dallas Cardinal
Project Co-ordinator, Supporting Indigenous Languages Revitalization, Office of the Vice-Provost, Indigenous Programming and Research

Shana Dion
Assistant Dean, First Nations, Metis and Inuit Students, Student Services, Dean of Students

Florence Glanfield
Vice-Provost, Indigenous Programming and Research; Professor, Faculty of Education

Pamela McCoy Jones
Executive Director, Supporting Indigenous Languages Revitalization, Office of the Vice-Provost, Indigenous Programming and Research

Nella Sajlovic
Indigenous Strategies Manager, Office of the Vice-Provost, Indigenous Programming and Research

Jade Tootoosis
Program Co-ordinator, Faculty of Native Studies