Indigenous Gathering Place is one step closer to becoming a reality

New Council motion will advance the development of an Indigenous gathering space in the City of Calgary

31 January 2022

“A space where we share, connect, heal, renew and celebrate Indigenous cultures. A place to protect Indigenous practices, languages; and Elders’ wisdom, oral and written teachings among all nations and all our relations,” is the vision for an Indigenous Gathering Place (IGP) in Calgary. And after years of commitment and work, an Indigenous Gathering Place in Calgary is one step closer to becoming a reality.

On January 25, a notice of motion was submitted to Calgary City Council that, if passed, would arrange for the transfer of a land title to the Indigenous Gathering Place Society of Calgary to eventually build a gathering place.

The IGP will be a unique space where Indigenous peoples can reconnect with traditions, practices and protocols, and while an exact location hasn’t been determined, the confluence of the Elbow and Bow rivers, a traditional meeting spot for First Nations, was identified as the appropriate place through engagement with Indigenous community members, including 50 Elders.

Did you know Calgary has the 5th largest urban Indigenous population in Canada?

“The IGP has the potential to heal and strengthen the spirit and overall sense of cultural pride of Indigenous peoples. It can also be a refuge for those like me who live far from their home Nations. It would be a place where people can take part in traditional ceremonies and seek counsel from Elders,” explained Lee Stevens, policy and research specialist at VCC, who was involved with the Society in its early days.

The need and desire for an Indigenous Gathering Place has existed for decades. "Through grass-roots initiatives of passionate like-minded peoples devoted to the cause, momentum and support has culminated to a vital stage of the process: land acquisition—a place to call home. It’s early days and while the actual programming and design of the building will require ongoing engagement opportunities, this exciting next step is indicative of the future for all Calgarians in the advancement of reconciliation efforts," said Michelle Fournie, co-chair, Indigenous Gathering Place Society. Check out the timeline of the Indigenous Gathering Place.

“There are more than 500 places in Calgary devoted to cultures and spirituality, but not one is specifically intended for Indigenous peoples. The time is now. Let your City Councillor know that you support the Indigenous Gathering Place and ask your friends and family to do the same,” says Buddie Dixon, VCC’s Indigenous engagement facilitator and director on the IGPSC Board. “Together we can make this happen.”

Support the Indigenous Gathering Place

There are a number of ways you can support the initiative to get an Indigenous Gathering Place for the City of Calgary.