Inside the Allan Wachowich Centre for Science, Research, and Innovation – the IKRCPosted on: Nov 13, 2018
The Indigenous Knowledge and Research Centre (IKRC)
Concordia University of Edmonton acknowledges we are located on Treaty 6 territory, and respects the many histories, languages and cultures of Indigenous peoples of Canada which continue to enrich our vibrant community.
As a post-secondary institution and prominent community member, Concordia University of Edmonton understands our responsibility and is committed to responding to the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada’s Calls to Action. Through our Indigenous Strategy we were able to identify gaps in services to Indigenous students as well as inclusion of Indigenous perspectives, processes and experiences into our curriculum and campus life. To begin this journey, CUE has taken steps to better support our learning as an institution and our students by launching the Indigenous Knowledge and Research Centre (IKRC) on September 21, 2018. The mandate of this Centre is to provide a welcoming gathering place for Indigenous students, an ethical space for Indigenous education and research as well as a place for Indigenous communities and groups to share, gather and participate in our school community.
The Centre, managed by Danielle Powder and guided by our Elders Counsel, is located on the main floor of the Allan Wachowich Centre for Science, Research, and Innovation. It was created intentionally to be a bright, open space which overlooks the river, a significant place for Indigenous peoples in this territory, and has a feeling of connectedness to the land.
Since its Grand Opening, it has quickly become a welcoming and inclusive area for CUE students and other members of the community. The IKRC hosts weekly sharing circles, provides access to medicines (eg. Sweetgrass, sage, tobacco, etc.), offers opportunities to participate in cultural activities and ceremonies as well as facilitates Indigenous learning sessions by Knowledge Keepers, community members and researchers. The space is flexible and can be arranged in a variety of ways to accommodate the changing needs to each student, group or audience. The IKRC is equipped for smudging and other ceremonies as the space is ventilated and can be controlled locally and has access to areas outside such as the fire pit and a medicine garden which will be planted in the spring of 2019. The IKRC also supports CUE’s Indigenous Student Council by providing gathering space and collaborating on Indigenous initiatives that enrich our school community and learning.
The proximity to the Centre for Innovation and Applied Research just next door, and state-of-the-art biology and chemistry labs downstairs, will allow students to engage in research collaborations with key industry and community partners. We will be able to build upon our initiatives and programs of education, research, outreach and engagement with an Indigenous focus.
CUE continues to build and deepen relationships with Indigenous communities, and is proud to announce our new relationship (MoU) with Cold Lake First Nation (CLFN) which will be celebrated in December. We are also very honoured to be partnering with the Metis Nation of Alberta and the Rupertsland Institute. On September 14, the Metis Nation of Alberta and the Rupertsland Institute announced a significant gift to support Metis student success at CUE with the establishment of a $500,000 endowment fund.
“One thing that I really want to achieve here is a meaningful and rich Indigenous element to Concordia that is infused throughout our programming and throughout our institution” said Concordia president Tim Loreman in an interview with CBC in 2017. We believe that the IKRC will achieve this goal.
Please come and visit the IKRC. If you are unable to visit, you can keep an eye out for our monthly soup and bannock (among other activities) through our bulletin board, Facebook page, student newsletter or ask to join IKRC’s mailing list. For more information please contact Danielle Powder at Danielle.Powder@concordia.ab.ca.