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Introducing a soaring new identity for the Indigenous Student Centre – kihêwak kâpimihâcik: ‘Where the Eagles Fly’

Since the launch of the Indigenous Knowledge and Research Centre (IKRC) at Concordia University of Edmonton (CUE), we have collectively witnessed the evolution of the IKRC from innovation hub to gathering space to Indigenous student services centre. In the last five years, a growing number of Indigenous learners are choosing to study at CUE. We have identified a need for a space dedicated to Indigenous learners where they can access holistic support, be reminded of who they are, and belong to a community.

“We have grown and changed so much over the last few years… we really wanted to prioritize First Nation, Metis and Inuit students by having a dedicated space where they can reclaim all that has been lost through our shared colonial past. This is a place of healing, transformation, and connection… I have seen it. The new name speaks to our role as leaders and to walk with wisdom, love, respect, honesty, truth, courage, and humility,” says Danielle Powder, Manager of the centre. 

Earlier this week, with the guidance of our Elders Advisory Council (EAC), a naming ceremony was held to ask our collective ancestors for a name which embodies the spirit and identity of the space.

The EAC includes Wil Campbell, Theresa Cardinal and Francis Whiskeyjack who have served as spiritual guides and consultants for CUE since 2016. We also recognize the teachings, wisdom, and ceremony that the late Elder Pauline Paulson has brought to CUE during her time on the EAC from 2016-2021.  

Introducing kihêwak kâpimihâcik / Where Eagles Fly, CUE’s Indigenous Student Centre

The name kihêwak kâpimihâcik, loosely translated to “where eagles fly”, was not just chosen but gifted by ancestors.

During this historic ceremony, Elder Theresa shared a story that symbolizes resilience, purpose, love, and wisdom as demonstrated by the eagle. She also related it to the boundless potential that lies within each Indigenous student. Elder Wil offered teachings about the importance of education, culture, language, and ceremony for Indigenous students. He discussed how the younger generation will be called on to serve their communities and how essential it is to know who you are and where you come from.

“We cannot teach you anything … we can only remind you of what you already know” – Wil Campbell

CUE eagerly anticipates the next chapter in the journey of the kihêwak kâpimihâcik. With its newfound identity, the university has partnered with pipikwan pêhtâkwan, an Indigenous-owned public relations company, to craft a branding identity that truly embodies the essence of the centre’s name and spirit. This collaboration underlines the institution’s commitment to authenticity and respect for Indigenous cultures, ensuring that the centre’s vision and legacy will resonate deeply with all who engage with it.

Many staff members were eagerly waiting for the spiritual naming ceremony to begin.
Members of pipikwan pêhtâkwan joined us for the ceremony.