Skip to main content
Bow Valley College

Bow Valley College

Calgary's Bow Valley College has taken innovative steps to support the success of its nearly 400 Indigenous students.

Elder program supports Aboriginal students

Since 2007, with a total of $125,000 in funding from the Imperial Oil Foundation, the College’s Iniikokaan Indigenous Centre offers the services of three Cultural Resource Elders who act as academic guides and spiritual advisors for the students.

The Iniikokaan Aboriginal Centre at BVC is a special, welcoming, sacred place I come to smudge, talk to Elders and staff for guidance. I am blessed and grateful to have such strong support in pursuit of my dreams. Msit No’kmaq (all my relations).

Karen MacKay, Mi’kmaq First Nations, Aboriginal Addictions Services Counseling Certificate Program student at Bow Valley College

Elders lead weekly learning circles where Indigenous students share about challenges and learn about Indigenous ways of knowing. The Elders also lead smudging ceremonies, and many students now say this morning ritual connects them to their culture and clears their mind for learning and dealing with life’s challenges.

With strong connections to their culture and each other, learners and alumni face new experiences with confidence, knowing they have guidance and support from a trustworthy source.