Many personal accounts, historical data and credited reports have seen a central gathering place in an urban center foster healthy communities and cultural exchanges. In fact, Calgary is known for some of its central gathering places for citizens to meet. Current examples of these include community centers, plazas, churches, mosques, temples.
There is currently no central gathering place that serves Calgary’s Indigenous populations within the city, although Calgary resides on traditional territory and is home to many who identify as having Indigenous ancestry.
Indigenous populations are one of the fastest growing populations in Canada. There is an imminent need to provide a central gathering place for Indigenous Peoples’ current spiritual, emotional and otherwise wellbeing, in addition to those whom support and want to learn about such narratives and experiences. It is necessary for Calgary to have an inclusive approach and recognizing the unique traditions, practices and needs for Indigenous Peoples residing within the City and surrounding areas.
WHAT DOES THE IGP HAVE TO DO WITH RECONCILIATION?
In 2014, Chief Robert Joseph, through Reconciliation Canada facilitated a discussion and workshop in Calgary. Members of the community, corporations, non-profits, city representatives, and members of the public gathered to discuss the future of a reconciled Canada. With momentum and support, a community-driven initiative rooted in culturally appropriate spiritual guidance and tradition began, forming the concept of an Indigenous Gather Place and group of volunteers interested is seeing this vision through.
Today, the Government of Canada and Indigenous Peoples recognize that one group does not have domination over the other; and that if we are to live together we must have truth and reconciliation of the past recognizing Indigenous and Treaty rights; rights to self determination; and the rights to manifest, practice, develop, and teach spiritual and religious traditions.
We seek to create an ethical space bridging the gap between the traditional and western practices, recognizing both as equal partners; seeking to harmonize, evaluate and define a new process together. We see this as a relevant new direction toward a new future being forged in partnership instead of conflict.
WHERE CAN I LEARN MORE ABOUT THE INDIGENOUS GATHERING PLACE?
With a commitment to continually engage with Indigenous Elders, youth and interested citizens, the committee is dedicated to infusing an IGP with culturally-appropriate spiritual guidance and tradition. We will continue to engage and report back to the community. If you would like to support or be involved, please contact us.