Michael Loft, former social work professor, speaks in front of the McGill arts building.

McGill Bicentennial

Celebrating Indigenous Resilience and Excellence

The Indigenous Initiatives unit is proud to be participating in McGill's Bicentennial celebrations. The unit has been working on a series of events, videos, and collaborations highlighting McGill's Indigenous community, and fostering partnerships with Indigenous communities beyond campus. With this programming we are committed to celebrating Indigenous resilience and excellence: past, present and future. 

Projects and Events

Land Acknowledgement Video

Indigenous Initiatives produced a land acknowledgement video during McGill's Bicentennial. The video features a performance by Shakorennawis Doxtador-Swamp. 

Hiawatha Wampum Belt Flag Raising

“These are important steps but we know they are not the last steps. They are continuing steps toward our journey together for reconciliation."

-Principal Suzanne Fortier

In honour of National Indigenous Peoples Day on June 21st, McGill University held a virtual flag raising ceremony of the Hiawatha Wampum Belt flag above the McCall MacBain Arts Building. A photo of the Hiawatha Wampum Belt flag, a dark blue flag with a white pattern, flying from the top of the Arts building at McGill

For centuries, the Hiawatha Wampum Belt flag has symbolized unity and peace between the Seneca, Cayuga, Onondaga, Oneida, and Kanien'kehá:ka nations. Inaugurated at McGill in 2018, this ceremony responds to one of the Calls to Action put forward by the Provost’s Task Force on Indigenous Studies and Indigenous Education in recognition of the importance of building respectful and reciprocal relations with Indigenous peoples.

The flag raising ceremony featured Kevin Deer and Michael Loft as speakers. Mr. Deer is a Faithkeeper with extensive experience in education, language revitalization, and spiritual revitalization. Mr. Loft is a social worker, researcher, and former professor whose work focuses on healing in First Nations communities. Mr. Deer and Mr. Loft are both members of the Kanien'kehá:ka community at Kahnawà:ke. 

Read more about the flag raising ceremony here

Watch the flag ceremony here: 

Gault Nature Reserve Partnership

"This is another step along the path to honouring the past and reconciling the future. A long road remains ahead of us, but we are committed to engaging and collaborating with Indigenous partners to identify, explore, and advance plans that benefit our whole society by embedding Indigenous traditions in the life and activities of the University".

-Provost Christopher Manfredi

McGill is excited to announce a new partnership between the university's Gault Nature Reserve and the Grand Conseil de la Nation Waban-Aki. The partnership agreement gives members of the Odanak and Wôlinak communities free access to the Gault Nature Reserve, and recognizes the reserve's cultural significance. 

Read the press release here.  

Watch the partnership announcement:

Beatrice Deer Performance

Beatrice Deer is an acclaimed Inuk/Mohawk singer and songwriter from Quaqtaq, Quebec. She performed three songs- "Immutaa", "My All to You", and "Takugiursugit"- as part of the Bicentennial celebrations. 

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