Gatherings and Ceremonies

The Aboriginal Student Services Centre (ASSC) helps the University of Alberta provide an environment that encourages full access, participation and success for Aboriginal students; this is inclusive of participation in First Nation, Metis or Inuit ceremonies.

We host a diversity of events including weekly visits with Elders, Honoring Ceremony at Convocation, cultural teach-ins, traditional dance performances, mini round dances, and the U of A’s annual Round Dance.

Convocation Honouring Ceremony

In the spring of 1996, Chancellor Lou Hyndman agreed to Aboriginal Students Services Centre’s request to have an Elder on stage during convocation to recognize and honor each First Nation, Metis and Inuit graduate, along with the opportunity to wear traditional regalia when they cross the stage. 

Information for graduates

On behalf of Aboriginal Students Services Centre and the wider First Nation, Metis and Inuit community on campus we would like to congratulate all First Nation, Métis and Inuit students on their academic accomplishments; it is always wonderful to see so many of our students graduate every Spring and Fall! We want to acknowledge the dedication and accomplishments of our students by offering each Aboriginal graduating student to be part of an Honouring Ceremony.

In preparation of the Honoring Ceremony for our First Nations, Metis and Inuit graduates, we would like for each of our graduates to come into the ASSC (2-400 SUB) or to contact Lisa at to complete the required Aboriginal Convocation Honoring Ceremony Form. 

The deadline for submission for Spring 2016 Convocation is Friday, April 29, 2016.

If this is your first time being honored by an Elder we recommend you to schedule a visit with an Elder at ASSC by contacting Lisa at to book a scheduled time. If you would prefer to meet with your own Elder, please feel free to do which ever you feel comfortable as this is your honoring.

If we do not hear back from you by the designated deadline, unfortunately you will not be presented with an honouring on stage during Convocation as there is extensive preparation that has to be completed prior to Convocation. If you are unable to attend Convocation and still would like to be honored, please contact ASSC and we can work out an alternative date and time to receive your honouring.

Aboriginal Student Services Spring Gathering

Aboriginal Student Services hosts an annual Spring Gathering event that honors our First Nation, Metis and Inuit graduates! This is a time where grads can bring out family and friends to feast and celebrate! 

The next gathering will be held Friday, June 17, 2016. 

Please contact us for more details and learn more about the 2015 Spring Gathering

Round Dance

The Round Dance ceremony illustrates the Cree philosophy of death and its relationship between us and Spirits. The Northern Lights are said to be our relations that have passed on. The Elders say that the people that have passed on come to dance with us at the Round Dance; in that respect our relatives are always here with us. In this dance people move like the Northern Lights, in an up and down motion as they dance around the drum. We join hands in a circle and dance clockwise with the drum and singers sitting in the middle. The beat of the drum is like the heartbeat of the community and all members move as one. The Round Dance was a healing ceremony that became a social dance for our people and a dance that is held in the winter season. From the first tuning of the hand drums (by way of fire), to the fun of meeting old friends and making new, a Round Dance is for everyone, children, friends, families, youth and Elders. This is a time to swap stories, catch up on the latest news, break bannock, and share some tea. And even better, to hear both the old and new songs sung by your favorite singers. It's a time to honor traditions and memories of our ancestors dancing around their starry campfires, flickering against the dark blanket of the night sky.

The next Annual Round Dance will be held Saturday, January 28, 2017.