kihciy askiy will provide a natural setting for the Indigenous community to host ceremonies, sweat lodges and facilitate intergenerational learning.
View from the tipi area to the Amphitheatre and pavillion buildings
View from the entrance to the pavilion building
View to the sweat lodge circle and the tipi area beyond
September 2021 Update - Ground Blessing Ceremony
Construction is set to begin shortly!
A ground blessing was held to thank and honour the relationship between all stakeholders on this project as well as to seek blessing from Mother Earth in allowing construction to take place.
The project team continues to monitor the budget as it relates to construction and material increases which the Construction Manager is reviewing and assessing for impacts.
Construction is expected to begin in fall 2021 after the ground blessing ceremony.
kihciy askiy (“Sacred Earth” in Cree) in Whitemud Park will provide a natural setting for Indigenous peoples and communities in the capital region to host spiritual ceremonies, sweat lodges, cultural camps and talking circles; grow medicinal herbs, and facilitate intergenerational learning in an appropriately designed outdoor learning space.
Construction is set to begin in late 2021, and will take approximately 18 - 24 months to be complete and in-service.
Initially, the proposed kihciy askiy cultural site will feature:
Circular area for 4 sweat lodges and a permanent ceremonial stone heating device with a water source
Circular area for tipis with permanent feast fire pit for ceremonies and small group workshops
Large tent gathering area for ceremonial feasts and cultural teachings
kihciy askiy pavilion with washrooms, locker rooms, gathering room and storage for ceremonial items
Fifty gravel parking stalls
Two gravel bus parking stalls
Six-metre wide gravel road with turnaround for emergency response vehicles, a permanent ceremonial stone heating device with water source and regrading/seeding of the grassed ceremonial area
Eventually construction will also include a storage building with a built-in amphitheatre as well as additional landscaping and additional walking paths.
On May 6 and 7, 2015, and again on October 28 and 29, 2018, Native Counselling Services of Alberta hosted Grand Council Gatherings for Indigenous Spiritual Leaders in the Capital Region at the Alfred H. Savage Centre.
Outcomes of the gatherings included:
Review and approval of the kihciy askiy concept design
An understanding of the protocols to be used for ceremony at kihciy askiy
An understanding of the ceremonial and spiritual needs of the Indigenous community in the Capital Region
Partnership with the Indigenous Knowledge and Wisdom Centre
The City has partnered with the Indigenous Knowledge and Wisdom Centre (IKWC), an Alberta-wide organization supporting First Nation education, on kihciy askiy. IKWC has been finalizing a governance and operation model, convening the kihciy askiy Elders Counsel, building relationships to support future programming and usage at kihciy askiy, and will operate kihciy askiy once open.
Counsel of Elders
In 2016, Native Counselling Services of Alberta created the Counsel of Elders to work with the Project Team during the design and construction of kihciy askiy. The Elders Counsel continues to meet to provide spiritual and cultural leadership for the project.
Howard Mustus (Chair)
Delnor Construction is selected as the construction manager for the project
A ground blessing ceremony is held on September 22
Construction is scheduled to begin in the fall
The City began working with the Indigenous Knowledge and Wisdom Centre (IKWC). With guidance from the kihciy askiy Counsel of Elders, IKWC will undertake the work of completing the governance and operation model and engaging with community partners.
Development of an operations plan and partner and community engagement continues.
City Council approved the release of $700,000 in additional capital funding required for construction.
2018 and 2019
With direction from Council, the project team worked with community partners to identify potential community organizations or other partners that could finalize and implement a governance and operations model for kihciy askiy.
Council approved the Environmental Impact Assessment and Site Location Study in January.
Native Counselling Services of Alberta held a Grand Council gathering in October 2018. Indigenous Elders met to discuss kihciy askiy operations.
2015 to 2017
Indigenous consultation, design and environmental review
Council approved an additional $500,000 to upgrade the access road into Whitemud Park through the spring 2016 Supplemental Capital Budget Adjustment (SCBA)
Council approved an additional $1.26 million to build all of Phase 1, for 4 season use, through the fall 2017 Supplemental Capital Budget Adjustment (SCBA)
Native Counselling Services of Alberta hosted a Grand Council Gathering for Indigenous Spiritual Leaders living in the capital region
2009 and 2011
City Council approves $2 million in the 2015-2018 capital budget deliberations for design and construction of kihciy askiy Phase 1
The Whitemud Integrated Area Concept Plan is amended to include the development of the cultural site called kihciy askiy (Sacred Earth)
2003 and 2006
The City receives a proposal from the Edmonton Indigenous Cultural Resource Counsel to create a permanent site for Indigenous cultural events and learning experiences for both Indigenous and non-Indigenous people
The Whitemud Integrated Area Concept Plan is developed and approved by City Council