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The Centre for Indigenous Initiatives

The Centre for Indigenous Initiatives welcomes and supports First Nation, Metis and Inuit peoples who work and study at Carleton University. The Centre has a web of interconnected and culturally relevant programs and services aimed at enhancing the overall student experience. These include workshops, events, and various activities to promote wellbeing and academic success. The Centre also works with faculty, administration and professional services to foster awareness and understanding of Indigenous histories, cultures, traditions and worldviews

If you would like more information please call 613-520-5622 or email

Ojigkwanong Student Centre

The Ojigkwanong Student Centre is the heartbeat of the Indigenous student community at Carleton. Ojigkwanong is an Algonquin word which means “Morning Star” and was the spirit name of Algonquin Elder William Commanda of Kitigan Zibi First Nation. The Ojigkwanong Centre is an Indigenous-focused gathering space where students, faculty, and staff can come to work, study, visit with Knowledge Keepers, socialize or participate in various cultural programs.

Students who frequent the Ojigkwanong Centre have access to traditional medicines, a lodge for smudging, a kitchen for making coffee or tea, and computers for researching and completing assignments. Students who have registered with the Centre for Indigenous Initiatives can be given permission to access the Centre after hours from 4:30-11pm and on weekends.

The Ojigkwanong Centre is located in Paterson Hall, Room 228. You may register with the Center for Indigenous Initiatives here. If you would like after-hours access, but do not want to register with the Centre for Indigenous Initiatives, contact us.

Future Students

The Centre for Indigenous Initiatives’ Soar Like A Raven Indigenous student recruitment tour flies across Ontario and parts of Quebec with the Aboriginal Post-Secondary Information Program (APSIP) speaking to First Nations, Inuit and Métis students, who range from elementary to mature.

If you’re a teacher or guidance counsellor (elementary, high school, college and alternative) interested in working with the Centre for Indigenous Initiatives to promote post-secondary options to your students; or, if you require direct assistance applying to university, please contact us.

As a prospective student you may also be interested in a number of academic programs at Carleton. To read more about the School of Indigenous and Canadian Studies click here. You may also be interested to learn more about specific Faculty members with research interests in Indigenous issues here.

Education, Training and Professional Development

The Centre for Indigenous Initiatives is pleased to offer a variety of workshops and training sessions with various learning outcomes. Our most popular workshop is Kinamagawin: Learning Together. This workshop provides an introduction to the historical relationship between educational institutions and Indigenous communities. It explores the historical context which has led to the contemporary relationship between First Nation, Metis and Inuit peoples and institutions like Carleton.

For more information please see review EIC’s services page or contact us to find out more about our many facilitated sessions.

Consultative Initiatives

Carleton University Indigenous Strategic Initiatives Committee

Over the course of the 2018-2019 academic year, the Carleton University Indigenous Strategic Initiatives Committee (CUISIC) facilitated widespread engagement sessions in order to develop a set of Carleton-specific recommendations as part of an institutional response to the Truth and Reconciliation Commission Report. CUISIC is committed to engaging all members of the Carleton community and beyond to ensure that these recommendations, and subsequent action plan, create spaces for dialogue and relationship-building. To read more about CUISIC, please click here.

Use of Traditional Medicines on Campus

Carleton University respects and supports Indigenous cultural and spiritual practices on campus.  The university recognizes and accepts that First Nations, Inuit and Métis have traditional practices and sacred ceremonies.  These practices can take different forms, including smudging ceremony, pipe ceremony or lighting of the qulliq.  Typically the amount of smoke associated with these ceremonies is minimal and lasts a very short time.

Smudging Ceremony. Smudging is an Indigenous ceremony that involves the burning of sacred medicines.  The most common medicines used in a smudge are sweetgrass, sage and cedar.  A smudge is burned primarily for purification and cleansing to help create a positive learning environment.

Pipe Ceremony.  A pipe ceremony is an Indigenous traditional practice carried out by a pipe carrier.  The ceremony produces smoke from the lighting of sema (tobacco) which is also one of the sacred medicines.

Lighting the Qulliq.  The qulliq is a crescent shaped lamp carved from soapstone, fuelled with oil from seals, and a wick made from moss or Arctic cotton grass. The qulliq is an oil lamp, traditionally used to survive, it was used for lighting, heating and cooking.  Today, qulliq lighting ceremonies often mark the start of important events.

Procedures for use of traditional medicines on campus.  Carleton University’s Fire Prevention Officer, Environment Health and Safety, has reviewed and assessed several locations on campus to allow for use of traditional medicines as described above. In all cases, if you plan to have an event with traditional medicines that produce smoke, please click here to complete the Use of Traditional Medicine – Request for Permit.  For an “Approved Space” submit the request at least five business days in advance of your event.  If the space you want to use requires approval, please submit request at least 10 business days in advance of your event. Timothy Golding, the University Fire Prevention Officer will contact you regarding the approval process.  In order to reduce the number of inquiries regarding the smell of smoke in buildings, on the day of the event, post a notification sign indicating the location will be used for Indigenous ceremonial purposes.

Click here to print the notification sign.