Prairie grass at sunset

Kiipitakyoyis - Grandmother's Lodge

(Formerly Indigenous Social Work Circle & Lodge)

You can find us in the Faculty of Social Work, on the 3rd floor of MacKimmie Tower. All are welcome!

Oki, Tânisi, Tawnshi, Âba wathtec, Danit'ada, Aaniin, Kwe’, She:kon, Bonjour, Hello:

Welcome to the Kiipitoyis Grandmother's Lodge (The Indigenous Social Work Circle and Lodge, in the Faculty of Social Work). The Faculty of Social Work’s Lodge is led by Metis/Cree Elder Kerrie Moore, Director Natalie St-Denis (Acadian/Mi’kmaq and Quebecois/Algonquin) and Advisor Deandra Neufeld (Mohawk). The Lodge seeks to enhance the learning journey of Indigenous social work students by providing Elder and counselling supports, ceremonies and cultural activities. Our hope is to create a sense of belonging and community – a family away from home for Indigenous students. The Kiipitoyis is also committed to providing many learning opportunities for all faculty, staff and students about Indigenous histories, cultures, current realities, languages, knowledges and teachings. We seek to create decolonizing spaces that align with the University’s ii’ taa’poh’to’p principles that honour Indigenous ways of knowing, being, doing and connecting.

At this time, Kiipitoyis is offering a Lunch and Learn Series called “Indigenous Ways of Knowing” that is held virtually twice a month that features local Elders, Knowledge Holders and community members who share their traditional knowledge, wisdom and stories to support students, staff and faculty in furthering their understanding of Indigenous worldviews within their social work practice and pedagogy.

We welcome all students, staff and faculty into the Lodge for a place to study, learn, engage in ceremony, develop meaningful relationships and to build community together.

The Kiipitoyis is located on the third floor of the MacKimmie Tower. Currently, we are in the process of transforming into a welcoming, earth-based Lodge and ceremonial space.

Please stay tuned in the coming months for our naming ceremony and the official opening of our space.

Our New Name: Kiipitakyoyis - Grandmother's Lodge

Blackfoot Elder Clarence Wolfleg names the Indigenous Social Work Lodge, in the Faculty of Social Work

The new name for the Indigenous Social Work Circle and Lodge in the Faculty of Social Work is Kiipitakyoyis (Grandmother's Lodge).

Blackfoot Elder Clarence Wolfleg, from Siksika Nation, led a special naming ceremony on Oct. 5 in which he presented the name given to the lodge by the creator. Métis Cree Elder Kerrie Moore, MSW, RSW, who serves as the Elder for the Lodge and Wellness Elder for the Faculty of Social Work, Deandra Neufeld, MSW, RSW, the Lodge Advisor and Dr. Ellen Perrault, PhD, RSW, Dean of the Faculty of Social Work received the name on behalf of the Lodge.

"The university is kind of like an encampment, this place where we teach and these students go, it's kind of like a lodge, where they go to ... just like the camp," explained Elder Wolfleg. "So, the thinking is that grandmothers are always there in the camp to provide guidance to their grandchildren, and it's not just their blood grandchildren. All the young people are their grandchildren. Even some of the adults are their grandchildren. So, the young people come to seek guidance in the camp for the way they are thinking, their feelings, or their behaviour.

"So, they go to get balance and to find what is what is missing. People call them the seven values, that they go to find, that they may have lost along the way. So, they come to this Kiipitakyoyis – the Grandmother's Lodge – to seek guidance outside from their studies, so they can get back on track. Something is causing that little gap of learning. So, the grandmothers use the ceremonies, use the things they need – the stories – to guide them. They won't tell them what to do, they just give them a direction. They say, 'Find that direction. We know you can do it.' So, it provides a holistic, you might say, strength to continue on your challenge. That's what it's about. So, the name is Kiipitakyoyis, Grandmother's Lodge." (Pronounced Kiip - i - toyis)

Upcoming Events


Who We Are

Kiipitoyis Metis/Cree Elder, Kerrie Moore, MSW, RSW

Kiipitoyis Metis/Cree Elder, Kerrie Moore, MSW, RSW

Kiipitoyis Director, Natalie St-Denis, MSW, RSW, PhD(c)

Kiipitoyis Director, Natalie St-Denis, MSW, RSW, PhD(c)

Kiipitoyis Advisor, Deandra Neufeld, MSW, RSW

Kiipitoyis Advisor, Deandra Neufeld, MSW, RSW


Previous “Indigenous Ways of Knowing” Series Videos

Cultural Protocols and Land Acknowledgments

The first in our series of lunch time conversations about Understanding Indigenous Ways of Knowing. These conversations will include Elders, knowledge keepers and guest speakers from across Turtle Island, to support the University of Calgary community, including Social Work students, staff and faculty to increase their knowledge and awareness about Indigenous peoples and Indigenous communities – so we can walk together in a good way and work towards creating decolonizing practices and spaces.

Elder Kerrie Moore will shared her knowledge and teachings about cultural protocols and Indigenous medicines, and how they are used for developing good relations with others, including why we use tobacco for an offering, why we start with smudge, and how Indigenous medicines are essential in holistic well-being.

Madelaine Robillard, who is of Blackfoot, French and Scottish ancestry, will provided her knowledge, wisdom and guidance on why we do a land acknowledgement, when to do a Land acknowledgment and how to provide this in a respectful way that values Indigenous people’s contributions and ways of knowing, and honors the stories and songs that have lived on the land for thousands of years.

Understanding Indigenous Cultural Gatherings and Social Dances

Have you ever wondered what Pow wow’s and Round Dances are and why Indigenous people do these? Join Traditional Knowledge Keeper Hal Eagletail, a well known Master of Ceremonies of social dances, as he shares his knowledge about Pow wows and Round Dances, and the importance for Indigenous people to gather for these cultural practices. He will also explain the cultural evolution of our Social Dances and how they have changed over time.

Hal says there is much that both Indigenous and non-Indigenous people can gain by engaging with the other’s culture and values.

Hal’s Bio

Hal Eagletail is a member of the Northern Dene Tsuu T’ina Nation, which is located in the Treaty 7 area of southern Alberta. Hal is a Traditional Knowledge Keeper and is a residential school survivor.