Skip to content

Canada’s first urban Indigenous ceremonial grounds opens in Edmonton

Kihcihkaw askî-Sacred Land — Canada’s first-of-its-kind urban Indigenous ceremony grounds opened in Edmonton.
The opening of the Indigenous Knowledge and Wisdom Centre on Fox Drive in Edmonton. Photo Facebook.

The City of Edmonton and the Indigenous Knowledge & Wisdom Centre (IKWC) officially opened kihcihkaw askî-Sacred Land — Canada’s first-of-its-kind urban Indigenous ceremony grounds. The new site is in Whitemud Park at 14141 Fox Drive NW.

kihcihkaw askî, meaning “sacred land” in Cree, provides a setting for the Indigenous community to host ceremonies, sweatlodges, facilitate intergenerational learning, and build and maintain good relations.

At the project's opening, Grand Chief Leonard Standingontheroad said, he's honoured to have Canada's first urban Indigenous ceremony site in Treaty No. 6. “I hope all Indigenous Peoples use the site to connect to their homelands and own traditions.”

The project included naturalization of the site and building infrastructure to support programming and cultural activities led by the Indigenous Knowledge & Wisdom Centre. The site includes a circular area for up to eight sweatlodges and two permanent fire enclosures to heat the stones for sweatlodge ceremonies. There is also a circular area for tipis, including a permanent feast fire pit for ceremonies and small group workshops. A pavilion with washrooms, locker rooms and a gathering room was also constructed, along with a storage building featuring a built-in outdoor amphitheatre.

The $6.51 million project started construction in 2021 following a ground blessing and several years of engagement, planning and design. The kihcihkaw askî Elders Counsel was formed to work with the project team throughout design and construction, and continues to meet to provide spiritual and cultural counsel for the site and programming.

The Indigenous Knowledge & Wisdom Centre (IKWC) manages and operates the facility. Visit the Indigenous Knowledge & Wisdom Centre’s Facebook page to learn more.