Indigenous Student Orientation

Jilasi. Welcome to our new Dalhousie Students

Join us for an exciting week of orientation events for all Indigenous students! We have a variety of cultural and educational events planned for Orientation Week and even more Welcoming Events in the weeks following orientation. 

What to expect

  • Meet the ISC staff and Elder in Residence
  • Learn about services and resources available to you
  • Academic support and financial budgeting workshops
  • Outdoor activities in our Teepee
  • Crafts, Powwow & storytelling
  • Meet other Indigenous students and Dal community

Indigenous Orientation Week Schedule

Check out our list of scheduled events for Orientation week and the welcoming events that will follow later in the term. Please note: event dates and times may be subject to change.

Online Orientation modules (Start On Track)

Start On Track online is a program for new Dalhousie students and a great way for you to get a head start and prepare yourself for your first semester. Access the modules in Brightspace now and complete at your own pace. 


Sunday, Sept 1

Welcoming Ceremony and Honoring Sacred Water Canoeing 
10am – 2pm
| Meet at Saint Mary’s Boat Club  

Join us with Art Stevens (from Dalhousie Agricultural campus in Truro) and Raymond Sewell (from Saint Mary’s University) for a ceremony and blessing of Orientation week and welcoming of Indigenous students from Dalhousie University, Dalhousie’s Agricultural Campus and St. Mary’s University. (Rain or Shine event)

Everyone participating in this event will need a photo I.D. to register and to rent a canoe for free.

You are also required to sign waiver forms (copies will be available at the event). However, if you are under 18 years of age, you must print, complete and get a parent/guardian to sign the waiver to allow you to canoe. Make sure to bring this paperwork with you so you can participate.

Passing of the Feather
After the Canoe event, Linda Denny (Dalhousie ISC) will pass the feather to the one of the students and explain the passing of the feather exercise. 

Tuesday, Sept 3

Raising of Teepee (Teaching) with Elder Gary Joseph and Elder Billy Lewis
Starts at 9 am (Please drop in at any time during the day) | Indigenous Student Centre (ISC)

Meet your ISC Staff and Elders in Residence. Elder Billy will perform a blessing by smudging the centre and participants. Learn more about Teepee raising here and please read about Teepee etiquette before you arrive.

After the raising of the Teepee, a Sacred Pipe Ceremony (with Elder Gary Joseph) will take place and Feast to follow

Read about ceremonial protocol here.

Wednesday, Sept 4

Stay on Track presentation (Cheyenne Henry)
Session One | 9 am – 12 pm
Session Two | 1:30 pm – 4 pm

At the Indigenous Student Centre (ISC)

Lunch and meet  Student Representatives from Dalhousie's Indigenous Law Students' Association and Dalhousie Student Union
| at the ISC

Scavenger Hunt (Plant and element cards) and Learning Circle exercise 
All day
| at ISC

Identify plants in 5 keys areas on campus for a chance to win prizes. Prizes to be won for those who participate and complete this fun, learning event! Come to the centre for instructions of the scavenger hunt and pass in your cards to be placed in a draw. 

Thursday, Sept 5

Learn to play Waltes and explore Indigenous crafts
All day at the Indigenous Student Centre (ISC)

Feel free to bring your dresses and shirts for ribbons, faceless dolls & medicine bundles. Those playing Waltes can win $50 on your DalCard.

Would you like to have a Spirit Name? 
6 pm | At the Indigenous Student Centre (ISC)

Meet Elder Gary Joseph to prepare for the Naming Ceremony, followed by Taking down of Teepee.


Friday, Sept 6

Financial Aid Budget workshop (Pam Goodwin)
9 am–12 pm | Indigenous Student Centre (ISC)

Healing plants & tea with Michele Graveline & William Johnson
2 pm | Meet at the Indigenous Student Centre (ISC)

Social gathering with tea and refreshments. Learn about herbal medicine and their healing power.

Saturday, Sept 7

Sweat Lodge Ceremony (Michael Adzich)
1:30 pm | Meet at the Indigenous Student Centre (ISC) to depart for MacDonald Beach.

Meet senior Dalhousie students and participate in a Q&A with William Johnson.

Everyone particpating in this event must complete and sign this waiver

If you are under 18 years of age, you must complete and get a parent/guardian to sign to give you permission to participate. 

Other welcoming events after Orientation week

Wednesday, Sept 11 12-3pm
Office of the Burke Building (next to the Student Centre). 
Rain location Loyola L290  Saint Mary's University
Saint Mary's Powwow
An afternoon of drumming, singing, praying, eating, and meeting with friends. All students welcome to take part in this L'nu celebration.
Thursday, Sept 12 1-4pm, Meet at ISC

Library Orientation & Tour
with Michelle Paon (Associate University Librarian Resources & Head of the Sexton Library) & Julie Marcoux (Data Librarian)

An Indigenous pop-up library will be set-up at the ISC followed by a tour of the Killam library.

Friday, Sept 13 9am–4pm, ISC Healing and Wellness Day Friday 
Meet with Jonnie-Lynn Baron one-on-one
Thursday, Sept 19 - postponed
  Nutrition Planning
The ISC is looking for students who want to learn to menu plan and prepare delicious, nutritious meals, working with fresh local ingredients. Contact for more information

Sept 23-27

postponed until October

  Crafts week 
Come into the ISC all week for craft making. Dream catchers, medicine pouch, medicine/tobacco ties, ribbon shirt/shirts. Feel free to bring your dresses and/or shirts for ribbon making.
Monday, Sept 30 10am Studley Quad  Powwow on Dalhousie Studley Campus   
    Faceless dolls (Commemoration of Missing Indigenous Women and Girls)
Available during Mawio'mi
  All day, everywhere! Orange Shirt Day
Wear an orange shirt to class to commemorate the thousands of First Nations, Métis and Inuit children who were removed from their homes at this time of the year and forced to attend residential schools.
DILSA will be selling Orange T”shirts at their booth during the Powwow.
Tuesday, Oct 1 All day. Downtown Halifax Treaty Day Celebrations
Aboriginal Traditional and Ecological Knowledge stories and myths. 
  3pm, ISC “Two Eyed Seeing” with Gerald Gloade  
Oct 4
All day, ISC Make Faceless dolls 
In commemoration of Sisters in Spirit, join the Elders in Residence and the ISC staff at the Centre to make some “faceless dolls”.
Wednesday, Oct 9 3–4pm, ISC Decolonization teaching with Patti Bedwell-Doyle  
  4–6pm, ISC

Stitching Circle with Lisa Binkley

Join us for open stitching and conversation. All forms of needlework and crafts are welcome. No experience necessary. Bring your own project or supplies available.