Rising from the Ashes, Red Crow Community College Grand Opening
Story: Peetah Bastien / Pictures: Todd Eagle Child
On October 20, 2022, Red Crow Community College hosted the Grand Opening of its new campus to a standing room-only crowd at Stand Off, Alberta. The College is a unique building with modern architecture combined with structures that reflect the culture of the Blood Tribe/Kainaiwa.
In the tradition of Kainaiwa, the day began with a pipe offering in the new campus’ Elders Great Room where RCCC eminent scholars conducted a ceremony that filled the new campus with the spirit of our ancestors. This was representative of the College itself, as traditional knowledge is an integral piece of its intellectual framework and continues to benefit students enrolled in various accredited programs, including the Indigenous Bachelor Social Work degree, as well as post-secondary and graduate programming nationwide.
The morning continued with speeches from RCCC staff, dignitaries, elders, and Blood Tribe Chief Makiinima Roy Fox, who shared words of encouragement, determination, and commended the Tribe members who made the new campus a reality.
Chief Makiinima said, “I’d like to remind our present and future students of Red Crow College that many people have worked hard to provide this modern facility for your present and future studies and it is now your responsibility to utilize our college towards the successful completion of your various studies. Work hard and seek the necessary academic and cultural resources towards security your dreams becoming strong Kainaikowans. Make your family and elders proud, make your leaders proud, but most importantly make yourselves proud.”
Rising from the ashes, what was once only an idea on paper, living only as a proposal is now a part of our people’s future. Inside the new campus lives the promise that although Red Crow Community College has experienced the challenge of a devastating fire, that the Blackfoot ways of knowing will continue in this new marvel of modern architectural design. This spirit will continue to strengthen and motivate the people of the Blood Tribe to achieve their educational aspirations and become the next generation of Scholars.
Red Crow Community College President, Dr. Roy Weasel Fat said, “Red Crow Community College has suffered many setbacks, our first fire, so to be standing here today in this beautiful new building really reflects the power of our Niitsitapi values. As well as our ability to overcome tragedy and persevere as a nation, with hard work determination and gratitude to the Creator. We never gave up on our dream for a new building, this campus represents Niitsitapisin, to be Blackfoot. Anybody who enters this building is entering the world of the Blackfoot. We commissioned 17 indigenous artists, and they provided art pieces, and we want our students to feel like they are home. With every step they take down every single hallway our new campus boasts a ceremonial space, an elder’s lounge, daycare, and a fitness facility. So, when the community gathers as one in our 11-meter-tall new atrium and the beholds the incredible artwork all around us, we will all feel great sense of pride as a tribe and a Niitsitapi.”
In touring the new College, you are first greeted by an Atrium that is encased by windows that allows the sunlight to illuminate four large beams that reach the ceiling and gives you the first glimpse of what is to come. Each hallway has ample room for two-way traffic of busy classes moving to their next course of instruction. The classrooms can easily accommodate 30 or more students with room to spare.
Red Crow Community College Board Chair, Lionel Weasel Head, “As a former student at Red Crow, I was an adult upgrading student, I was in our business administration program as well as Kainai studies. So, I know what Red Crow offers to our students, it offers hope, support, and guidance, but most of all that teaches us who we are as Niitsitapi. As well as our history and also indigenizing all of our classes and programs to who we are and gives us that understanding of where we come from. That gives our students the tools to be successful in the future.”
There are new additions such as: gb computer stations, study space, art room, cafeteria, student lounge, and comfort spaces with sitting areas for study groups and to exchange ideas. A new gymnasium and student services offices that will streamline student and administration services. The staircases and walkways serve as reminders that you are in Blackfoot territory as they are adorned and painted with Blackfoot art.
The new 48-million-dollar Red Crow Community College will usher in a new era of Kainai Scholars and solidify our presence in academia. It will offer 900 students the opportunity to learn in a state-of-the-art Blackfoot facility and will employ over 200 staff. With the fall of the old College a new possibility is now in our possession. The possibility to change the world.
Blood Tribe Communications & Community Engagement
Blood Tribe Chief Roy Fox “Makiinima” speaks at the Red Crow Community College Grand Opening on October 20, 2022.
(L to R) Red Crow Community College President Dr. Roy Weasel Fat, Blood Tribe Councillor Travis Plaited Hair, MLA Joseph Schow Cardston-Siksika, Alberta Minister of Advanced Education Demetrios Nicolaides, at the New Red Crow Community College in Standoff, AB on October 20, 2022.
(L to R) Blood Tribe Chief Roy Fox “Makiinima”, Red Crow Community College Board Chair Lionel Weasel Head addresses the crowd at the Grand Opening of the Red Crow Community College on October 20, 2022.
New Red Crow Community College, Standoff, AB October 20, 2022.
Red Crow Community College Grand Opening main atrium, October 20, 2022.
Red Crow Community College Board Chair Lionel Weasel Head, Adrian Stimpson, Theron Black, Jonathan Weiss, Siksika Nation Chief Ouray Crowfoot, at the New Red Crow Community College Gym for the Grand Entry for the Powwow on October 20, 2022.
Blood Tribe Communications & Community Engagement