In 2015, the Edmonton Indigenous Cultural Resource Centre proposed to the City of Edmonton a concept for creating a permanent urban site for cultural ceremonies, events and knowledge sharing for both Indigenous and non-Indigenous people. The City collaborated to secure a site on the former Fox Farms land, and thus the Kihciy Askiy project emerged.
Kihcihkaw askî, meaning “Sacred Earth”, provides a beautiful, land-based context for the inter-generational learning, community engagement, and collaboration that are so essential to Indigenous culture. The site facilitates important events, such as sweat lodges and ceremonial feasts, while also supporting the exchange of traditional knowledge, such as the growing of medicinal herbs and other land-based learning opportunities.
JOINED WITH THE EARTH
Kihcihkaw askî’s fundamental connectedness to the earth is illustrated in its unique architecture. The building forms are minimalist and literally and metaphorically merged with the earth and landscape, with grasses native to the area planted on the roof and the foundation of the structures sitting below the surface of the land. The structures boast an exceptional sustainability profile; they use organic and locally-sourced materials, are oriented for maximum solar gain, and boast contemporary design innovations, including photovoltaic panels. Kihcihkaw askî will be operated by the Indigenous Knowledge and Wisdom Centre, IKWC, in an agreement with the City of Edmonton.