The North of McKnight Community Hub at the Genesis Centre is a space for members of Calgary’s Northeast quadrant to come together, pursue common interests, and find support when they need it.

They partnered with Trellis Society in 2023 to infuse their space with Indigenous culture and foster connections with surrounding communities. Their goal was to unite families, provide youth with opportunities to engage with Indigenous traditions, and empower the community’s residents to continue the truth and reconciliation journey year-round. Efforts included an on-site offering and facilitation of The Iiyika’kimaat Program (funded as part of United Way’s Natoo’si Indigenous Healing and Well-Being Initiative) and hosting a lively, celebratory event: an Indigenous Carnival.

Indigenous Carnival

Crafted by program facilitators – including an archery coach from the North American Indigenous Games with extensive experience in traditional Indigenous sports – the carnival was a vibrant celebration of Indigenous games, art, music, and culture in a festive and inclusive setting.

Iiyika’kimaat participants attended a training session led by game masters from the Dene, Carrier Cree and Blackfoot Nations, where they learned about the history and rules of the 13 planned games, including double ball, hand games, back push, and one-foot kick. Participants ran game stations during the carnival, offering demonstrations and sharing their newfound knowledge with guests.

“This was an awesome experience! My kids are excited and happy, and I am glad I can connect to culture.” – Foster mom of six children

More than 400 guests from the surrounding communities visited and enjoyed free Indian tacos and samosas while experiencing Indigenous music, sports, and art.

The Indigenous Carnival is an example of the Community Hubs model in action: support, space, and guidance from The City of Calgary and United Way (through Community Hubs, Natoo’si and Planet Youth Calgary) setting the groundwork for partners to create meaningful programming. Together, we are uniting cultures and neighbours, building connections and fostering inclusion. Planning is already underway for a 2024 Indigenous Carnival.

The Numbers Behind the Story

82% of the 918 activities at Community Hubs were collaborations of residents or community organizations in 2023.

14,792 people participated in activities intended to enhance community connections across all Hubs in 2023.

91% of the 472 resident participants surveyed felt connected to their community at the Hub in 2023.