A proposed new cultural venue in Lac La Biche can now go ahead thanks to grant funding from the federal and provincial governments. Portage College’s Indigenous Smudging and Cultural Awareness Venue is one of 18 infrastructure projects in Northern Alberta to receive funding through the Canada Infrastructure Plan. The grant will cover 40% of eligible costs while the College will cover the rest of the tab. The maximum project cost is $100,000.
“The College recognizes the cultural significance of smudging and views it as an important support to student mental health needs,” said Nancy Broadbent, President and CEO of Portage College. “Portage looks forward to building this impactful new venue and greatly appreciates the support from the governments of Canada and Alberta.”
Annually, more than 45% of Portage students in credit programs self identify as Indigenous. As well, the College offers many noncredit programs sometimes with 100% Indigenous enrolment. The cultural venue will give students and staff a dedicated gathering space for smudge and cultural practice, which we currently do not have at Lac La Biche campus.
Currently, without the dedicated space many programs and students must plan well ahead to ensure that Smudging protocols are followed. Programs such as the Aboriginal Teacher Education (a partnership with the University of Alberta), Aboriginal Art Certificate and Artisan Entrepreneurship Diploma as well the Portage College Museum of Aboriginal Peoples’ Art and Artifacts will benefit greatly from this new space.
“This project is in keeping with Portage’s strong Indigenous roots and will benefit students and staff for years to come,” said Broadbent. “We are very grateful for the community and government support for this initiative.”
Portage will continue to pursue similar cultural venues for other campuses. The College is currently seeking sponsorship, donors and gifts to help contribute to the 60% that the College will invest for the Lac La Biche venue as well as seeking support for other opportunities. Please contact Rick Flumian, Community Relations Manager at 780-623-5591 or by email to help contribute.
Jaime Davies, Corporate Communications Manager
780-623-5581 or email