It is with great sadness that I share the news that Roxanne Tootoosis, MacEwan’s Indigenous Knowledge Keeper, has passed away. I know this is difficult news, and our community will greatly miss Roxanne, as I will too. She was family to many MacEwan students, who were greatly impacted by her kindness, by her genuine desire to really get to know them, by her gentle teachings, by her mentorship, by her playfulness and by her infectious laughter.
Grounded in Cree language, culture and traditions, Roxanne was MacEwan’s first full-time Indigenous Knowledge Keeper/facilitator. As a guiding presence for our students, faculty and staff, and those in her community, Roxanne inspired us to find a deeper connection with Indigenous beliefs and culture.
Roxanne touched so many of our lives, and we have been honoured and privileged to have been blessed with her wisdom and knowledge. Many of us will remember her sharing, “Know who you are first, and you’ll never get lost.”
Roxanne set out to create a comfortable space of courage for anyone who came to learn Indigenous traditions and ways of knowing and being. As a presence at many MacEwan ceremonies, events and meetings, she guided our path on understanding and holding space for Indigenous ways in the MacEwan culture.
Roxanne was originally from Poundmaker Cree Nation near Cut Knife, Saskatchewan and was residing in Edmonton. Roxanne spent many years working with youth, mothers and families as a social worker and advocate. Roxanne was passionate about her work as a Knowledge Keeper and sharing her teachings with those who were graced with her presence. We are grateful for her contributions to MacEwan University over the past four years, and our lives have been forever changed by her.
The university will be lowering the MacEwan banner and the Metis Nation and Treaty 6 flags in honour of Roxanne. At the request of the family, a celebration of Roxanne’s life will be held on campus on August 31 at 6 p.m. We strongly encourage you to participate by joining the celebration using the live stream link: CELEBRATION OF LIFE.
Allard Hall Atrium, MacEwan University, 11110-104 Avenue NW, Edmonton. Attendance at the Celebration of Life in the Atrium of Allard Hall will be limited to 25 per cent of capacity to ensure proper physical distancing. This will give consideration to those closest to Roxanne to attend in person.
Free parking available north of Allard Hall in Surface Lot S West
COVID protocols are in place. Wear a mask.
We hope these options will provide our community with the opportunity to pay tribute to Roxanne.
For further details, please contact Terri Suntjens, Director, Indigenous Initiatives, MacEwan University, 780-914-2028, firstname.lastname@example.org
We acknowledge that the land on which we gather in Treaty Six Territory is the traditional gathering place for many Indigenous people. We honour and respect the history, languages, ceremonies and culture of the First Nations, Métis and Inuit who call this territory home.