Protocols for Inviting Indigenous Guests

We suggest that specific protocols and procedures be followed when working with or engaging with Indigenous Peoples and communities. At Queen鈥檚 we have the following internal policy in place when inviting guests to campus.

The Office of Indigenous Initiatives recommends that the following procedure be followed when inviting an Indigenous guest to campus.

Offer an Invitation

We recommend making a request in person when possible, however; when that is not feasible, it is acceptable to make a request by telephone or email. If making the request in person, you would first offer tobacco as this is following traditional protocol.If the request was made by telephone or email, tobacco can be offered at the first meeting.

For a list of Traditional Knowledge Keepers in the surrounding community, contact the Office of Indigenous Initiatives.

Planning for the Visit

  1. Ask the guest if they have any accommodations to be aware of, or if there is anything that you can offer to make their visit to campus more comfortable.
  2. Discuss the intent of the request, the audience involved and ask the guest if they are comfortable with what is being proposed.
  3. Ask the guest if they have a preference for room setup 鈥 i.e. should the room be setup in a circle format? Facilitating sessions in a circle creates a safe and open environment where everyone is equal around the circle.
  4. If the guest will be driving to campus, provide them with a campus map as well as, arrange for parking if possible. If the guest requires transportation to be arranged, make the necessary arrangements as needed.
  5. Provide the guest with a main contact for their visit 鈥搕his person will host the guest throughout the day. Additionally, we recommend providing the guest with the contact person鈥檚 phone number in the event that they need assistance on their way to campus.
  6. Prepare to gift the guest at the end of their visit and/or submit a claim to process an honorarium payment and reimbursement of travel or accommodation(for guests external to Queen鈥檚).

Hosting (day of visit)

  1. Offer the guest water, snacks and meals as appropriate throughout the day.
  2. Be sure to thank the guest at the end of their visit, offer them the gift that you have prepared and relay any information regarding reimbursement of their travel or accommodations as well as receipt of an honorarium.

Gifting and Honorarium

Elder Honorarium Guideline (PDF) 
*updated 2023

The Indigenous Cultural Services staff members within the Office of Indigenous Initiatives are paid by Queen鈥檚 University and therefore are unable to accept honorarium payments; however we do encourage those requesting cultural services to follow traditional protocol by offering tobacco to show your gratitude and appreciation for their time when making your request.

Departments, faculties and organizations within the university are responsible for the booking, coordinating and planning of these visits. If you are looking for a recommendation on who to invite for a specific event or engagement, please contact the Office of Indigenous Initiatives.

Learn more:

Queen's Smudging Policy

[illustration by Portia Chapman representing honour