Meeting of the Waters
3rd Year Undergraduate Project (2015)
This award winning project was based on the creation of a new federal building, in downtown Ottawa, that is purpose built to host the assembly of first nations, foster ongoing national reconciliation, and become a think tank for new policy that is formulated outside of a colonial structure of governance and hierarchy. I received mentorship from Douglas Cardinal on this project who has an extensive similar proposed building for an adjacent site.
Approaching this project with humility and with advice from consultants working intensively in this field I was able frame my vision in certain beliefs:
There exists on-going unhealthy opposition in Canada (along with many other post-colonial nations) between main-stream society and aboriginal peoples who have been politically and culturally marginalized.
Treaties that set the terms, rights, and “reservations” for how both groups should live are often rooted in mandates to assimilate into a hegemonic western society.
The two groups can benefit by working together to fashion new modes of engagement that incorporate both western knowledge and indigenous wisdom.
Create a multifaceted campus dedicated to establishing a new dialectic between western and indigenous peoples of the world.
The campus is to include:
A Communal Youth Research Based Retreat.
A Gathering Space for Legislature and Policy Debate.
A Cultural Space Open To All.
Communal Youth Research
Youth delegates from both western and indigenous communities around the world will be selected to collaborate at the centre on multi-year initiatives. Delegates will engage with each other and, through social architectural media, with their home communities to address challenges arising out of friction between western and indigenous peoples. Delegates will eventually return to their home communities for the final year of their programs to help champion and implement the solutions they have developed.
Leaders from western and indigenous communities will assemble at the centre for political discourse and indirect governance. Delegates will advocate on behalf of their communities, confer, and ultimately develop new recommendations for global policy related to western/indigenous relations
The centre will provide a space in which people from both western and indigenous cultures can embrace other ways of understanding humanity, community, spirituality, and place within nature. It will be a place to fashion new ways of cultural engagement between distinct peoples, and a place to forge new shared trajectories for the future.