New Indigenous gathering space inspired by traditional designs
A distinctly curved structure taking shape near the south end of Tindall Field will soon become an important place of ceremony, learning, and reflection for the Queen’s community. Once fully assembled, the site – which found its design inspiration in traditional Anishinaabe wigwams – will open as the university’s newest Indigenous gathering space.
“The new outdoor gathering space is an important addition to the campus learning environment as it ties us back to our original teacher: the land,” says Kandice Baptiste, Associate Director of Queen’s Office of Indigenous Initiatives. “We hope that this space can be utilized by the campus community to create connections, feel grounded, and learn more about Indigenous ways of knowing and being.”
Scheduled for completion later this summer, the structure will create an area for ceremonial fires, as well as for teaching, learning, and engaging with Indigenous ways of knowing and being.
Architecturally, the structure incorporates significant Indigenous symbology. Entryways were positioned facing east and west, denoting the rising and setting of the sun, and the overall design nods to the medicine wheel and is designed for sacred ceremonial activities like smudging.
Part of the Queen’s ongoing commitment to truth and reconciliation, the structure’s location was selected to work in harmony with other notable Indigenized areas of campus, including the Kanonhweratónhtshera G’di-mikwanim (The Welcoming Room) in nearby Mackintosh-Corry Hall, and new Indigenous spaces in the neighbouring Agnes Etherington Art Centre, being created as part of Agnes Reimagined. The new space will join a wider array of Indigenous spaces across campus as well, like the recently opened Endaayaan-Tkanónsote student residence and its outdoor courtyard Indigenous gathering space.
“Having various spaces on campus that reflect and value Indigenous histories and perspectives is an essential part of sustained institutional change,” says Patrick Deane, Principal and Vice-Chancellor. “These culturally relevant spaces are part of our ongoing commitment to advancing decolonization and reconciliation, and to building an inclusive campus where all Queen’s community members feel seen, safe, and welcome.”
The project’s construction is being funded by a donation from Bader Philanthropies – long-time supporters and donors to Queen’s. Additional funding comes from the Office of the Principal and the Office of the Provost, as well as from the Faculty of Arts and Science.
An official opening event will be held for the space upon its completion later this year. Learn more about Indigenous initiatives at Queen’s.
Note: This article originally appeared in the Queen's Gazette.