Revitalizing campus spaces with Indigenous language, art

Revitalizing campus spaces with Indigenous language, art

Twelve new study rooms in Stauffer Library feature Indigenous names and artwork.

By Anne Craig

October 28, 2016


Twelve new study rooms at Stauffer Library are being given Indigenous names to increase the visibility of the Indigenous community. The rooms will also help to answer a need for more study space on campus.

“One of our primary mandates since I started here has been to increase the visibility of Indigenous presence on campus in order to contribute to the understanding that Queen’s is a welcoming space for Indigenous students, staff and faculty,” says Janice Hill, Director of Four Directions Aboriginal Student Centre. “This will contribute a great deal to that goal and is completely in line with the Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s recommendation for universities to contribute to the reclamation and revitalization of Indigenous languages in Canada.”

The rooms will be named as follows:

After the Seven Grandfather Teachings in Anishinaabe (a group of Indigenous people representing many nations in Ontario sharing a similar language):

  • Wisdom - Nibwaakaawin
  • Love – Zaagi’idiwin
  • Respect - Minaadendamowin
  • Bravery – Aakode’wein
  • Honesty - Gwayakwaadiziwin
  • Humility - Dabaadendiziwin
  • Truth – Debwewin

In Mohawk, Cree, Michif (Métis), Mik’maq and Inuktitut:

  • Learning - Keweyentehtahs
  • Teaching - Kishnamakayin
  • Knowledge - Kiskellitamowin
  • Persistence – Munsa’t
  • Community Place - Katimmavik

To add a unique element to the third- and fourth-floor rooms, the library and Four Directions have formed a partnership with Correctional Services Canada to commission Indigenous artists from Joyceville Institution to create paintings to be displayed in the rooms. The artists have incorporated the meaning of the new room names into their artworks. “One of our strategic priorities in the library is to realize the potential of library spaces and provide memorable places for social and intellectual encounters and discovery,” says Martha Whitehead (Vice-Provost and University Librarian). “We are very pleased at this opportunity to partner with Four Directions to celebrate cultural diversity and provide inclusive learning spaces.”

The study spaces are now open and available for booking.