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Outdoor Indigenous space to open at college next year

Published on

Tara Jeffrey

A new Indigenous-focused outdoor space will be a welcome addition at Lambton College, officials say.

“Projects like this are exactly what I have looked for when attending post-secondary institutions,” said Summer Catt, Lambton’s Indigenous Student Council president and a member of the steering committee for the new Outdoor Indigenous Space.

“A project of this capacity highlights the college’s commitment to Truth & Reconciliation and lets Indigenous students know they belong here – knowing that they can succeed, knowing that there’s space carved out for them to make sure that they feel comfortable.”

The facility, currently in the planning and design phase, will be an area where Indigenous learners can feel welcome and have a sense of ownership, the college said in a news release.

The concept was first identified in the 2014-16 Indigenous Academic and Student Success Plan. The steering committee includes current students and alumni, community members, representatives of the Indigenous Education Council, as well as an Elder and a Knowledge Keeper.

Led by architect Wanda Dalla Costa — the first, First Nation female architect in Canada — ATRR Architects and Red Quill will oversee the design of the outdoor space. It can host cultural events and ceremonies, while allowing Indigenous learners to network and socialize.

Suncor Energy has committed $600,000 towards the project, which is set to open in the fall of 2023.

“This project shows Lambton’s investment in the reconciliation process,” said Jane Manning, the college’s manager of Indigenous Education.

“It needed to be meaningful and purposeful, and it really was about giving back.”

A video of the proposed design can be viewed at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qWyEkcPke3Q.

Artist rendering of the proposed design for an Indigenous Outdoor Space at Lambton College

 

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