Carleton University will be transforming its outdoor amphitheater into an Indigenous learning and gathering space, temporarily called Truth and Reconciliation (TRC) Park.
Consultations about design and use ideas will be held with Indigenous students, faculty and staff, as well as Indigenous communities and groups.
The organizing committee was appointed by Wallace Clement, interim dean of the Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences, and Michel Piché, vice-president (Finance and Administration) It is co-chaired by Rodney Nelson, co-ordinator for the Aboriginal Enriched Support Program and chair of the Aboriginal Education Council, and Kahente Horn-Miller, assistant professor in the School of Indigenous and Canadian Studies.
“This project is a wonderful opportunity for Carleton to engage the Indigenous students, faculty and broader community in a necessary dialogue that speaks to our efforts to implement the TRC Calls to Action in a way that tangible, timely and relevant,” said Horn-Miller.
Carleton will match any funds raised by the committee for developing the space. The committee will create a design plan for the park once consultations are complete at the end of March. The deadline for groundbreaking is this spring, with completion slated for the end of this summer.
“I think that Carleton is continuing its good work towards its Aboriginal Co-ordinated Strategy by making Carleton a welcoming space for Indigenous students and scholars, as well as promoting understanding of a collective history to everyone,” said Nelson.
The Carleton design will include plans for a permanent location of an existing teepee. The committee is investigating a phased approach for the park, with the first phase likely to be an outdoor space and the option of moving toward a partially or fully covered space, allowing for use throughout the year.
Carleton has actually been working toward the goals of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission for more than a decade, taking steps large and small to welcome Indigenous faculty, students and staff, and to ensure that Indigenous cultures, traditions and worldviews are respected and represented on campus.
This month, the Carleton University Art Gallery (CUAG) and Centre for Aboriginal Culture and Education (CACE) are launching a birch bark canoe project. The canoe will be built in the gallery and stay on display as a work in progress. The completed canoe will be installed this fall in the MacOdrum Library.
Although Indigenous perspectives and portrayals in the media are already part of a mandatory undergraduate journalism course and a professional practice course that all master’s students must take, Carleton has created a new course, Covering Indigenous Canada as part of its continuing work.
In response to Truth and Reconciliation Commission recommendation No. 57, which calls on governments to provide education to public servants on the history of Aboriginal peoples, Carleton’s School of Public Policy and Administration hosted a panel discussion in early September. At the well-attended event, Carleton faculty shared their expertise with public sector leaders and dozens of students who may one day work in the field.
Several recent changes embody the overarching transformation at Carleton, including the officially renamed School of Indigenous and Canadian Studies, formerly Canadian Studies, which will be launching a Bachelor of Arts (combined honours) program in Indigenous Studies next fall.
Meanwhile, Carleton’s Indigenous Policy and Administration (IPA) program, which admitted its second cohort of students this year, offers a pair of graduate diplomas, as well as an Indigenous concentration within its Master of Policy and Administration.
To learn more about these and other Indigenous initiatives at Carleton, as well as the university’s Aboriginal Co-ordinated Strategy, please visit: https://carleton.ca/our-stories/story/truth-and-reconciliation-indigenous-education/
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