On Wednesday, October 11 Carleton staff and faculty came together to provide feedback and ideas on the Indigenous Learning Place project. The Staff and Faculty Forum began with a presentation that illustrated the physical backdrop on which the Indigenous Learning Place is taking shape. Participants were grounded in the physical characteristics, establishing a foundation for new ideas to emerge.
Key to this forum was the mix of Indigenous and non-Indigenous voices that brought out ideas for the space leading to a variety of concrete suggestions for what the future Indigenous Learning Place should look like and what it could be used for. At the forefront of the discussion was the development of the site into an integrated indoor-outdoor site, in the form of a small enclosed building capable of holding classes, events, and workshops, with walls that can open to the outdoors. In addition to this central structure, emphasis was placed on establishing a permanent site for the Teepee and creating a medicine garden to be cared for by faculty and students, thus making it a true learning environment.
Participants also raised the need for underlying principles and protocols that should guide the formation and use of the Indigenous Learning Place. It was agreed that there should be equal representation between First Nations, Métis, and Inuit, both visually and in the use of the space. Importantly, it was expressed that emphasis should be placed upon what it means to be a guest on Algonquin land. It was proposed that this could be done through a combination of critical cartography displays that illustrate Indigenous histories of the surrounding area, as well as a set of protocols that would inform planning and use of the space. The Staff and Faculty Forum feedback and ideas will be part of shaping the future Indigenous Learning Place and help generate further dialogue throughout the Carleton Community.