Douglas Cardinal, an award-winning Indigenous architect, visited the college, March 21, to speak to a select group of students about his life’s work and his success channelling nature and the respecting the community’s voices.
“Indigenous means, by definition, ‘people of the land,’ ” said Cardinal. “We have a symbiotic relationship with the land. You can’t separate us from it.”
Cardinal was speaking to the Aboriginal studies and architecture students about how he became successful in his career. He was born in 1934 in Calgary, Alberta. He received 19 honorary doctorates, gold medals for architecture in Canada and Russia. He was also given a declaration of a World Master of Contemporary Architecture by the International Association of Architects.
Before Cardinal took control of the presentation, a speaker stood in front of the audience for a brief opening.
“This is Algonquin territory that has remained unceded and unsold,” said Louise Lahache, coordinator of Aboriginal studies at AC.
Cardinal delivered an inspiring and very informative presentation which described the relationship he has with nature and people. He has utmost respect for women and children.
“They are our future,” he said. This message correlates with his overall message to the students: take care of the land and it will take care of you.
Students were asked to take part in a peace offering station where they placed a pinch of tobacco into a cloth and sealed it.
The tobacco, when given to an elder or someone of great wisdom or prominence, is a sign of respect and gratitude because the plant is grown from the ground and represents nature and well-being.
When the presentation was finished the audience gave a strong round of applause and stuck around for pictures.
You can see some of Cardinal’s architectural designs at the Wabano Centre and the Museum of History in Ottawa.