CAMPBELL RIVER, B.C.—Work has wrapped up on a new culturally relevant space for Indigenous students in B.C.
Officials announced the official opening of the Indigenous Gathering Place at North Island College’s Campbell River campus.
“This new Indigenous Gathering Place is a beautiful, welcoming and safe space for people to gather, learn and support each other,” said Anne Kang, minister of advanced education and skills training, in a statement. “We know from the Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s calls to action and the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples that providing cultural spaces on campus is important to Indigenous students, faculty and staff.”
The building is called Q̓ə pix ʔidaʔas and its design represents a traditional drum with a Liqwiltokw Big House at its centre. It is home to the Elders in Residence program, student support services, and offers a large community room for cultural celebrations, events and art displays. The Gathering Place will also provide a space to deliver Liq’wala language courses and other Indigenous education programming.
“It is my hope that the Indigenous Gathering Place will encourage Indigenous student success by creating a greater sense of belonging on campus, fostering community and supporting Indigenous-led learning in environments where students can thrive,” said Lisa Domae, president of North Island College.
The space was developed with consultation from the Wei Wai Kai and Wei Wai Kum Nations and students.
The $2.5-million cost to build the 222-square-metre Indigenous Gathering Place was shared between the Ministry of Advanced Education and Skills Training ($800,000) and North Island College ($1.7 million).