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Just What is Indigenous Architecture? – Azure

by ahnationtalk on June 8, 2018190 Views

Back in 1995, Patrick Stewart became the first-ever Indigenous architect in British Columbia. It was a hard road. The Canadian government had stolen his mother from her Nisga’a Nation, putting her into a residential school. Then they stole Stewart, as part of the Sixties Scoop, when Indigenous children were placed in foster care and given to white families across North America. Stewart plans to tell the world this story in a new way as a co-creator of Unceded, the Canadian contribution to the 2018 Venice Architecture Biennale.

Architecture has been a tool of colonialism in Canada. Settlers arrived and knocked down the wigwams, teepees, longhouses, sloped-roof sheds and other architecture of people indigenous to what became Canada. In their place now stands a 150-year legacy of built erasure: abandoned residential school buildings, shuttered Indian hospitals that functioned as de facto prisons, black mould that to this day climbs the walls of on-reserve schoolhouses best described as repurposed ATCO trailers.

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