Seneca College RED 2019 - 18

and that's a good thing.
In this case, the talk is a direct benefit of a new building on campus. It's a building that is, in many ways, creating new communities
and understandings.
And it kind of looks like a canoe.
The fact that Odeyto, the new Newnham Campus space for First
Peoples@Seneca, is the centre of all this talk, is not coincidental.
From the very start, it was going to be a different kind of learning
and gathering space.
"We struggled with the design," says Mark Solomon, Associate
Dean of Student Services and Indigenous Education. "But then
Brian Porter from Two Row Architect came up with the idea of a
canoe resting along the side of the building. It came from us telling
stories and sharing ideas. And when we came up with the name
Odeyto, it told a story, and I think that's an important part of Indigenous design: It's a story. It's a feeling."
Odeyto, an Anishinaabe word which translates as "the good
journey," was designed by Oshweken, Two Row Architect and Gow
Hastings Architects. The building's resemblance to an Indigenous
form of transportation is meant to represent the brief stop students
make at Seneca as they continue on their personal journeys.
The design of Odeyto goes beyond just looking like a canoe to
combine the past with the present, which is important to Solomon.
He will proudly tell you the arc of the building's exterior matches
the path of the sun during the summer solstice and its walls contain 28 ribs to match the cycle of the moon. On one end of the
building there is a door that faces east, and on the other is a door
that faces west. They symbolize the traditional eastern (birth) and
western (death) doors that play an important part in Indigenous
traditions. These doors are also painted red to encourage visitors
to pursue the traditional goal of "walking the red road" (to live a
life of respect, humility and truthfulness).
But the colour also has another meaning that is very much about
the present; it is to remind us of Canada's missing and murdered
Indigenous women and children. Inside, there are contemporary
works by Indigenous artists Kent Monkman and Steven Paul Judd
as well as a series of neon shapes by visual artist Joi Arcand that
may seem merely decorative. But like everything else in Odeyto,
there is a deeper meaning. They are letters from the Cree language
and they spell out "Don't Be Ashamed."
"When you put up a traditional woodland painting, everyone
loves it, but with contemporary art, we can show people we are in
the now," Solomon says. "We have Indigenous students doing
THERE'S A LOT OF TALKING GOING ON,

Above: Perhaps the most rewarding part of Odeyto
is the strong sense of community it has instilled
in the students who use the space. Charlene Joseph
is one of the students who has joined with others
for community activities and ceremonies.
Right: The computer lab features a neon sign created by visual artist Joi Arcand which some visitors
may mistake for mere decoration. In fact, they
are letters from the Cree language that spell out
"Don't Be Ashamed." It's one of the many affirming
messages contained within the design of Odeyto.
Previous: Odeyto's design contains a number
of references to Indigenous culture, including its
shape (a canoe) and the alignment of the building
which matches the path of the sun during the
summer solstice, an important ceremonial time.
Also pictured is Elder Blu Waters who, along
with First Peoples@Seneca Co-ordinator Peggy
Pitawanakwat and Counsellor Karen White, provides
students with the traditional knowledge they may
have missed elsewhere during their education.

18

RED

2019



Seneca College RED 2019

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Seneca College RED 2019

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