|Submission Date||March 30, 2020|
IN-26: Innovation C
|1.00 / 1.00||
Name or title of the innovative policy, practice, program, or outcome:
A brief description of the innovative policy, practice, program, or outcome that outlines how credit criteria are met and any positive measurable outcomes associated with the innovation:
Seneca College built and opened a new indigenous centre at its Newnham Campus. The building, called ODEYTO officially opened on September 21, 2019. Odeyto, the new home of First Peoples@Seneca, means “the good journey” in Anishinaabe.
The grand opening featured drumming, planting of a white pine — a tree of peace — and traditional Indigenous refreshments prepared by Anishinaabe chef Charles Catchpole. The $2.8-million project was made possible with contribution from the provincial government as part of its investment to honour the college system’s 50th anniversary.
President David Agnew thanked First Peoples@Seneca for being “incredibly patient,” saying the new space is a much-needed expansion to accommodate the important work of our staff and faculty supporting Seneca's Indigenous students.
“This is the jewel of the crown,” he said. “It’s what we wanted to put in the window.” Designed by Gow Hastings Architects and Two Row Architect, Odeyto boasts more than 1,800 square feet of space, including offices, a computer lab, a kitchen and a dedicated area for Indigenous elders.
On the outside, a canoe-like structure rests on its side against the academic building, representing a stop on the journey for the students. The curvature of the roof mimics the position of the sun on June 21, the annual National Indigenous Peoples Day in Canada.
On the inside, 28 ribs along the top and the side of the flipped canoe reminisce the full lunar cycle and a woman’s moon time, honouring Indigenous women who are presently here. Two doors, facing east and west, are painted red to remember the missing and murdered Indigenous women and girls, said Mark Solomon, Associate Dean, Student Services and Indigenous Education.
“We do have to acknowledge the power of women,” Solomon said Solomon also recognized Odeyto as being “a form of reconciliation” in the ongoing truth and reconciliation process at Seneca. As the only Indigenous hub between Highway 401 and Barrie that is accessible to members within the broader Indigenous community, Odeyto has already welcomed elders and children alike in its first days.
As an Indigenous teaching, learning and gathering space, Odeyto signifies not just the physical journey, but also the emotional, spiritual and mental journeys. The sentiment was described by seven Indigenous students who wrote a spoken word poem together for the awakening.
“Odeyto is incredible,” said Emma Greenfield, a fourth-year Honours Bachelor of Child Development student and one of the spoken word performers.
Seneca’s new Indigenous centre at Newnham Campus, has been named one of the top 10 Canadian Architecture Projects of 2018. The building has been recognized for Best Implementation of Native Building Practices by Azure Magazine.“We are delighted to see Odeyto’s architectural achievements being recognized in this way,” said Mark Solomon, Associate Dean Student Services and Indigenous Education. “We are very proud of what we have achieved with the space, which has quickly become a daily destination for Indigenous teaching, learning and gathering. It has become a home for our Indigenous students.”
Odeyto has remained a hub of activity since its grand opening in September. The building has been used as a teaching space for faculty to learn how to incorporate Indigenous content into their curriculum. Indigenous students also visit Odeyto daily. They often cook together and host regular potluck dinners and game nights in the space. Indigenous culture influenced various aspects of the facility, from its general exterior shape to the details of its interior décor. The space was designed by Gow Hastings Architects and Two Row Architect, a 100% Indigenous-owned and operated firm on the Six Nations of the Grand River reserve in southern Ontario.
Which of the following impact areas does the innovation most closely relate to? (select up to three):
Diversity & Affordability
A letter of affirmation from an individual with relevant expertise or a press release or publication featuring the innovation :
The website URL where information about the programs or initiatives is available:
Additional documentation to support the submission:
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