While there are many ways to frame the theme of the 6th edition of the Night of Ideas, it is through the rapprochement of cultures and through reconciliation with Canada’s Indigenous peoples that the Canadian Cultural Centre invites you to explore this theme.
The relationship between Indigenous peoples in Canada and the rest of the population has long been plagued by misunderstanding, mistrust and a desire to assimilate peoples whose way of life, wisdom and spirituality were ignored or even denigrated.
Indigenous people have suffered many injustices. Emblematic of these, the “Indian residential schools”, which aimed to “kill the Indian in the child”, were places of violence and humiliation that have profound consequences to this day. The identity of Indigenous peoples was permanently damaged as a result.
From 2007 to 2015, a Truth and Reconciliation Commission, established by the Canadian government, worked to increase public awareness of the reality of the treatment of Indigenous peoples and to acknowledge the injustices suffered. Reconciliation is a long-term process and is taking place in all areas of community life, as evidenced by the 94 “calls to action” that emerged from the Commission’s work.
The architecture of the community’s buildings is also being reconciled. Although rooted in a territory, many Indigenous communities had a nomadic lifestyle. This way of life was halted with the creation of reserves. Forced settlement and government-provided housing have become something of a symbol of this domination. Today, innovative architects have created respectful dialogue that puts Indigenous communities and values at the heart of their practice.
We invite you to meet Maya Cousineau Mollen and Roxanne Gauthier: two women who, hand in hand, are working to restore the dignity to which Indigenous peoples are entitled through architecture.
Join us on the Canadian Cultural Centre’s Facebook Page on Thursday, January 28th at 9 pm.
Biographies of the speakers:
Maya Cousineau Mollen
Innu from Ekuanitshit (Mingan), Maya Cousineau Mollen was adopted in the traditional way by a Quebec family chosen by her biological mother. The Granddaughter of the famous Jack Monoloy, she has been writing poetry since the age of fourteen. In 2007, she participated in a residency for emerging Indigenous writers in Banff. She subsequently published in Moebius and Exit magazines, as well as in the Languages of Our Land and Amun collectives. Fundamentally committed to the cause of Indigenous women, she founded the Native Student Association of Laval University and worked for the National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls. She was also involved in the Kanata case, and was co-chair of the NETWORK for the urban strategy of the Indigenous community in Montreal. Since 2017, she has been a community development consultant for EVOQ Architecture. The fruit of several years of writing, her first collection of poetry, Bréviaire du matricule 082, was published in 2019 by Éditions Hannenorak and was a finalist for the Indigenous Voices Awards 2020. Calmly enraged, her poetry sings of Indigenous femininity and resonates with Innu identity in the territory of Montreal/Muliats/Tio’tia:ke.
Roxanne Gauthier graduated with honours from McGill University’s School of Architecture in 2005. She joined the EVOQ Architecture team in 2006 and was made partner in 2017. She is involved in the main areas of expertise of Heritage Conservation and First Nations. While she is recognized for her expertise in planning and project management, she also has strong technical skills and extensive experience in design and construction. Her exemplary rigour and sustained involvement in the projects entrusted to her are appreciated by her colleagues and partners.
Roxanne distinguishes herself through her organizational skills and positive leadership. She is a LEED® Green Associate and has established and leads EVOQ’s Sustainable Development Committee. The objectives of this committee are to reduce the environmental impact of our operations while supporting our growth and promoting innovative and eco-responsible business practices.