As part of the new Queen’s Remembers initiative, students and faculty gathered on Oct. 16 to witness the unveiling of an informative plinth dedicated to Indigenous history.
Principal Daniel Woolf and the newly appointed Director of Indigenous Initiatives Kanonhsyonne (Janice Hill) led the unveiling of the plinth. A first in the series, future plinths will commemorate others who have made a significant and noteworthy contribution to Queen’s.
Located in a high-traffic area along McGibbon Walk, between Douglas Library and Ontario Hall, this plinth sits at the heart of Queen’s campus.
This plinth features a six-page weatherproof book that commemorates the history of Indigenous groups and includes an Anishinaabe and Haudenosaunee land recognition in English, French, Mohawk and Ojibway.
At the small ceremony, Principal Woolf delivered a speech highlighting the role Queen’s has played in perpetuating harmful misrepresentation of history concerning Indigenous peoples.
“[This plinth] is dedicated to the Indigenous peoples of our community, past, present and future,” Woolf remarked in his speech.
“This is a heartfelt recognition that before these limestone buildings were here, before the first class set, these were the traditional lands of the Anishinaabe and the Haudenosaunee peoples. For too long our country’s misrepresentation of history and mistreatment and segregation of Indigenous peoples has been hidden from view, only to perpetuate and contribute to their suffering,” Woolf said.
Woolf also noted in his speech that “to move forward in healing, we must acknowledge Queen’s own history as an institution that participated in a colonial tradition that caused great harm to Indigenous peoples.”
After the ceremony, Darion Doblej, ArtSci ’18, told The Journal that the plinth is “a fantastic way of repairing relationships and starting new ones.”
“It’s significant because it shows what Indigenous students have done so far, in spite of colonization. It is fantastic that Queen’s is now starting to recognize it, in its 176th year, and to make a place for Indigenous students,” Doblej said.
Future plinths will commemorate others who have made a significant and noteworthy contribution to Queen’s.
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