Queen’s newest student residence, formerly known as Albert Street Residence, has been named Endaayaan–Tkanónsote to honour Indigenous histories, lands, and communities.
The building opened in late August after two years of construction. The name was chosen based on recommendations from the Truth and Reconciliation Commission taskforce’s report, which aims to recognize the presence of Indigenous people and raise visibility.
“It […] responds to the Queen’s strategy that speaks to building a diverse, equitable, inclusive, and anti-racist community at Queen’s,” Associate Vice-Principal (Indigenous Initiatives and Reconciliation) Kanonhsyonne (Janice Hill), told The Journal in an interview.
“I think that this is a first for the university to use a name in Indigenous languages—I don’t think that’s done anywhere else on campus as of yet, so that’s a big step.”
“Endaayaan” means not only a physical home, but a spiritual one. “Tkanónsote” is more of a practical name for a home and its physical structure, Hill said.
Although she was not involved in the naming process in its beginning stages, Hill said there was a committee formed made up of 10 to 12 people making the decision—many of whom were Indigenous staff, faculty, and students.
The board was chaired by Thanyehténhas (Nathan Brinklow), the instructor for the University’s Mohawk language program, and a faculty member in the Indigenous Studies program.
“[The committee] met quite frequently and over a long period of time, because at one point, there was a break in the process because the University really realized there was no naming policy,” Hill said.
Once the naming committee for the residence began meeting, the University had to take a break to develop the naming policy properly before the committee could resume their work, Hill added.
“The idea was that the naming would honour the local nations of Indigenous people on whose land the university sits: the Anishinaabe and Haudenosaunee,” Hill said.
“It’s very important, I think, that people recognize the importance and recognize the commitment to this work that’s being shown by giving this name to the residences.”
Hill appreciates the proposal’s inclusion of a welcome wall in the lobby of the residence which will greet students from all over the world in various languages, adding to the space’s already significant inclusivity and diversity.
“Hopefully, by doing these things, we’re providing a welcoming space, and sending a message to our incoming students that they belong at Queen’s, they’re valued at Queens, and especially for Indigenous students, that our history and our culture is valued at the university.”
Hill further spoke about ways people can get involved in learning about Indigeneity at Queen’s.
“For the last five years, we [Queen’s] have published reports on all the Indigenization work and decolonization work that’s taking place on campus.”
On the Office of Indigenous Initiatives (OII) website, there’s an events section that highlights important dates. The OII is getting ready for The National Day of Awareness for Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women, Girls, and Gender Diverse People (MMIWG2S) on May 5.
To raise awareness of violence against Indigenous and non-Indigenous women, children, and gender diverse people, 18 red dresses—part of an art exhibit by Métis artist Jaime Black called The REDress Project—will be displayed on street lamps along University Avenue.
“There’s lots of things going on. It’s an ongoing project,” an OII representative said in a statement to The Journal.
“We’re doing our part to Indigenize and decolonize our campus and create a more inclusive and welcoming environment for all.”
Albert St. Residence, EDII, Indigeneity, Residence
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