Transcript: Designing Indigenous Architecture in Canada | Jun 21, 2021

Steve sits in the studio. He's slim, clean-shaven, in his fifties, with short curly brown hair. He's wearing a black suit, white shirt, and gray plaid tie.

A caption on screen reads "Designing indigenous architecture in Canada. @spaikin, @theagenda."

Steve says THEIR BUILDINGS SPEAK FOR THEMSELVES. BUT HOW DID THEY COME TO THEIR PROFESSION AS ARCHITECTS... OFTEN AGAINST ALL ODDS... AND WHAT ANIMATES THEM IN THE DESIGN PROCESS? THAT, HAPPILY, IS THE SUBJECT OF A NEW TVO ORIGINAL DOCUMENTARY CALLED: "FROM EARTH TO SKY," FEATURING A COLLECTIVE OF ACCOMPLISHED INDIGENOUS ARCHITECTS. AND WE HAVE TWO WITH US TONIGHT, AS WELL AS THE FILMMAKER. JOINING US NOW, AND AS IS OUR CUSTOM, WE'LL INTRODUCE OUR GUESTS FROM FURTHEST AWAY TO CLOSEST TO OUR STUDIO, AS WE WELCOME: IN PHOENIX, ARIZONA: WANDA DALLA COSTA, THE FIRST FEMALE FIRST NATIONS ARCHITECT IN CANADA, NOW A PROFESSOR AT ARIZONA STATE UNIVERSITY TEACHING INDIGENOUS PLANNING, ARCHITECTURE, AND CONSTRUCTION...

Wanda is in her forties, with long wavy red hair. She's wearing a red jacket.

Steve continues IN OTTAWA, ONTARIO: DOUGLAS CARDINAL, WORLD RENOWNED ARCHITECT AND MASTER-BUILDER, WHO WAS THE FIRST FIRST NATIONS ARCHITECT IN CANADIAN HISTORY...

Douglas is in his eighties, clean-shaven and balding. He's wearing a blue shirt.

Steve continues AND IN ONTARIO'S CAPITAL CITY: THE FILMMAKER, RON CHAPMAN. HE IS THE DIRECTOR OF THE TVO ORIGINAL DOCUMENTARY, "FROM EARTH TO SKY" THAT HAS ITS WORLD BROADCAST PREMIER TONIGHT, RIGHT AFTER THIS PROGRAM...

Ron is in his fifties, clean-shaven, with short curly brown hair. He's wearing a black leather jacket and a black tee.

Steve continues WE ARE SO DELIGHTED TO WELCOME, REALLY, WHAT A COLLECTION OF TALENT WE'VE GOT ON THIS PROGRAM TONIGHT. THIS IS FANTASTIC. RON, I'M GOING TO START WITH YOU. YOU'VE DONE A LOT OF DOCUMENTARIES IN THE PAST AND I'VE GOT TO JUST START BY ASKING... FIRST OF ALL, I'VE SEEN IT. IT'S FANTASTIC. IT'S GORGEOUS. WHAT DREW YOU TO THE SUBJECT IN THE FIRST PLACE?

The caption changes to "Ron Chapman. Director, 'From Earth to Sky.'"
Then, it changes again to "Being firsts."

Ron says 18 INDIGENOUS ARCHITECTS WERE MAKING A PROPOSAL TO REPRESENT CANADA AT THE VENICE ARCHITECTURAL BIANALI. IN THAT PROPOSAL, THEY WANTED TO SHOW THE WORLD WHAT INDIGENOUS ARCHITECTURE WAS. AND I WAS FASCINATED BY A COUPLE OF DIFFERENT THINGS WITHIN THIS THAT DREW ME TO THE PROJECT: ONE WAS, WHAT IS INDIGENOUS ARCHITECTURE? AND HOW WOULD THEY PRESENT THAT? HOW WOULD THEY COME UP WITH LANGUAGE TO SHOW THAT TO THE WORLD? ALSO, THESE WERE A GROUP OF ARCHITECTS FROM TURTLE ISLAND, WHICH IS THE PRE-BORDERS, BEFORE WE MADE CANADA AND PROVINCES AND AMERICA AND STATES, AND SO THERE WERE AMERICAN, WHAT WE WOULD CALL AMERICAN AND CANADIAN INDIGENOUS ARCHITECTS IN THIS MIX. A LOT OF THESE CANADIAN ARCHITECTS DON'T RECOGNIZE CANADA AS A SOVEREIGN NATION, AND YET THERE THEY ARE REPRESENTING CANADA, AND I WAS CURIOUS HOW THAT COULD POSSIBLY BE. AND FURTHER, I WONDERED HOW 18 ARCHITECTS COULD AGREE ON ANYTHING, BECAUSE GENERALLY MY UNDERSTANDING OF ARCHITECTS IS EACH ONE, IT'S ALL ABOUT ME AND MY VISION AND YOU GET TWO TOGETHER AND ALREADY, YOU KNOW, THERE'S NO FINDING COMMON GROUND. BUT HERE, 18 ARCHITECTS WERE GOING TO AGREE ON HOW TO MAKE THIS PRESENTATION. THAT WAS WHAT MADE ME WANT TO INVESTIGATE THIS AND GO FURTHER DOWN THE ROAD.

Steve says WONDERFUL. LET'S TAKE A LOOK AT SOME OF YOUR WORK HERE. THE CLIP, PLEASE, SHELDON.

A clip plays on screen with the caption "From Earth to Sky. 2021."

Fast clips show black and white family pictures, then Douglas stands by a pond watching the sun set.

He says THERE WAS MY MOTHER WHO TOLD ME THAT SHE FELT THAT I WOULD BE AN ARCHITECT. SO I APPLIED AND I WAS ACCEPTED AT UBC. I WAS TOLD AT UBC THAT IT WOULD BE IMPOSSIBLE FOR ME TO BE AN ARCHITECT.

A black and white picture shows Douglas in his twenties.

Douglas continues I COULD SEE HOW CANADA TREATED FIRST NATIONS PEOPLE SO I POINTED MY CAR SOUTH AND I ENDED UP AT THE SCHOOL OF FRANK LLOYD WRIGHT AND I MET FRANK LLOYD WRIGHT.

Ron says AND YOU BECAME CANADA'S FIRST INDIGENOUS ARCHITECT.

Douglas says I GUESS I NEVER LOOKED AT IT THAT WAY.

The clip ends.

Steve says BUT IT'S TRUE. DOUGLAS CARDINAL, HOW OLD WERE YOU WHEN YOUR MOTHER SAID TO YOU, "I THINK YOU SHOULD BE AN ARCHITECT SOME DAY"?

Douglas says I WAS 6 YEARS OLD.

Steve says SIX YEARS OLD. MY GOODNESS. I THINK I KNOW HOW OLD YOU ARE, SO WE'RE BASICALLY TALKING EIGHT DECADES AGO, RIGHT?

Douglas says YES, YES.

Steve says THERE WERE OBVIOUSLY NO OTHER INDIGENOUS ARCHITECTS AROUND. SO CAN YOU RECALL WHAT YOU THOUGHT WHEN SHE SAID THAT TO YOU? BECAUSE OBVIOUSLY NO ROLE MODELS. NOBODY FOR YOU TO SAY, "I WANT TO BE LIKE THAT GUY."

The caption changes to "Douglas Cardinal. Architect."

Douglas says WELL, THE FIRST THING I WANTED TO KNOW WAS AND TO STUDY, WHAT IS AN ARCHITECT AND WHAT DOES HE DO AND WHAT DOES HE HAVE TO LEARN? MY MOTHER SAID I HAD TO... MYSELF IN THE ARMS, WHICH I DID. AND SHE SAID FUNDAMENTAL TO ARCHITECTURE WAS MUSIC, SO SHE PUT ME THROUGH THE MUSIC PROGRAM AND THERE I LEARNED MUSIC FIRST. AND I COULD SEE REALLY LATER ON IN MY LIFE HOW MUSIC AND ARCHITECTURE HAVE A REAL STRONG RELATIONSHIP BECAUSE IT'S ABOUT STRUCTURE, IT'S ABOUT HARMONY AND BALANCE, AND MANY IN MY PROFESSION ADVISED ME THAT ARCHITECTURE WAS FROZEN MUSIC. AND SO THAT, FROM A VERY PERSONAL POINT OF VIEW, WAS MY STUDY OF MUSIC.

The caption changes to "From Earth to Sky. Tonight 9 PM. Also streaming at tvo.org/documentaries."

Steve says GOTCHA. WANDA, I WONDER IF YOU COULD TELL US, WHAT GOT YOU INTO ARCHITECTURE IN THE FIRST PLACE?

The caption changes to "Wanda Dalla Costa. Architect. Arizona State University."

Wanda says IT'S A GOOD QUESTION. YOU KNOW, MOST PEOPLE DREAM OF THIS PROFESSION SINCE THEY'RE VERY SMALL. BUT FOR ME, IT CAME THROUGH, AFTER MY UNDERGRADUATE DEGREE, I WENT BACKPACKING. IT WAS SUPPOSED TO BE 6 MONTHS. IT TURNED INTO YEARS. I WENT THROUGH 40 COUNTRIES AND I LEARNED THROUGH THAT TRIP AND THE EXPERIENCE I HAD, SEEING ALL THESE BEAUTIFUL CULTURES AROUND THE WORLD, THAT I WAS INTERESTED IN CITIES AND BUILDINGS AND SPACES FOR PEOPLE.

Steve says DID THE FACT THAT YOU WERE BOTH FEMALE AND INDIGENOUS HOLD YOU BACK AT ALL?

Wanda says I THINK I WAS... I DIDN'T REALLY THINK ABOUT... BACK IN THE DAY, YOU KNOW, IT'S MORE ON MY MIND NOW, THE FACT THAT THIS MAY BE AN ANOMALY. BUT I DIDN'T REALLY SEE IT THAT WAY AT THE TIME.

Steve says RON, WE'VE HEARD TWO STORIES HERE ABOUT HOW TWO OF THE GIANTS OF THIS BUSINESS GOT INTO IT. BUT YOU HEARD OTHER STORIES AS WELL. WHAT ARE SOME OF THE OTHER REASONS THAT DREW THE PEOPLE YOU CHRONICLED INTO THIS FIELD?

Ron says WELL, I THINK ALL OF THEM... ALL OF THEM, OF COURSE, WERE FASCINATED BY STRUCTURE, BY COMMUNITY. I MEAN, IT'S DIFFICULT FOR ME TO SPEAK FOR THEM. BUT ONE THING THAT I THINK WANDA AND DOUGLAS CAN ILLUMINATE YOU ON IS, YOU KNOW, THE FOUNDATIONS AND THE PRECEPTS OF INDIGENOUS ARCHITECTURE. IT IS ALL ABOUT COMMUNITY. AND THEY ARE ALL ABOUT COMMUNITY. AND THEN HOW DOES THE ARCHITECTURE THEN INFLUENCE COMMUNITY, HOW PEOPLE LIVE, HOW THEY INTERACT AND MAKE IT A BETTER PLACE. SO I THINK... YOU KNOW, THAT ALONG WITH, AS DOUGLAS SAID, HIS WAS INITIALLY APPRECIATION OF MUSIC. WANDA'S WAS BUILDINGS AND DEFINITELY DESIGN, HAVING AN ARTISTIC FLAIR. ALL OF THOSE THINGS COME TOGETHER. BUT, AGAIN, TO ME, THE BIGGEST MESSAGE CAME THROUGH IT, HOW CAN WE HELP AND ENCOURAGE PEOPLE TO LIVE IN A BETTER WAY? AND I THINK THAT'S, TO ME, HAS DRIVEN MOST OF THEM.

Steve says DOUGLAS, I WONDER IF YOU COULD PICK UP ON THAT BECAUSE WHEN YOU WATCH THE DOCUMENTARY, YOU CAN CLEARLY SEE THAT THERE IS AN INDIGENOUS STYLE OF ARC TEMPERATURE. I'M NOT SURE I HAVE THE VOCABULARY OR UNDERSTANDING TO PUT INTO ENGLISH HOW TO DESCRIBE THAT, BUT I BET YOU CAN. SO TAKE A CRACK AT IT, IF YOU WOULD? HOW WOULD YOU CHARACTERIZE OR SCRIBE INDIGENOUS ARCHITECTS... INDIGENOUS ARCHITECTURE TO SOMEBODY WHO DIDN'T KNOW WHAT IT WAS?

The caption changes to "Douglas Cardinal, @d_cardinal."

Douglas says WELL, FOR ME, IT IS CREATING ENVIRONMENTS FOR PEOPLE THAT ARE NURTURING, LOVING AND CARING ENVIRONMENTS THAT MORE OR LESS FOLLOW THE TEACHINGS OF OUR GRANDMOTHERS, OUR MOTHERS, BECAUSE WE ALWAYS LISTEN TO OUR MOTHERS AND LISTEN TO THEIR VOICES AND THE MOTHERS OF OUR CHILDREN AND IMPLEMENTED THEIR DECISIONS. THAT'S THE BASIS OF OUR CULTURE. AND THOSE VALUES ARE MORE MATERNAL AND THEREFORE THEY ARE MORE LOVING AND CARING AND NURTURING, AND SO I THINK THAT REALLY IS THE KIND OF SPACES WITHIN THAT WE ARE INSPIRED TO DEVELOP. AND THEREFORE WE ALSO, THROUGH THEIR TEACHINGS, ALWAYS HAVE OURSELVES AND OUR ENVIRONMENTS CONNECT WITH OUR MOTHER, THE EARTH, AND BE IN HARMONY WITH OUR MOTHER, THE EARTH, INSTEAD OF BEING DOMINION OVER NATURE, WE HAVE TO REALIZE THAT BEING DOMINION OVER NATURE HAS CAUSED ALL THIS DAMAGE WITH OUR PLANET, OUR EARTH, AND WE HAVE TO CHANGE THIS MENTALITY. WE HAVE TO REALIZE WE HAVE TO NOT BE DOMINION OVER NATURE BECAUSE WE ARE NATURE, AND WHATEVER WE DO AFFECTS EVERYTHING AROUND US, PARTICULARLY OUR PLANET AS A WHOLE. AND SO WE HAVE TO BE MUCH MORE SYMBIOTIC WITH OUR NATURAL ENVIRONMENT, AND THAT'S... AND APPLY ALL THAT TEACHINGS OF OUR ELDERS AND ALL THESE VALUES OF OUR ELDERS SHOULD BE THE VALUES THAT ARE EXPRESSED IN THE ENVIRONMENTS THAT WE CREATE.

Steve says SEE, THAT DESCRIBES IT IN A WAY THAT I NEVER COULD. THAT'S WHY WE HAVE YOU ON THE PROGRAM TO EXPLAIN IT, BECAUSE I NEVER COULD. BUT, WANDA, I'D ASK YOU TO PICK UP ON THAT BECAUSE I KNOW WHEN I WAS WATCHING THE DOCUMENTARY AND SEEING THESE GLORIOUS STRUCTURES THAT YOU AND DOUGLAS ARE RESPONSIBLE FOR AND THINKING, THIS IS ABOUT AS FAR AWAY FROM 1960s BRUTALIST EAST GERMANY ARCHITECTURE AS IT COMES. SO IF YOU WANT TO PICK UP ON WHAT DOUGLAS SAID, WHAT WOULD YOU ADD TO YOUR CHARACTERIZATION OF INDIGENOUS ARCHITECTURE.

The caption changes to "Wanda Dalla Costa, @TAW_Arc."

Wanda says I JUST WANT TO LIFT UP SOMETHING THAT DOUGLAS TALKS ABOUT WHICH I THINK IS REALLY FUNDAMENTAL TO INDIGENOUS ARCHITECTURE AND THAT'S REALLY THE VALUE SYSTEM. SO NOT ONLY ARE WE AIMING TO RECONNECT... YOU KNOW, THERE HAS BEEN A LOST HISTORY, A DISCONNECTION, YOU KNOW, WITH POLICIES OVER THE LAST COUPLE OF HUNDRED YEARS IN CANADA, AND WE'RE TRYING TO RECONNECT THOSE THINGS. SO I THINK THERE'S A LOOKING BACK IN ORDER TO LOOK FORWARD. BUT AS DOUGLAS MENTIONED, IT IS ABOUT VALUE SYSTEMS. IT IS ABOUT CULTURAL VALUES. IT IS ABOUT SOCIAL VALUES. IT IS ABOUT VALUES CONNECTING WITH OUR NATURAL WORLD. AND TO ADD TO THAT I THINK WHAT INDIGENOUS ARCHITECTURE REALLY ASPIRES TO BE IS REALLY WHAT DOUGLAS ALLUDES TO, IS THAT AWAKENING OF OUR CONNECTION, NOT ONLY WITH OTHER PEOPLE BUT OUR CONNECTION WITH NATURE. AND THAT IS PROBABLY THE MOST IMPORTANT THING THAT WE CAN BRING FORWARD AT THIS TIME IN WHERE WE ARE RIGHT NOW IN OUR WORLD.

Steve says RIGHT. RON, WE CAN'T NOT TALK ABOUT RACISM IF WE'RE GOING TO TALK ABOUT INDIGENEITY AND ARCHITECTURE. AND SO WE HAVE TWO OF THE SUBJECTS, TWO OF THE PROTAGONISTS OF YOUR FILM HERE, BUT OF COURSE YOU SPOKE TO OTHERS, AND I WONDER IF YOU COULD SHARE WITH US, YOU KNOW, THE KINDS OF... THE KINDS OF RACISM AND RACIST INCIDENTS THE STORIES YOU HEARD THROUGH THE COURSE OF PUTTING THIS DOCUMENTARY TOGETHER.

Ron says WELL, I THINK ALL OF THEM, YOU KNOW, DEALT WITH SOME FORM OF RACISM AS THEY WERE GROWING UP, AND THAT'S JUST CANADA AND AMERICA, AGAIN, BECAUSE SOME OF THEM ARE AMERICAN. YOU KNOW, WE HAVE SURVIVORS OF RESIDENTIAL SCHOOLS, BROKEN FAMILIES, YOU KNOW, BUT I WILL SAY THAT THAT WAS NOT THE FOCUS REALLY OF THE DOCUMENTARY. I THINK IT'S IMPORTANT TO HAVE A SENSE OF WHAT THEY WENT THROUGH AS THEIR BACKSTORY, BUT TO ME, THE DOCUMENTARY IS REALLY ABOUT THEIR RESILIENCE AND WHAT THAT REPRESENTS, AND THEIR STRENGTH IN TERMS OF OVERCOMING THE HEINOUS HISTORY THAT THEY HAVE HAD HERE IN CANADA AND THE STATES AND THE KIND OF GENOCIDE THAT WAS WAGED AGAINST THEM AND THEIR PEOPLE AND THIS COMING TO LIGHT THAT THEY'VE HAD AND THAT THEY ARE CHAMPIONING, THAT WANDA AND DOUGLAS AND PATRICK, TAMMY, THE REST OF THESE ARCHITECTS REPRESENT. THEY ARE INCREDIBLY STRONG INDIVIDUALS. THEY ARE SUCCESSFUL INDIVIDUALS. THEY ARE TALENTED INDIVIDUALS. AND THEY ARE REDEFINING OR... NOT REDEFINING, BUT THEY ARE TRYING TO, YOU KNOW, I GUESS ONE OF THE TERMS I HEARD ONCE WAS HAVE A SEAT AT THE TABLE AGAIN, TO COME BACK AND HELP INFLUENCE US AS WE MOVE FORWARD TO CREATE A BETTER WORLD BY INTEGRATING THE VALUES THAT THEY'VE HAD FOR THOUSANDS OF YEARS INTO OUR PROCESS NOW SO THAT WE CAN AVERT THE DISASTER THAT WE'RE ALL HEADED TO IF WE CONTINUE TO IGNORE AND WALK LIKE LEMMINGS INTO THE OCEAN. THEY HAVE GREAT COUNSEL AND TEACHINGS. THEY JUST WANT TO SHARE THEM.

Steve says TO THAT END, SHELDON, TOP OF PAGE 3 IF YOU WOULD BRING UP THAT IMAGE OF THE CHURCH. DOUGLAS, I WANT TO ASK YOU ABOUT THIS. TELL US ABOUT THIS, WHAT WE'RE LOOKING AT RIGHT NOW. WHAT IS THIS?

A picture shows a curvy brick building that appears to curl in on itself, surrounded by grass.

Douglas says THIS IS A CLASSIC CHURCH IN RED DEER, ALBERTA. I GREW UP IN RED DEER.

Steve says AND YOU DESIGNED THIS? THAT'S YOUR DESIGN?

The caption changes to "Symbolic structures."

Douglas says YES. I DESIGNED IT, AND I THOUGHT IT WAS VERY IMPORTANT TO DO THAT BECAUSE WHEN I... I HAD REAL ISSUES WITH THE CHURCH WHEN I WENT THROUGH HAVING TO BE IN THE CONVENT IN RED DEER. AND SO FOR ME IT WAS VERY IMPORTANT FOR ME TO ALMOST DO AN ACT OF RECONCILIATION WITH THE CHURCH. AND IT WAS VERY IMPORTANT FOR ME TO PROVIDE A LOVING AND CARING, AND BECAUSE I FOUND TO BE CREATIVE, YOU CAN'T BE FILLED WITH ANGER.

Steve says WELL, THAT'S WHAT I WANT TO FOLLOW UP ON.

Douglas says IT WAS VERY IMPORTANT FOR ME TO BE ABLE TO COME WITH A GOOD HEART, AND THE ONLY WAY YOU CAN DO THAT IS THROUGH FORGIVENESS AND LOVING AND CARING. SO I WANTED TO BUILD THAT CHURCH AS A SIGN OF LOVING AND CARING AND THE WHOLE ENVIRONMENT I WANT TO CREATE.

Steve says THAT'S HOW I WANT TO KNOW HOW YOU GOT THERE. BECAUSE YOU'RE DEALING WITH THE CATHOLIC CHURCH, WHOSE ROLE IN THE RESIDENTIAL SCHOOLS STORY IS WELL-KNOWN, INCLUDING THE ONE YOU WENT TO. SO HOW DID YOU GET YOUR HEART TO A PLACE WHERE YOU COULD COLLABORATE WITH THE CATHOLIC CHURCH TO BUILD SUCH A MAGNIFICENT STRUCTURE?

Douglas says FOR ME IT WAS VERY IMPORTANT TO DO THAT BECAUSE I FEEL THAT THE ONLY WAY THAT YOU CAN REALLY MAKE A DIFFERENCE IN THE WORLD IS THROUGH CARING AND... LOVING AND CARING AND BUILD BRIDGES, AND THE ONLY WAY YOU CAN BUILD A BRIDGE IS TO TRY TO UNDERSTAND, YOU KNOW, EVERYTHING YOU CAN ABOUT THE CHURCH, AND I HAD AN AMAZING PRIEST COMMISSION ME THE CHURCH, FATHER MERKES, AND HE WAS A VERY LOVING AND CARING INDIVIDUAL. SO YOU HAVE TO... AND HE WAS REALLY WILLING FOR ME TO BE ABLE TO EXPRESS THE NEW LITURGY INTO THE CHURCH WHICH WAS MORE EMBRACIVE AND CARING FOR PEOPLE. AND SO IT TAKES TWO PEOPLE TO BUILD A BRIDGE, YOU KNOW? AND IF YOU HAVE SOMEBODY THAT'S WANTING TO BE ABLE TO WORK WITH YOU AND TO BE ABLE TO SHARE THE CONCERN ABOUT WORKING TOGETHER AND COMING TOGETHER IN RESPECT AND LOVING AND CARING, THEN YOU NEED TO TAKE THE OPPORTUNITY OF DOING THAT. AND FOR HIM IT WAS VERY... HE WAS AN AMAZING INDIVIDUAL AND I FELT THAT I HAD TO PROPERLY SERVE IN THE ADMINISTRATION OF THE CHURCH.

Steve says UNDERSTOOD.

Douglas says AND THE ARCHBISHOP IS THE SAME. THE ARCHBISHOP SUPPORTED AND FINANCED IT. I FELT THE SAME. HE WAS AN AMAZING ARCHBISHOP. AND WHEN HE SAW THE DESIGN AND THE LOVING CARE WE BOTH PUT INTO IT, HE SAID: WHEN IT IS FINISHED, I'LL OPEN THE BUILDING BUT MAKE SURE TO PUT 12 CONSECRATION STONES IN THE WALLS SO I CAN CONSECRATE IT AS A CATHEDRAL, WHICH HE DID.

Steve says VERY NICE. WANDA, LET'S PUT THE SPOTLIGHT OVER ON YOU, IF WE CAN. MR. DIRECTOR, IF WE CAN PLAY A CLIP OF OUR DOCUMENTARY, FEATURING WANDA.

Another clip from the documentary plays on screen.
In the clip, Wanda speaks as fast clips show old colour pictures of her family and present-day clips of her and a child walking in the forest.

She says MY MOTHER GREW UP ON THE RESERVATION, ON THE RESERVE, AND SHE WENT THROUGH RESIDENTIAL SCHOOL. THE EARLIEST MEMORIES, I WOULD CALL IT MY LIVED EXPERIENCE, IS GOING UP TO THE REZ WHERE ALL OF YOUR COUSINS ARE, WHERE ALL OF YOUR KINSHIP CONNECTIONS ARE. THERE'S A PARTICULAR PROJECT THAT I DID WAS JUST RECENTLY COMPLETED IN THE CITY OF CALGARY. IT IS THE EARLY LEARNING CENTRE.

A picture shows a red brick building with the caption "Nistatapasini Learning Centre. Calgary, Alberta."

Wanda continues IT WAS DESIGNED FOR INDIGENOUS STUDENTS WITHIN AN URBAN SETTING TO LEARN THROUGH A TRADITIONAL INDIGENOUS LEARNING MODEL. I THINK IT'S PROFOUND THAT IN ONE GENERATION, IT'S COMPLETELY CHANGED.

The clip ends.

Steve says CAN YOU TELL US, WANDA, WHAT IT MEANS TO YOU TO HAVE PARTICIPATED IN THAT PROJECT IN CALGARY?

With a broken voice, Wanda says IT'S A HARD PROJECT TO TALK ABOUT. SORRY. ARE WE LIVE? I THINK WHAT'S IMPORTANT ABOUT THAT PROJECT... YOU KNOW, MY MOTHER USED TO GO BACK INTO THE SCHOOLS AND BRING CULTURE. SHE WAS A LIAISON WORKER IN THE CITY OF EDMONTON. AND SHE WOULD BRING CULTURE BACK TO ART, TO STUDENTS IN THE CITY OF EDMONTON, YOU KNOW, AND SHE'D BRING... SHE WOULD COOK FRY BED IN THE CLASSROOMS AND LIGHT SWEETGRASS IN THE CLASSROOMS AND TRY TO BRING THAT CULTURE BACK. FOR ME THIS BUILDING IS A CONTINUATION OF THAT WORK. SO SAT DOWN FOR SO LONG AND FOR SO MANY MEETINGS WITH THE ELDERS IN THAT REGION AND ALL OF THE... WE SAT DOWN WITH ALL OF THE ELDERS IN THE REGION AND ALL OF THE COMMUNITY MEMBERS AND ASKED THEM WHAT IT IS LIKE BECAUSE YOU'RE CHANGING THE PARADIGM, RIGHT, OF INDIGENOUS EDUCATION. WE'RE ASKING, WHAT IS IT LIKE TO TEACH FROM AN INDIGENOUS WORLDVIEW IN A CONTEMPORARY WORLD SETTING AND HOW WOULD THAT ALTER A SCHOOL? SO I THINK THE TASK AT HAND WAS REALLY ONE OF INNOVATION. IT WAS ONE OF PRODUCTIVE DISRUPTION. AND IT WAS ONE OF LISTENING, OF HOW WE BEGIN TO KIND OF GO BACK TO THOSE ORIGINAL ANCESTRAL WORLD VIEWS AND HOW WE BRING THEM INTO A CONTEMPORARY SPACE. AND SO I THINK THE CHALLENGE WAS REALLY AN EXCITING ONE, AND THAT PARTICULAR SCHOOL HAS BECOME AN EARLY... I GUESS AN EARLY PILOT FOR A NUMBER OF OTHER SCHOOLS THAT WE'RE DESIGNING ACROSS CANADA THAT ALSO WANT TO REFLECT INDIGENOUS WAYS OF KNOWING IN A CONTEMPORARY ENVIRONMENT. SO I THINK IT WAS A LANDMARK STUDY. IT WAS A LONG TIME AGO, BUT I THINK IT WAS ONE OF THE MOST IMPORTANT BUILDINGS THAT I'VE DONE IN MY PROFESSION.

Steve says RON, I CAN'T HELP BUT NOTICE OUT OF THE CORNER OF MY EYE AND ON THE MONITOR HERE IN THE STUDIO... SORRY, I'M GOING TO BUST YOU HERE, BUDDY. BUT, YOU KNOW, WHEN WANDA WAS GIVING THAT ANSWER, YOU WERE WIPING AWAY TEARS. WHAT IS IT ABOUT THIS STORY THAT GETS TO YOU?

With a broken voice, Ron says WELL, YOU KNOW, IT'S NOT JUST HER STORY, IT'S THE WHOLE STORY. I MEAN, INTERESTINGLY ENOUGH, YOU HAVE DOUGLAS HERE WHO IS CANADA'S... I MEAN, NORTH AMERICA'S FIRST INDIGENOUS ARCHITECT. TO BE AN ARCHITECT WHEN HE CAME IN, HE WOULD HAVE HAD TO HAVE RENOUNCED HIS RIGHTS AS A NATIVE. HE CHANGED THAT. HE'S, YOU KNOW, THE ELDER OF THE GROUP, AND HE OPENED THE DOOR FOR EVERYONE, AND YOU HAVE WANDA, WHO BOOKENDED THE FILM AND, YOU KNOW, WHEN I VISITED HER AND SHOT HER IN PHOENIX, YOU KNOW, SHE IS TEACHING THE NEXT-NEXT GENERATION, WANDA AND THE OTHER ARCHITECTS, THEY WERE ABLE TO... YOU KNOW, THEY ONLY HAD DOUGLAS TO LOOK TO, AND HE INSPIRED THEM TO GO FORWARD AND HAVE THE STRENGTH TO BECOME WHAT THEY BECAME, AND WANDA IS NOW... YOU KNOW, I REMEMBER THAT GREAT COMMUNITY PROJECT THAT YOU WERE DOING WITH ALL THOSE KIDS. YOU MUST HAVE HAD 50 INDIGENOUS KIDS WORKING AWAY, DEVELOPING LOOKS FOR THE LOCAL COMMUNITY. IT'S JUST SO AMAZING TO SEE THE TRANSITION. AND I THINK THERE HASN'T BEEN AN INTERVIEW I'VE DONE WITH WANDA WHERE SHE DOESN'T BREAK DOWN AND START CRYING AT TIMES IN THE INTERVIEW, AND IT'S KIND OF CONTAGIOUS.

[LAUGHTER]

Wanda says THAT IS TRUE.

Steve says GIVEN THE KIND OF CONTAGIONS WE'VE DEALING WITH OVER THE LAST 15 MONTHS, THIS IS A KIND OF CONTAGION THAT I THINK WE CAN ALL GET INTO. WANDA, MAYBE YOU COULD PICK UP THE STORY THERE. THE YOUNG INDIGENOUS STUDENTS WHO ARE STUDYING TO BECOME ARCHITECTS TODAY, CAN YOU COMPARE AND CONTRAST WHAT EXPERIENCES THEY'RE HAVING TO DEAL WITH COMPARED TO WHAT YOU AND OF COURSE DOUGLAS BACK IN THE DAY WOULD HAVE?

Wanda says YEAH. I MEAN, I THINK THE TESTIMONY FROM THE STUDENTS, JUST HAVING THEM HAVE AN INDIGENOUS ARCHITECTURE PROFESSOR, YOU KNOW THAT 72 percent OF ARCHITECTURE PROFESSORS IN NORTH AMERICA ARE CAUCASIAN. SO JUST TO HAVE A WOMAN, FEMALE, NATIVE AMERICAN TEACHING ARCHITECTURE, THEIR TESTIMONY HAS SAID IT HAS CHANGED THE COURSE OF THEIR CAREER. WE HAVE STUDENTS THAT FINISH THEIR UNDERGRAD IN ARCHITECTURE AND NOW WANT TO COME BACK AND STUDY MORE. NOW I HAVE STUDENTS WHO WANT TO COME BACK AND TEACH ARCHITECTURE. IT JUST CREATES THIS OPENING FOR THEM. THEY DIDN'T KNOW, LIKE I DIDN'T KNOW, THAT THERE WAS SUCH A THING AS ARCHITECTURE, INDIGENOUS ARCHITECTURE, AND HOW IT WAS SO POWERFUL FOR OUR PATHWAYS AND REPRESENTATION OF OUR CULTURE. THERE ARE SO MANY VITAL FACETS TO THIS WORK THAT I THINK NOW I REALIZE WHY I'M HERE. THIS IS PART OF MY PURPOSE . IT'S TO GIVE BACK TO THE NEXT GENERATION.

Steve says WONDERFUL. WITHOUT QUESTION, AND I'M GOING TO ASK OUR DIRECTOR TO BRING UP THESE IMAGES HERE, WE'RE GOING TO SHOW SOME PICTURES NOW WHAT IS PLAIN AND SIMPLE ONE OF THE MOST FAMOUS BUILDINGS IN THE ENTIRE COUNTRY. THIS IS THE CANADIAN MUSEUM OF HISTORY IN GATINEAU, QUEBEC, WHAT THEY USED TO CALL HULL WHEN I WAS A KID AND, WELL, DOUGLAS CARDINAL, THIS IS YOUR WORK ON DISPLAY.

A picture shows the Canadian Museum of History. The building is wide, at least four stories tall and has a curvy beige stone façade.
Another picture shows the building seen from afar, showcasing two huge cupolas.

Steve continues CAN YOU TELL US... BOY, I REMEMBER WHEN THIS BUILDING OPENED AND VISITED IT AND THOUGHT TO MYSELF: I'VE NEVER SEEN ANYTHING LIKE THIS EVER BEFORE EVER IN MY LIFE. WHAT WERE YOU HOPING TO CONVEY WITH THIS DESIGN?

Douglas says I WANTED TO CONVEY A VISION THAT MY ELDERS GAVE ME FOR THE DESIGN. I ASKED MY ELDERS TO PRESENT A VISION FOR ME AND TO BE ABLE TO HAVE ME INSPIRED BY THEIR VISION, AND THEY WANTED IT TO BE A PLACE FOR ALL PEOPLE TO COME TOGETHER IN PEACE AND HARMONY AND LEARN FROM EACH OTHER AND BE ENRICHED BY OTHER PEOPLE'S CULTURE AND KNOWING OTHER PEOPLE'S CULTURE, AND IT WAS A PLACE FOR ALL CULTURES TO COME TOGETHER. WHEN WE HAD THAT VISION VERY POWERFULLY AND I MET WITH PRIME MINISTER PIERRE ELLIOTT TRUDEAU, HE HAD THE SAME VISION. SO OUR VISIONS WERE THE SAME, REALLY, OF THE KIND OF BUILDING WE SHOULD DESIGN FOR THE MUSEUM BECAUSE HE WANTED IT TO BE ONE OF THE SYMBOLS OF NATIONHOOD. HE WANTED TO DEVELOP SYMBOLS OF NATIONHOOD LIKE GALLERIES TO ENSHRINE OUR ART AND A MUSEUM TO ENSHRINE OUR CULTURES AND A CONSTITUTION TO ENSHRINE OUR RIGHTS. SO HE WANTED THOSE AS SYMBOLS OF NATIONHOOD. AND HIS NOTION OF NATIONHOOD WAS ALL THE CULTURES TO COME TOGETHER AND CELEBRATE WE WERE SO DIFFERENT AND SO UNIQUE AND SO DIVERSE AND WE HAD SO MUCH THAT WE COULD SHARE WITH EACH OTHER AND LEARN FROM EACH OTHER AND LEARN HOW VARIED THE HUMAN FAMILY IS AND HOW WONDERFUL THAT IS, TO BE ABLE TO... AND THAT WE WOULD BE ENRICHED BY OTHER PEOPLE'S CULTURE. AND THAT WAS HIS VISION AND IT WAS VIRTUALLY THE SAME VISION AS OUR ELDERS' OUT WEST THAT INSPIRED ME AS WELL.

Steve says LET'S TAKE A LOOK AT ONE MORE CLIP FROM THE DOCUMENTARY "FROM EARTH TO SKY." SHELDON, IF YOU WOULD?

Another clip from the documentary plays.

A caption reads "Shingwauk Hall. Algoma University. Sault Saint Marie, Ontario."

Two men walk towards a building. One is in his thirties and one is in his fifties.

The younger man says I ALWAYS LAUGH WHEN YOU TELL THE STORY ABOUT HOW MOST OF THE RESIDENTIAL SCHOOL SURVIVORS EITHER WANT THE BUILDINGS BURNED DOWN OR THEY WANT THEM SAVED TO.

The older man says I WAS ALWAYS A BIG FAN OF BLOWING THEM UP. TO HAVE SOMETHING PLUNKED DOWN THAT'S SO FOREIGN, RIGHT?

The younger man says THREE STOREYS.

The older man says RIGHT. CAN YOU IMAGINE WHAT THE KIDS MUST HAVE FELT LIKE COMING FROM THEIR SMALL COMMUNITIES AND HAVING TO BE ACCOMMODATED HERE?

The younger man says A MONSTER.

The older man says A MONSTROUS KIND OF BUILDING, EH? TOTALLY.

The younger man says ARCHITECTURE OF INTIMIDATION.

The clip ends.

Steve says ARCHITECTURE OF INTIMIDATION. WANDA, WE HAVE ABOUT A MINUTE AND A HALF LEFT HERE. I JUST WOULD BE INTERESTED IN YOUR VIEW ON WHAT WE SHOULD DO WITH ALL THESE RESIDENTIAL SCHOOL BUILDINGS THAT STILL DOT THE LANDSCAPE OF THIS COUNTRY?

The caption changes to "Building reconciliation."

Wanda says IT'S SO INTERESTING YOU ASK THAT QUESTION BECAUSE I FEEL THERE'S A VERY POLARIZED... IF YOU ASK OUR COMMUNITIES, THERE'S POLARIZED OPINION. THERE ARE THOSE WHO BELIEVE WE SHOULD KEEP THEM AS A MEMORY OF WHAT HAS HAPPENED IN OUR CANADIAN PAST AND THAT THERE ARE OTHERS, SIMILARLY, WHAT BRIAN WAS TALKING ABOUT IN THE VIDEO, THAT WANT THEM DEMOLISHED I, ON THE ONE HAND, MY PERSPECTIVE IS WE SHOULD KEEP THEM. THEY ARE PART OF OUR CANADIAN HISTORY. WE DON'T WANT THE TRUTH TO GO AWAY. WE WANT PEOPLE TO KNOW THAT THIS IS PART OF OUR PAST. SO THAT WOULD BE MY PERSPECTIVE.

Steve says THERE'S ONE TWO HOURS WEST OF HERE IN BRANTFORD, ONTARIO, THAT THEY'VE TURNED INTO A MUSEUM. I CAN TELL YOU HAVING BEEN THERE A COUPLE OF TIMES IT TELLS AN IMPORTANT STORY AND IT'S AN IMPORTANT STORY TO BE TOLD AND THEY'VE DONE A GREAT JOB WITH THAT THERE. OKAY. THAT'S GOOD TO KNOW.

Wanda says YEAH.

Steve says LET ME FINALLY SAY HERE THAT THE DOCUMENTARY THAT WE'VE BEEN TALKING ABOUT WILL AIR ON TVO TONIGHT OF COURSE IMMEDIATELY AFTER THIS PROGRAM, AND IT'S GOING TO BE PART OF A VERY IMPORTANT FILM FESTIVAL ON MANITOULIN ISLAND, OF ALL PLACES. THE WINGASH INTERNATIONAL FILM FESTIVAL ON MANITOULIN ISLAND. UNFORTUNATELY BECAUSE OF CoVID WE'RE NOT GOING TO BE ABLE TO GATHER IN PERSON TO WATCH IT. RON, HAVE I GOT THIS RIGHT? THE FESTIVAL IS DIGITAL AND FROM JULY 8TH TO 11TH, PEOPLE CAN GO TO THE WEBSITE AND THEY CAN CHECK OUT THE FILM AND IT'S GOING TO HAPPEN IN THAT WAY AS SO MANY THINGS HAVE OVER THE PAST 15 MONTHS. HAVE YOU GOT THAT RIGHT?

Ron says THAT'S IT. MANITOULIN.

The caption changes to "Producer: Cara Stern, @carastern."

Steve says THAT'S W-E-E-N-G-E-S-K-H-K, INTERNATIONAL FILM FESTIVAL. I CAN'T THANK THE THREE OF YOU ENOUGH FOR COMING ONTO OUR PROGRAM AND SHARING YOUR VIEWS ON THIS MOST WONDERFUL DOCUMENTARY. RON, YOU'VE DONE IT AGAIN. WANDA DALLA COSTA, DOUGLAS CARDINAL, RON CHAPMAN, GOOD WISHES TO YOU ALL GOING FORWARD.

Watch: Designing Indigenous Architecture in Canada