Na’tsa’maht: The Gathering Place

In 2011, the college celebrated the opening of Na’tsa’maht: The Gathering Place at Lansdowne campus.

Na’tsa’maht is a physical manifestation of the philosophy, beliefs, and mission of Eye? Sqa’lewen: The Centre for Indigenous Education & Community Connections (IECC), where people can meet and engage as diverse communities.

Na’tsa’maht is located very close to the Wilna Thomas Cultural Centre, and provides a welcoming location for Camosun’s Indigenous programs to host circle seminars and Elders’ teachings.

Lkwungen Elder Butch Dick says he “saw the building forming in his mind,” while attending one of Camosun’s bi-annual Camas Harvest and Pit Cook Demonstrations. He envisioned an arbour-like structure and handed a sketch to Janice Simcoe, saying: “Here’s your new building.”

The conical and open-sided design was inspired by traditional Coast Salish building styles. Using 18 huge cedar logs to support the structure, Brad Shuya Architect Inc. prepared drawings from Mr. Dick’s sketches and Canpro Construction Ltd. started construction in June 2010. Within the circular structure, a gas-powered fire, surrounded by stones, is centered in a broad expanse of floor. Three tiers of wooden benches look in from the sides offering circular seating for a couple hundred people. Outside, an accompanying Indigenous plant garden has taken root. The building was funded by a special Indigenous Gathering Place Grant from the BC Ministry of Advanced Education.

Butch Dick also suggested the name of the new building, Na’tsa’maht.

Comments 2

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *