From the Eastern shores of Turtle Island to the Western end of Ojibwe Gitchi-Gameh (Lake Superior), the migration story of the Anishnaabe people is rich and fascinating.
That story is now represented at Humber College’s Lakeshore campus by the installation “The Great Migration,” a series of markers located in the quad and paintings on the front windows of the Lakeshore Welcome Centre.
Humber College is located in Adoobiigok, known as "Place of the Black Alders" in the Ojibwe Anishinaabe language. It is uniquely situated along GabeKanang Ziibi, the Humber River providing an integral connection for Indigenous peoples between the northern shore of Lake Ontario and the Lake Simcoe Georgian Bay region.
“The inspiration for the Indigenous Cultural Markers came from the desire to find a contemporary way to explore the land acknowledgement for the geographic area where Humber is located,” said Shelley Charles, dean, Indigenous Education and Engagement. “It’s our responsibility to ensure we provide as many histories as possible in the education and knowledge we impart.”
The markers were officially unveiled on November 8 in a ceremony that featured Jingle Dress dancers and a drum circle, as well as remarks from Elizabeth Dowdeswell, Lieutenant Governor of Ontario.
“(The installation) is so thoughtfully done, it’s wonderful,” Dowdeswell said after the ceremony and a tour of the markers.
“It was fascinating to see them through an aesthetic eye ... Then to hear the architect who took us on the tour talk about the meaning behind them, why they were there and what they represent on this great migration.”
Brook McIlroy architects Ryan Gorrie and David Thomas served as the lead designers for this project. In total, six mostly indigenous designers worked on the markers. The firm has also designed a third installation, which will be part of the Barrett Centre for Technology Innovation when it opens next year at North Campus.
“The places where we live have a history that predates contact,” Gorrie said.
“It’s powerful and it speaks to the commitment Humber has to raising the profile of Indigenous education and design. There’s a lot of power in having our Indigenous people on all sides of the (design) process. There’s magic that happens when those processes are done in that way.”