Architectural Design Studio Among the Innus

June 21, 2024

Today, on the summer solstice, June 21, EVOQ celebrates National Indigenous Peoples Day.  To mark the occasion, we’d like to share with you a deeply moving experience that occurred in the Innu community of Uashat mak Mani-utenam, near Sept-Îles.

For the past 6 years, Eric Moutquin and Alain Fournier have been invited by the Université de Montréal School of Architecture to give a unique design studio that brings students face-to-face with an indigenous community.

This year, the students were working on the development of a multifunctional center located in the middle of the Ka uatshinakanashkasht sector [where there are larches], also known as Georges Ernest. This new and fast-developing district is spread out on either side of a community and recreational heart in the making.

In order to understand the issues at stake, and in particular the community’s desire to put forward the Innu culture in its built environment, we traveled to Uashat mak Mani-utenam with the students. We were warmly welcomed, accommodated in the community, and introduced to traditional foods.

What memorable encounters between elders and students! We played (and won) bingo!  We visited and explored the community and its museum. We ended up warm and cozy around a fire in a natuakaikanitshuap, nourished by words of Innu wisdom.

Here are a few images of our visit and the results of the various student projects, all carried out with respect for the community’s vision and needs.

All this was made possible thanks to the support and generosity of exceptional people.

Our most sincere thanks to ITUM, Edith Garneau, Lauréat Moreau, Thérèse Ambroise, Gaëlle André-Lescop, Jenny-Lee Vachon, and Gilbert Vollant, not forgetting Ovila Fontaine and all the elders who welcomed us with open hearts and arms.

Tshinashkumitinau !

 

Memorable moments around the fire in a natuakaikanitshuap
The traditional Innu cliffside site of Maliotenam
The boardroom INNU TAKUAIKAN Uashat Mak Mani-utenam
Wonderful encounter with elders at the Shaputuan Museum
Beginner’s luck, students win at CKAU Radio bingo!

Presentation of traditional objects with Ovila Fontaine

Sunset on the beach at Uashat

 

Team’s proposals:

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Team 1 : History
Achraf Benhabbaz, Daniela Pinzon, Magaly Roukoz

 

Team 2 : Culture
Karen Berbari, Maria Moreno Ramirez, Braisa Gurreonero

 

Team 3 : Architecture
Paul Decaestecker, Jules Mercier, Justine Sélim

 

Team 4 : Territory
Mak Ékoué, Rachel Dubreil, Samuelle Bolduc

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