Indigenous Learning Space 

Indigenous Learning Space 

Opening November 2022, The Indigenous Learning Space (ILS) was developed by The Office of Indigenous Initiatives and Western is working to create an intercultural teaching, learning and gathering space that shares and centres Indigenous epistemologies and pedagogies. 

 The purpose of the space is to facilitate and coordinate services and programming for the Indigenous community at Western as well as the wider community at Western and the Deshkan Zibi territory. The space will serve as a touchstone for Indigenous Graduate and Undergraduate students, as well as faculty and staff. It will welcome on-campus Indigenous engagement and initiatives and seek to engage local Indigenous communities in partnership. 

 “Students, staff, faculty and community really wanted in this space that people could call a second home on campus; someplace that was going to be warm, inviting, cozy and a place to just relax”, says Paula Cornelius-Hedgepeth, Community Relations and Space Coordinator. “We wanted earthy, warm and inviting. We want you to walk into the building and feel like you’re having a big hug.” 

 When visitors walk into the space, you are greeted with greetings in the seven languages of the local indigenous languages and Indigenous artwork. 

 Natural elements were brought into the ILS space in thoughtful ways. There are windows in every direction, and markings on the floor that illustrate the solstice. There is a large tree from Western’s campus that was cured and is incorporated into the space in artwork and furniture. The wellness room in the basement is designed to be a tranquil environment, with a floor-to-ceiling water feature where students can relax to the subtle sound of the flowing water.  

 The ILS can be found adjacent to the Faculty of Education, at 1137 Western Road. The grand opening schedule can be found online at indigenouslearningspace.uwo.ca and students are welcome at all events.