Michelle La Flamme - Native Education Centre

Artists' Memories of Mount Pleasant
9 Stations
17:15 min Audio
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Michelle La Flamme - Native Education Centre


Michelle reflects on the NEC as a welcoming space in her community. She outlines some of the features of the design that make it unique in the condo-land of Mount Pleasant.


One of the things I love about stopping at this location at the NEC is that I think about, first of all, the construction. Here we are in like artists workspace, condo land, and then there’s this amazing West Coast-inspired construction. And I know that the perimeter has been aided by the plant knowledge of Cease Wyss. And so every now and again, you can come by here, there’ll be some berries. There’s lots of birds that stop by here. And one of the things I love about this location is that anytime I come here, there is always an opportunity that the door is open to go in. You can have a cup of coffee, the walls are lined with little bios of leaders from Coast Salish territory. And so every now and again, I would come by here or I’d hear a drum, or I would see that the fire was on and I would just walk in. There was always a sense of feeling really welcomed.

And then, in more formal times, I’ve been invited to come when students are graduating from here. And the east door, which looks like an architectural feature, actually is part of the ceremony that is used during graduation. And the students enter through the east as in a ceremony and are, uh, going through their convocation. And so, I just have lots of really positive memories about this space - nurturing, culturally informed. And it’s a community centre really. And it’s the one place where most people who are going to go into post-secondary education, who are Indigenous have some kind of a connection here before they go on to wherever else they go. And so, it’s very powerful. They almost lost their funding and they almost had to shut their doors. And a lot of people came together to make sure that the doors stayed open and, every time I come by here, I feel my heart feels really full because I know such good work is happening in this space.

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