New renderings of the First Peoples’ Gathering House showcased in open house event

September 21, 2021

Another key milestone is reached for the First Peoples’ Gathering House project as architectural renderings were showcased to the SFU community in mid-September.

Designed by local architecture firm, Urban Arts Architecture, the First Peoples’ Gathering house for Indigenous students, staff and faculty to practice, learn and share their cultural traditions will be replacing the aging Strand Hall Annex located on Burnaby campus. The $15 million project is jointly funded by the provincial government and SFU. Consultation with key stakeholders, including host nations, knowledge holders, and other partners continues on some of the interior spaces within the longhouse. The long-awaited facility will feature a ceremonial hall that can host special events for up to 300 attendees, a dressing room, an Elders room, a classroom, a wellness room, and a multi-generational Indigenous peoples’ lounge.

The First Peoples’ Gathering House represents SFU’s ongoing commitment to reconciliation work through the 34 Calls to Action as outlined in the 2017 Walk this Path with Us report, specifically the commitment to fostering safe and welcoming Indigenous spaces on campus. Call to Action #3 under this commitment aims to “reinvigorate long-delayed plans for creating a culturally appropriate ceremonial hall and space.”

From left to right: Joanne Curry, Vice-President External Relations; Jennie Blankinship, Acting Director, SFU Office of Indigenous Education; Ron Johnston, Director, SFU Office for Aboriginal Peoples; Joy Johnson, SFU President & Vice-Chancellor
; and Ourie Scott,Tlicho Dene architect, Urban Arts Architecture.

Not only will the First Peoples’ Gathering House be used as a safe space for the SFU Indigenous community, but also serve as a cultural hub for the use and education of all SFU community members and visitors as recommended by SFU’s Aboriginal Reconciliation Council (SFU-ARC) within the Walk this Path with Us report.

Construction is expected to begin in Spring 2022 with an opening date slated for Winter 2023/24. For more information about the First Peoples’ Gathering House, visit the project page here.

Learn more about progress toward reconciliation at SFU