Nikibii Dawadinna Giigwag

Nikibii Dawadinna Giigwag, in Anishinaabemowin (Manitoulin dialect) means Flooded Valley Healing.

This program explores a participatory model for practice that includes the voices of Indigenous youth and Elders/Traditional Knowledge Keepers (TKK) in the planning and designing of green infrastructure.

Guided by Elders/TKK, professionals and practitioners, this initiative provides Indigenous youth with employment opportunities, an introduction into sustainable design building, hands-on ecological learning opportunities and aims to address a growing inter-generational gap on traditional environmental knowledge.

About the Program

Nikibii Dawadinna Giigwag, developed collaboratively by Elder Whabagoon, Toronto and Region Conservation Authority (TRCA), the John H. Daniels Faculty of Architecture, Landscape and Design at University of Toronto, the Native Canadian Centre of Toronto and Great Lakes Waterworks Water Allies, offers participants the opportunity both to explore traditional teachings of the land, and to learn about potential career paths in fields such as architecture, urban design, conservation and filmmaking.

In 2018, a team of local Indigenous youth came together at both the Daniels Faculty at the University of Toronto and TRCA’s Bolton Camp for the inaugural program, which provided the young people with summer employment and an opportunity to contribute design ideas for the revitalization of Bolton Camp. The program challenged four high school students to plan a retrofit of two existing cabins and their surrounding landscape, and engage in storytelling through short films.

Indigenous youth work on model of Bolton Camp design

As TRCA interns, the youth were led through the program by Elder Whabagoon, and landscape architecture and urban design graduate students. They were introduced to a range of ecological field work, and also experienced guest lectures, design reviews, guided site visits to sustainable urban and landscape projects, a First Story tour, and field trips to the Native Child and Family Services headquarters, Kayanase native nursery and the office of Two Row Architect at Six Nations of the Grand River Territory.

Apply for the Program

Indigenous high school students learn about post-secondary education and career paths in the fields of Architecture, Landscape Architecture, Indigenous Studies and Environmental Sciences. Participants are employed and trained by Toronto and Region Conservation Authority (TRCA) in restoration activities, including tree planting and habitat protection. They have access to design studios, the green roof lab and cutting-edge digital fabrication workshops at the University of Toronto Daniels Faculty of Architecture, Landscape, and Design. With Elder teachings and special events at the University of Toronto First Nations House, participating youths strengthen spiritual and cultural connection to land and community.

Up to 6 employment opportunities that include:
Training and Events (Weekends/after school, part-time hours, June 2019)
Summer Internship (Monday to Thursday, up to 30 hrs/week, July/August 2019)
Presentation and Events (Weekends/after school, part-time hours, September to November 2019)

If you have any questions about the program, please contact Lucia Piccinni at lpiccinni@trca.on.ca

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We would like to extend a big thank you to all organizations, and community members for their support of this initiative with time, mentorship, financial and in-kind donations. The success of this program would not be possible without your generosity and guidance.

David Atkinson (Ryerson)
Yvonne Battista (DTAH)
Danny Bartman (Levitt Goodman Architects)
James Bird (University of Toronto)
Heather Broadbent (Bolton Historical Society)
Cal Brook (Brook McIlroy)
Heather Campbell (ERA Architects)
Kahentakeron Tyrone Deer (Kayanase Nursery)
Michael Etherington (DTAH)
Alex Gill (Ryerson Social Ventures Zone)
Shak Gobert (Bell & Bernard)
Kristina Hausmanis (City of Toronto)
Ruthanne Henry (City of Toronto)
Matthew Hickey (Two Row Architect)
Landscape Architecture Canada Foundation
Joe Loreto  (Levitt Goodman Architects)Olivia Magalhaes (Public Work)
Principal Bonnie McElhinny (UofT New College)
Marcia McVean (TDSB)
Trina Moyen (Bell & Bernard)
Andrew Palmer (Greenland Consulting Engineers)
Mark Palmer (Greenland Consulting Engineers)
Terence Radford (Trophic Design)
Nick Reid (Ryerson Urban Water)
Marc Ryan (Public Work)
Dean Richard Sommer (UofT Daniels Faculty)
Urban Watershed Group
Doug Webber (Greenland Consulting Engineers)
Dean Robert Wright (UofT Faculty of Forestry)