By William Crooks
Local Journalism Initiative
Bishop’s University (BU) unveiled an ongoing new documentary project by its Indigenous Student Support Centre. The announcement, held on Thursday, Nov. 9 at 12 p.m. in the McConnell Agora of the Library Learning Commons, focused on the creation and history of Kwigw8mna, BU’s new Indigenous Centre. Shawna Chatterton Jerome, the Coordinator of Indigenous Student Support Services, introduced the filmmaker leading the project, Daniel Brière, and discussed the motivation behind this important initiative. The event concluded with a question-and-answer session, offering further insights into the documentary.
“It was built in 1891,” said Chatterton Jerome, referring to the building that will become Kwigw8mna (formerly known as Divinity House). Conversations about the building’s new role began in 2017; it was in need of major repairs – one option was to simply tear it down.
In 2019, BU received $5.9 million in funding from the Quebec government and was going to fundraise another million on its own to repurpose the building as an Indigenous Support Centre.
Between 2020 and 2021, tensions arose between the Indigenous Club involved in the project and BU administration revolving around the final form the building would take. “We weren’t feeling like our voices were being heard,” Chatterton Jerome recounted.