In 2016, River Road on Dal’s Agricultural campus was renamed to Sipu Awti (the Mi’kmaq translation) and The Mi’kmaq Grand Council Flag was permanently installed in recognition that the Campus sits on the traditional territory of the Mi’kmaq people. Historically, the Mi’kmaq lived along the banks of the Salmon River. In 1885, the province established the School of Agriculture, also on the banks of the river, and when the school started expanding the Mi’kmaq inhabitants of the area were relocated.
After you check out the art, wander along the trail. There you’ll find sections of the Berlin wall! And if you haven’t had your fill of landscape architecture after seeing Rick‘s piece, go check out the campus’ rock garden...on Rock Garden Rd.
The Mi’kmaw Lunar Cycle - Bringing Together Cultures and Seasonal Knowledge
This landscape art installation represents the Mi’kmaw lunar cycle. It is a type of eco-calendar and brings together western scientific and indigenous wisdom through knowledge renewal and communication. This experience was developed through the method of Two-Eyed Seeing, whereby traditional aboriginal knowledge and conventional science each guide the other towards a unified appreciation of the Moon Cycle.
The small outdoor area provides interpretation about Mi’kmaw culture and a place to walk and relax within nature.
• The lunar cycle is split into 4 primary moon phases as outlined by the various stones with the moon cycle around them (12 months or moons).
• There are 4 moon crescent shapes within the larger full-moon circle, each with different reflective materials.
• The installation & walkway layout intersects the lunar circle at the curvature angle or path of the annual solar eclipse (June 10/11).
• The annual lunar cycle is expressed in 12 wood signs with the Mi’kmaq name and English translation for the moons of the Mi’kmaq calendar.
• The large vertical elm functions as a sundial and can be used to estimate the time.
• The shiny-leafed plant species were used for medicinal purposes by the Mi’kmaq. In Mi'kmaw, the word for the period of time between the beginning of November and the beginning of December is keptekewiku’s, which roughly translates to "Rivers Starting to Freeze.” Do rivers in what is now called Nova Scotia start to freeze in November anymore? How has climate change altered seasonal events? How have humans changed the environment in which you live, work and play? What can Indigenous knowledge teach us about climate change?
Designer Richard leBrasseur, PhD, is Assistant Professor of Landscape Architecture at Dalhousie University. Based on a concept by Han Xie (Class of 2019) and configured & installed by Victoria Moffat (Class of 2022), this landscape installation collaboration showcases how landscape architects inspire healthy living and wellbeing while protecting natural environments and people - creating vibrant community spaces. Dr. leBrasseur is Director of the interdisciplinary Green Infrastructure Performance Lab (www. gipl.land). His research focuses on the eco-spatial characteristics of peri-urban green spaces and their effects on environmental quality and human health, in particular the ecosystem services provided by green infrastructure. His studies examine the contribution to urban ecosystems made by green infrastructure within the context of the fragmented landscapes inherent in urbanizing communities and expanding cities.
Collaborator Victoria Moffatt (she/her) is proud to call the Northshore of Nova Scotia home after many years travelling and exploring the globe. Having studied fine art, photography and holistic nutrition she is excited to complete her fourth and final year at Dalhousie studying Landscape Architecture where previous endeavors have led her. Victoria is excited to begin her future career as a Landscape Architect and will continue to work on projects within her community, providing valuable benefits for ecosystem health and human wellbeing.
Arthur Stevens is a Mi'kmaw community member from Millbrook First Nation in Nova Scotia. As a published artist, illustrator, and graphic designer, Arthur is an award-winning Indigenous professional who takes pride in sharing his creative works and is always looking for artistic opportunities that engage and promote connections between Indigenous and non-Indigenous peoples. Arthur provided a seminar to Dalhousie University’s Landscape Architecture students in 2019 on the lunar cycle and was the inspiration for this project.
In 2018, EAC assembled a diverse group of environmental organizations, Indigenous groups, student groups, labour organizations, academics, and artists. The idea was to collectively imagine what climate justice could look like in Mi'kma'ki. Together they drafted the 2030 Declaration, which later became an influential document when groups beyond the network were calling for new climate goals in Nova Scotia. The declaration called on the Government of Nova Scotia to prevent the worst impacts of climate change - which is already affecting our health, livelihoods, and communities - by setting strong greenhouse gas emission targets and to meet those targets in a way that recognizes treaty rights and the structural inequities of race, gender, income, and the ongoing impacts of colonization and environmental racism in the province.