Architects appoint Gosselin as president
- Andréa Ledding | July 06, 2016
“This is the first time in the entire history of the Saskatchewan Association of Architecture that they’ve inaugurated a president of Indigenous ancestry,” explains Ray Gosselin, the Indigenous president in question. It was a long process to get there, he explains, going through other elected positions first.
Gosselin has been an architect for 29 years, working in large and small offices and post-secondary institutions. He’s had his own firm for three years now.
Related: Indigenous architects hope to encourage students
“I grew up in Estevan and I am of mixed ancestry - German, Métis, and First Nation - but I am a member of Muscowpetung First Nation,” he explained. He attended the U of S in pre-architecture and then did his Master of Architecture at Dalhousie in Halifax. The U of S is opening the 13th architecture school in Canada, something Gosselin is involved in as president of the SAA.
“As president I’m an ambassador for making sure the new school gets carried out,” he said. “Saskatchewan has the lowest number per capita in terms of Aboriginal architects so having that school would help.”
The new program will be unique and have Indigenous components and faculty if Gosselin has anything to say about it, and high appeal for Indigenous students: the apprenticeship is going to be incorporated right into the program curriculum.
“We need to do a significant amount of educating to let Aboriginal students know there is an option to go into this profession. The problem is, Indigenous employees are hard to find that are skilled in the professional degrees. Indigenous architects and students, once they become registered, certainly realize their value and get employed or start their own firms. But trying to attract or find them can be challenging.”
One significant task for him will be adding an Indigenous flair to the next AGM of the SAA which will be in Saskatoon at the Sheraton.
“I’m certainly going to have an Elders circle where I highlight some of the founding members of the SAA (original architects) and have a write-up about them and create this display so our membership are reminded of our predecessors,” he noted, adding a better bridge would be built between the youth and the Elders. He also hopes to have some Indigenous talent and a retreat at Wanuskewin.
And Gosselin has another goal as president: to recognize First Nation and treaty territories, something that has never been done in the architecture profession specifically.