In the 2010s, Brook McIlroy, Indigenous students of Mohawk College, and the Six Nations First Nation and the Mississaugas of the Credit First Nation Elders and members collaborated in the creation of the Hoop Dance Gathering Place (or the Indigenous Gathering Place) at Mohawk College in Hamilton, Ontario. Completed in 2016, located on the traditional territory of the Haudenosaunee and Anishnaabeg Nations, and protected by the Dish with One Spoon wampum agreement, the Hoop Dance Gathering Place represents the importance of collaboration between colleges/universities and Indigenous peoples. The Hoop Dance Gathering Place is the beginning of a process towards decolonizing college and university spaces, which currently prioritize non-Indigenous students, non-Indigenous knowledge, and non-Indigenous history despite residing on Indigenous territory.
The Hoop Dance Gathering Place is a circular open-air pavilion featuring a seating area, non-orthogonal wooden poles, a fire circle, and a Medicine Wheel covering. Because it was designed in collaboration with Indigenous peoples, it contains many Indigenous aspects, including reference to “the layered spatial organization of the Longhouse.” The Longhouse was a type of house construction used predominantly by Indigenous Nations in what is now southern Ontario. Longhouses featured thick wooden posts driven into the ground and beams bent along the top to form roofs. Today, as with the Hoop Dance Gathering Place, Longhouses represent places of gathering for ceremonies, meetings, and community space.
Notice the Medicine Wheel covering and five elements: open-air pavilion, fire circle, water garden, traditional garden and a Three Sisters gardenn. Credit: BrookMcIlroy, “Hoop Dance Indigenous Gathering Place at Mohawk College”
The Hoop Dance Gathering Place includes five elements:
- an “open-air pavilion;
- a fire circle;
- a water garden;
- a traditional garden; and a
- Three Sisters garden” (see images above). 
The Gathering Place’s openness allows individuals to enter from different directions rather than a conventional single point of entry. Its non-orthogonal and slanted shape as well as its “dynamic spatial character” suggest “a structure in motion—expressive of the Indigenous belief in the animate nature of things.” For example, while sitting inside, one can watch the change in shadows cast by the asymmetrical poles and upper circles as the sun crosses the sky.
The Hoop Dance Gathering Place’s location on the campus of Mohawk College encourages the space’s accessibility for both students and the public. It is open for individual use, ceremonies, and events. Mohawk College’s goal is that it “will serve as a venue for traditional ceremonies, a tool for teaching, a place to meditate or quietly study.”
Although the Hoop Dance Gathering Place is one of few Indigenous monuments/spaces on Canadian campuses, its inclusion at Mohawk College will hopefully serve not only as a structure for future Indigenous spaces but also as a point of departure toward decolonizing academic spaces. The collaborative approach adopted for the creation of the Hoop Dance Gathering Place will hopefully lead to greater collaboration in the future, not only in the shaping of space but, more importantly, in the structuring of academia.
 “Hoop Dance Indigenous Gathering Place at Mohawk College,” BrookMcIlroy, https://brookmcilroy.com/projects/hoop-dance-indigenous-gathering-place-at-mohawk-college-2/.
 For more on Longhouses, visit René R. Gadacz, “Longhouse,” The Canadian Encyclopedia, https://www.thecanadianencyclopedia.ca/en/article/longhouse.
 ” Hoop Dance Indigenous Gathering Place at Mohawk College,” BrookMcIlroy, https://brookmcilroy.com/projects/hoop-dance-indigenous-gathering-place-at-mohawk-college-2/.
 “The Indigenous Gathering Place (IGP),” Mohawk College, https://www.mohawkcollege.ca/indigenous-students/our-spaces/indigenous-gathering-place-igp.
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