Honorary Degree Citation - Douglas Cardinal

by Joan Acland, June 1998

TEKWANONHWERA:TONS TSI NITSON TÉSEWE TSI NON:WE NIKANAKERAHSERA:IEN KANIÈN:KE, TANON TEKWANONHWERA:TONS NE SEWANATAHRÉ:NEN OK NI' NE ATENRO'SERA'SHON:'A.

What I just said in Mohawk language is: Welcome to Mohawk territory, welcome distinguished guest, welcome friends.

Mr. Chancellor, I have the honour to present to you Douglas Cardinal, a Canadian architect with an international reputation in design. He has been credited with having created an indigenous Canadian style of Architecture with his curvilinear, organic buildings.

One need only set eyes upon one of his most recent masterpieces, the Canadian Museum of Civilization in Hull, Quebec to appreciate his vision, his sense, his style. Long before the Museum of Civilization, there was St. Mary's Church, in Red Deer, Alberta, his birthplace, and the Grande Prairie Regional College, the Edmonton Space and Sciences Centre, St. Albert Place, many public buildings in western Canada that already defined his identity as an architect. The Touristic Village at Kahnawake is also a Cardinal design, as is the hotel complex for the Oneida Indian Nation in Syracuse, New York.

M. Cardinal a toujours dit que faire l'ébauche d'un bâtiment était un acte spirituel. II a assidûment développé une méthode précise qu'il nomme si justement comme "une voix intérieure", plaçant ainsi les humains au coeur de l'évolution de son dessin.

Sa méthode en est une d'engagement complet visant l'excellence au niveau architectural pour satisfaire du mieux possible son client.

His firm is one of North America's leading users of the computer-aided drafting system (or CAD) and was selected by the Government of Canada as a demonstration site to test and advance Canadian CAD technology. The development of this computer art has freed Mr. Cardinal and his staff from exacting manual tasks to focus on design refinement.

He completed his Bachelor of Architecture in 1963 at the University of Texas in Austin, an Honour student who went on to win several international awards and prizes in his long and illustrious career. Last year, he received the Caledonian Prize Lectureship in Edinburgh, Scotland. In 1995, he received the National Aboriginal Achievement Award and in 1992, the Canada Council Molson Prize for the Arts as well as the Great Canadian Award.

In 1990, he was made an Officer of the Order of Canada, and has six honorary doctorates, from Calgary, Windsor, Lethbridge, Trent and Carleton universities as well as from the Massachusetts School of Art.

Le fruit de son travail a été exposé en France, en Belgique et en Pologne ainsi qu'au muse d'Art moderne de New York et à travers le Canada. Il a livré à titre de conférencier invité des allocutions au Canada, aux Etats-unis, en Europe et, aussi loin, que l'Australie.

Mr. Cardinal is a Fellow of the Royal Architectural Institute and a member of the American Institute of Architects, Washington, D.C. chapter. He recently opened an office in the American capital to better serve his most recent and possibly most visible project: the national Museum of the American Indian, being built on the last remaining site on the Mall.

Mr. Chancellor, it is my privilege and an honour to present to you, on behalf of Senate and the Board of Governors, Douglas Cardinal, so that you may confer upon him the degree of Doctor of Laws, honoris causa.