Image Courtesy of Ryan Gorrie

Summer Institute II: Indigenous Architectures| Panel Discussion | Cheyenne Thomas, Ryan Gorrie, and David Thomas

Moderated by Joar Nango

Thursday, August 08, 2019 – 6pm
Plug In Institute of Contemporary Art | 1, 460 Portage Ave | Winnipeg MB | Canada

Plug In ICA was pleased to present a panel discussion between Cheyenne Thomas, Ryan Gorrie, and David Thomas moderated by Joar Nango in conjunction with the Summer Institute II: Indigenous Architectures. Each speaker gave a brief overview of their respective practice and spoke about Indigenous urbanisms, architectures and landscape design projects in the city of Winnipeg and beyond.

Cheyenne Thomas is an Anishinaabe designer from Peguis and Sagkeeng First Nations. She graduated in 2013 from the Faculty of Architecture with an Environmental Design degree. She has worked on numerous Indigenous architecture, landscape, and installations across Canada. She is a facilitator and designer for the Indigenous Gardens at the Assiniboine Park. She has presented in London, New Zealand, and extensively across Canada. Currently, Thomas is a board member for the Forks and North Portage Partnership, and passionate about bringing her people’s visions and values into her projects.

Ryan Gorrie has been collaborating with Brook McIlroy since 2009, when he was retained as a key member of the design team for the award-winning Spirit Garden in Thunder Bay, and formally joined the firm in 2016 to lead the Indigenous Design Studio. Ryan is a member of Bingwi Neyaashi Anishinaabek (Sand Point First Nation on Lake Nipigon) and strives to ensure the perpetuation of Indigenous culture through creative opportunities ranging from the crafting of traditional items for ceremonial use to large-scale landmark architecture. In 2018, Ryan’s work was showcased in UNCEDED: Voices of the Land at the Venice Biennale along with the work of 17 other Indigenous architects and designers across Turtle Island.

David Thomas is Anishinaabe, a member of Peguis First Nation, in the architecture profession for over 20 years.  He is currently involved in the development of the Indigenous People’s Garden at Assiniboine Park part of Canada’s Diversity Garden. Along with Indigenous architecture projects and installations in Toronto and Vancouver, David has presented in New Zealand and the UK. David was also on the team of UNCEDED, Canada’s entry of Indigenous Architects for the 2018 Venice Architecture Biennale. David’s practice, process and research focus on identity and lived experiences as an Indigenous person.

Our 2019 Summer Institute II: Indigenous Architectures is lead by Joar Nango, who is joined by Lorraine Albert, Carrie Allison, Albyn Carias, Julie Gendron, Alicia Marie Lawrence, David Peters, and Evan Taylor for a collaborative two week session that will focus on Indigenous architectures, foregrounding Indigenous approaches to design and alternative models of social space.

All programming is FREE and open to the public. Everyone welcome!


Plug In Institute of Contemporary Art recognizes we are in the territories of the Anishinaabeg, Cree, Dakota, Dene, Métis, and Oji-Cree Nations. Plug In ICA is situated in Treaty 1 territory, the ancestral and traditional homeland of Anishinaabe peoples. Treaty 1 was signed in 1871, taking this territory from seven local Anishinaabe First Nations in order to make the land available for settler use and ownership (Referenced from the University of Winnipeg).

Our Summer Institute in 2019 is generously supported by the RBC Foundation and Johnston Group.

Plug In ICA extends gratitude to our artists, generous donors, valued members and dedicated volunteers, with special thanks to our Director’s Circle. We gratefully acknowledge the support of the Canada Council for the Arts, the Manitoba Arts Council and Winnipeg Arts Council. We could not operate without their continued financial investment and lobbying efforts.

Plug In ICA relies on community support to remain free and open to the public, and enables us to continue to present excellent programs. Please consider becoming a member of Plug In ICA and a donor at or by contacting Angela Forget:

For more information on this and our education programs, contact Nasrin Himada at

For general information please contact: or call 1.204.942.1043