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Department of Leadership, Higher and Adult Education

AECD Legacy: The Story of the Photos in 7-162

By Dr. Bonnie Burstow



Photo by Danny Beaton

The story of the photographs along the walls of 7-162 in the Adult Education and Community Development program is one well worth telling. The collection says something special about Indigenous as well as Adult Education values and the strong connection between the two.

The story began some 20 years ago with Indigenous activist and photographer Danny Beaton, who decided to travel the world and talk to various wise Indigenous people about the environment, an important topic to his heart. Having felt this journey was a gift, he made sure to take photographs of everyone with whom he met. To express his gratitude for everyone’s kindness and wisdom, he then presented the collection of photographs to The Transformative Learning Centre (TLC).

As it happens, the TLC, which was and continues to be intimately connected with the Adult Education (AECP) program, and headed at the time by AECP faculty member Dr. Edmund O’Sullivan, decided to frame all the pictures and give them as a gift to the Indigenous Education Network (IEN), likewise headquarter in the AECP program.

Dr. Laara Fitznor, who headed IEN, was later moved by the same spirit and so, decided to contribute the pictures to the Adult Education Program. She remembers those days warmly, “Visionary scholar Edmund O’Sullivan saw the immense capacity of Danny Beaton’s vision and works to acknowledge the presence of Indigenous people’s voices, works, visions and wisdom that promoted Indigenous knowledges in different ways. He did this through his photographic collection and that they could ‘speak for themselves’. In this way we could continue to nurture the spirit of the Indigenous voices to show ‘all our relations’ to continue our future endeavours will be supported from the great works of ‘all our relations’. The ways that we can all walk together (allies, supporters, Indigenous voices) is critical to the future of us.”

So, if you find yourself in 7-162, know that you are in a space that represents both Indigenous and Adult Education values and that wisdom, generosity, sharing is what we and the photographic collection represent.