AMES, Iowa — Willie J. Ermine, a retired assistant professor with the First Nations University of Canada and an advocate for the ethical space of engagement, will present the 2023 P.H. Elwood Lecture in Landscape Architecture at Iowa State University.

Ermine will speak about “Ethical Spaces” at 6:30 p.m. Wednesday, March 1, in 0114 Student Innovation Center. A reception will follow. Both the lecture and reception are open to the public.

About the speaker

Ermine is from the Sturgeon Lake First Nation in the north-central part of Saskatchewan where he lives with his family.

As a faculty member, he lectured in the areas of education, humanities, Indigenous studies and research methods. He has published numerous academic articles and contributed reports to the Interagency Advisory Panel on Research Ethics’ Tri-Council Policy Statement. He has presented at various national and international conferences and symposiums on topics such as education, research and the nature of Indigenous thought.

Throughout his research, Ermine, a Cree Elder, has worked extensively with Elders. He promotes ethical practices of research involving Indigenous peoples and is particularly interested in the conceptual development of the “ethical space” — a theoretical space between cultures and worldviews where people from different backgrounds and belief systems can engage in constructive dialogue.

“There are spaces that are magnificent, majestic, cathedral-like and soul nurturing. There are also spaces that evade our perception, so minute, so mysterious, but influential nevertheless. Most of these spaces are ancient, predating our presence in their midst. What they have in common is that they need our human presence to acknowledge them in their form,” Ermine says.

“This acknowledgement is an encounter, an interface, an interaction and an engagement of disparity, an engagement with the other. How we approach this interface of beings determines its authenticity and enduring qualities of engagement. The ethics of a living universe in all its forms guides the animation of these interactive spaces that can either result in our competency or see disintegration of our intentions.”

In his presentation at Iowa State, Ermine will discuss issues of ethics and rules of engagement with the seen and unseen matrix we are immersed in.

About the Elwood Lecture

The P.H. Elwood Lecture in Landscape Architecture was established in 1997 to honor the legacy of Professor Philip H. Elwood, who is credited with developing the ISU Department of Landscape Architecture at Iowa State University. The lecture series brings renowned professional practitioners to the Iowa State campus as guest lecturers each year.


Carl Rogers, Chair, Department of Landscape Architecture, rogersc@iastate.edu
Heather Sauer, Director of Strategic Communications, College of Design, hsauer@iastate.edu