Sharing his heritage

Image of William Woodworth aka Elder Bill

Engineering's Elder in Residence offers courses and counselling grounded in his Indigenous background

Passionate about sharing his Indigenous heritage, an adjunct architecture professor named a new course after the ceremony his ancestors have used for thousands of years to welcome visitors to their homeland — At the Woods Edge.

This semester, William Woodworth, also known as Elder Bill, started teaching the course focused on the relationships between Indigenous peoples and settlers from the 16th century to today, and how those associations have affected both engineering and architecture.

Woodworth’s offering draws, in part, on his background as a member of the Lower Mohawk Kanien'kehá:ka Nation of Six Nations of the Grand River in the Bear Clan.

In the mid-1990s, he had the opportunity to apprentice with Cayuga Chief Jacob Ezra Thomas Deyohonwedah of the Six Nations of the Grand River Territory where he was immersed in the Haudenosaunee practices and culture.

Born in the United States, Woodworth completed an architecture degree at the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor.

Building on his architectural education, he launched William Woodworth Architect in Toronto in 1980 and practiced as a member of the Ontario Association of Architects, and the Royal Architectural Institute of Canada.

In 1993, he took a sabbatical to teach at the Lawrence Technological University outside of Detroit. From there, he began doctoral studies at the California Institute of Integral Studies in the program Recovery of the Indigenous mind and graduated in 2001.

Read more of Carol Truemner's article.