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Idoia Arana-Beobide

EMAKUMEEN INDARRA: Sustaining the Essence to Form

Indigenous cultures have always fostered a sense of individual service and responsibility to the community.  In the old EUSKAL ERRIA (Basque Country) the center of that structure was the ETXE, the House, and it was the domain of the ETXEKOANDRE, the matriarch. The House was the sacred embodiment of a lineage and thus its influence was experienced in the social, political, and economic realms of Basque society. In the Anishnabe tradition of Douglas Cardinal, the woman is also the center, the core, and the source of a man’s duty to his family and society. In my presentation I will explain the essence of this force in the traditional societies of the Euskalduna and Anishnabe to build a more balanced and harmonizing society. We the women are the architects and designers of society. Creating a living environment it’s not limited to structures of wood, concrete, or steel. The structure of our societies need a foundation that contemporary western societies has weakened. What does it mean to build with indigenous values? Starts honoring the ETXEA. Which is the base of our own architectural practice and studio at Douglas Cardinal Architect, Inc.


Idoia Arana-Beobide is an Euskalduna, a Basque, living in Ottawa (Canada). She was raised with strong Euskaldun traditional values that included learning ancient Basque belief systems and contemporary Catholicism. Idoia has a passion for understanding the source and adaptability of art and culture, which allows her to study the principles of such creative processes. Idoia is working and living with her Anishinabe husband, the world famous architect Douglas Cardinal, and she has also been instrumental in the visioning, planning and executing of many indigenous and cultural projects. These include the Canadian Museum of History in Canada, the National Museum of the American Indian in Washington DC, the Cree-Cultural Institute and village of Ouje-Bougamou in Quebec, Menoyawin Health Centre in Sioux Lookout, Wabano Aboriginal Health Centre, the Oneida Casino-Hotel in New York, The Discovery Park in Tennessee, The National Museum of Ethnicities in Beijing, and the Victoria Island Cultural Center in Ottawa. She is also the owner of Douglas Cardinal Housing Corporation, which is an enterprise that delivers beautiful solid wood manufactured homes. Furthering the values of the Etxea (The House), Idoia continues her studies regarding the principles of Matriarchy and the re-emergence of indigenous feminine power values in the 21st century.

Desna Whaanga-Schollum