Building relationships, sharing ideas, and making decisions collaboratively between Indigenous and non-Indigenous communities are integral components of reconciliation – and the Thunder Bay Libraries are doing their part to make it all happen. Yesterday, the Waverley Library unveiled the revitalized Indigenous Knowledge Centre, fit with new, custom made furnishings built by Codesign, Sheridan College furniture students, in partnership with members of the local Indigenous community and Thunder Bay Public Library Staff.
Based on the success of the revitalization of the Indigenous Knowledge Centre (IKC) at the Brodie Branch Library in 2020, Thunder Bay libraries invited students from the Sheridan College Bachelor of Craft and Design Furniture program back to the city for a 3-day weekend in February to build relationships with local Indigenous peoples to co-plan a welcoming space in the Waverley library that truly reflects the vision and values of the community. The students went back to school to plan the custom pieces over the course of their semester, and the work has now been officially donated to the library.
The new space includes the Tikinagan Coffee Table and Stools, made of yellow birch, a space for kids to sit and be inspired by the patterns painted onto the wood; two River Table Computer Stations, also made of yellow birch, which capture the sense of motion and symbolizes the importance of water in our lives; and the Learning Circle Community Tables, made up Hard Maple, which make up a large circle that reflects the Medicine wheel. Each quadrant represents a cardinal direction, and can be reconfigured based on need. The pieces work together to create a beautiful space for people to enjoy, and demonstrates the library’s commitment to sharing Indigenous knowledge.
“This project reinforces the principle that Indigenous communities should not only be consulted, but also included in the process of designing products and services for themselves and/or their shared spaces’,” shares Robyn Medicine, Indigenous Relationships Supervisor. Together, the students and local collaborators captured the spirit of Thunder Bay’s Indigenous community in this dynamic space within the Waverley library – a space for everyone to enjoy.
The Waverley Library is open till 5 every day except Sunday and open till 8pm on Monday and Tuesdays.