An upcoming initiative at the Brock Library is set to honour missing and murdered Indigenous women, girls and Two-Spirit people (MMIWG2S+).
During the next two weeks, three drop-in events will welcome all members of the Brock community to take part in the The Canadian Library, a grassroots art installation project that acts as a memorial to all MMIWG2S+.
Taking place at Brock and locations across the country, the goal of the project is to wrap 8,000 books in fabric prints that reflect First Nations, Métis and Inuit designs as a testament to the lives lost. Before each book is placed on the gallery bookshelf in the library, the name of one of the MMIWG2S+ is written in gold along its spine.
Drop-in gatherings to wrap books at Brock will take place Monday, Sept. 25 from 2:30 to 5 p.m., Friday, Sept. 29 from 1:30 to 4 p.m., and Monday, Oct. 2 from 1:30 to 4 p.m. and are open to everyone.
Robyn Bourgeois, Brock’s Vice-Provost, Indigenous Engagement, said the project shows that anyone can raise awareness about MMIWG2S.
“I love the Canadian Library Project because it demonstrates that any group can find its unique way to contribute to this movement for justice,” she said. “We cannot let the women, girls and 2SLGBTQQIA people stolen from our communities be forgotten.”
Jennifer Thiessen, Brock Library’s Head of Teaching and Learning, discovered The Canadian Library while participating in a community event hosted by the Lincoln Museum and Cultural Centre and the Lincoln Pelham Public Library, where she also met Shanta Sundarason, founder of the initiative.
“I was struck by the tangible way this activity allowed me and my family to remember and honour MMIWG2S+,” she said. “The act of affixing an individual’s name on a fabric-wrapped book helped us consider the terrible and unjust loss of so many Indigenous women and girls.”
After speaking to Sundarason about the inspiration behind the project and her desire to build further awareness, Thiessen successfully undertook the steps needed to bring The Canadian Library to Brock, which has led to a goal of wrapping more than 75 books by Oct. 4 to be displayed on the main floor of the James A. Gibson Library.
“It is meaningful to bring the Brock community together to reflect, learn and mourn,” she said. “It is a way we can hopefully walk together, and encourage others to learn about MMIWG2S+, what has happened and what continues to happen across Canada.
Bourgeois said she is appreciative of the efforts of Thiessen and her colleagues in the library to raise awareness of an issue that continues today.
“Anything we can do to continue to demand justice for MMIWG2S+ is essential given that they continue to disappear and/or be murdered,” she said.
To learn more about the initiative, visit the Brock Library website.