Our Story

Land Acknowledgement.

We acknowledge that the Indigenous peoples of Turtle Island have been in relationship with this land since time immemorial. This 15,000-year history is distinguished by unique and enduring protection of the land, water, sky and animal life across diverse Indigenous identities, knowledges, experiences and histories.

The BIPOC Outdoor Gear Library acknowledges the ongoing dispossession of land through the settler colonial project of the nation-state. We seek to actively learn and work in solidarity with First Nations, Inuit and Métis communities as we build our relationship with the land, including engaging in anti-colonial action that starts with interrogating our own relationships to colonial projects on Turtle Island and beyond.

The BIPOC Outdoor Gear Library is a generously donated storage space in Guelph. Guelph is situated on the occupied territory of the Mississaugas of the Credit First Nation of the Anishinaabek Peoples.

Mission, Vision & Values

Mission: We are a community-based lending library focused on providing access to outdoor equipment for BIPOC (Black, Indigenous, and People of Colour) communities of (so-called) Guelph and the surrounding areas. Through collaboration with partners and our library community, we are working to increase the representation of racialized people engaging in outdoor recreation by reducing barriers to access, creating community, providing resources and facilitating education.

Vision: We seek to contribute to developing a culture of love and liberation where people can exist in spaces with dignity and autonomy, free from harm. Our hope is a society that values and prioritizes racial and environmental justice as part of the necessary work we must all be a part of to protect our environments and each other and to create the conditions in which we can equitably, sustainably and ethically access joy through outdoor recreation.

Values:

  • We affirm the inherent worth of our natural world and the urgency for us to live in a reciprocal, sustainable, connected and joyful relationship with our environment.

  • We affirm that we need each other. We understand individualism as a barrier to our individual and collective health. We seek to live in a relationship with each other through practices that support community care, mutual aid, access and accessibility.

  • We affirm the humanity of all peoples and that oppressive ideologies and systems such as white supremacy and racial capitalism erode our capacity to see each other in our humanity and create barriers to the life-affirming and life-sustaining systems we require to thrive.

  • We affirm that transformation is possible when we live in a culture of learning, hold multiple truths, understand our shared histories, and move intentionally (and sometimes slowly) to make decisions for a better future.

  • We affirm that when the flower doesn’t grow, you don’t change the flower; you change the environment. We can be our best selves through cultivating environments where accountability, safety, justice, and healing are possible.

  • We affirm cross-pollination. We believe in the revival and preservation of our ancestral knowledge, the sharing of knowledge across communities, and the uniqueness of that knowledge manifests as practice in our lives.

BIPOC

We understand that the acronym BIPOC has limitations and is critiqued for not adequately representing the large diversity of identities and intersectional experiences claimed under the umbrella. We also understand that there are various ways to use the acronym and that some do not find it useful at all.

Our use of BIPOC (Black, Indigenous and People of Colour) seeks to create an affinity space in which those who have experienced systemic exclusion based on race can access outdoor recreation. Our choice to make this a BIPOC library is in response to historical and ongoing experiences of exclusion. Affinity spaces like the library are commonly used in racial justice and equity work to create safe(r) and more accessible opportunities.

While our gear is specifically for those who identify as Black, Indigenous or a Person of Colour, we hope to offer education and opportunities for everyone.

Please reach out:

  • If you identify within another historically excluded community and are seeking support.

  • If you are a parent or caregiver to someone who identifies as BIPOC.

  • If you are interested in collaborating on an event or learning opportunity that connects to BIPOC communities' experiences of the outdoors.

Our Location

69 Huron Street, Guelph, ON

  • Gear Pick-up / Drop-Off Times: Coming Soon!

  • On-Site Accessibility: Coming Soon!

Our Team

Did you know we are a registered not-for-profit in Ontario? Meet our working Board of Directors and Volunteers.

Dee, Founder-Director/Chair/Treasurer

Dee (she/her) has been adventuring outdoor for most of her life. Camping, canoeing, hiking and more. She has worked for many years in the heart of Algonquin Park (Algonquin Anishinaabeg traditional territory. From her working experience, she saw first hand that these activities are not familiar (or comfortable) for everyone - especially those in the BIPOC community.

Listen to Dee’s Top 20

Care, Director/President/CEO

Care (she/her) is an avid adventurer and loves to be active in nature - whether hiking, paddling, skiing, biking... or most any activity. She feels strongly that everyone should be able to enjoy natures, and wants to help facilitate that access for the BIPOC community.

Listen to Care’s Top 20

Lo, Director/Secretary/Hype Girl

Lo (she/her) is a lover of camping, hiking, being in the mountains, winter weather and cold beers. She is an anti-racism anti-oppression  educator and organizer who lives on the Haldimand Tract, the territory of the Neutral, Anishnawbe and Haudenosaunee peoples.

Listen to Lo’s Top 20

Join us!

Are you an outdoor enthusiast, industry expert or just an awesome human? Reach out! We are always looking for volunteers, collaborators and friends.

Stay in Touch

Sign up to receive updates on the library including upcoming events and oppportunities.

You belong in nature!

BIPOCgearlibrary@gmail.com | 69 Huron Street, Guelph, ON

*by appointment only

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