July 2023 – Interview with Destiny Seymour of Indigo Arrows

Destiny Seymour is an Anishinaabe interior designer from Peguis First Nation in Manitoba and currently resides in Winnipeg, Manitoba. After graduating with her master’s degree in Interior Design from the Faculty of Architecture at the University of Manitoba, she worked at an architecture firm in Winnipeg for 10 years. In 2016, she started her own business designing artisan textiles that were inspired by local Manitoban Indigenous Peoples and their history. Destiny is passionate about using her talent to respectfully reflect local Indigenous cultures & identity within interior design.

In 2021, SchoolBOX reached out to Destiny to design drum stools for a library project at the Gaagagekiizhik & Bimose school in Kenora, Ontario. The drum stools were an important piece of the project, as the designs reflected the Anishinaabe culture of the students at the school while partnering with a local Anishinaabe artist.

We interviewed Destiny about her roots, her art, and the importance of her culture being represented through interior design.

How and when did you begin creating art?

I have always loved creating art from an early age. Art kept me company. I grew up playing in my mom’s hair salon and to keep me busy she had a room in the back full of art supplies. She also made star blankets and would let me play around with all the remnants to make something new out of them. She gave me freedom to make new recipes in the kitchen and didn’t care if things didn’t turn out perfect. I love the encouragement she gave. When I started wanting to create my own designs I remembered that you don’t want to strive for perfection when learning new crafts. You need to get messy and try to enjoy the process. That is how I came to love textile design. 

Your artwork and designs beautifully reflect Anishinaabe culture, why is it important to you that this younger generation of Indigenous youth/children see their culture reflected in art and interior design?

I believe that seeing other Indigenous designers and designs in magazines, in school, and in homes has a huge impact on Indigenous youth. We are celebrating our culture as it is evolving. Our culture is no longer just sitting in museums. It is alive and all around us. I remember searching for Indigenous interior designers and Indigenous designed home decor products when I was working on my Master’s degree. I couldn’t find any. It was very challenging. Becoming a mother had a big impact on me. I wanted my children to feel proud of where they came from and their history. I am also very proud of my parents for surviving all the hardships and racism they faced. They inspire a lot of my work that I do today. 

Do you have any words of insight into the message of the drum stools you’ve created? What is significant about the drum stool in Anishinaabe culture?

The first drum stool that I ever designed was for a large lobby in a new elementary school. I wanted a stool that could be pushed easily by children. I wanted it to be durable so I added the wood top.  I also wanted the fabric to be a recognizable wool blanket. I loved that it referenced our hand drums which gives us the heartbeat of Mother Earth. For the first few years I was sourcing wool blankets from Pendelton and Eighth Generation. Even though the designs were beautiful, they did not represent the Indigenous people from the Manitoba/Ontario regions. I started making my own fabrics to wrap my stools. I can’t wait to grow this collection. 

Is there any advice you would give to this younger generation of Indigenous youth as they pursue their educational goals and dreams?

My key advice is to celebrate being different. Our story and our connection to our communities is what makes us special. We all have unique gifts. Yes, it also takes hard work but it’s so exciting creating the life that you love.

Indigo Arrows drum stools in the Gaagakiizhik Library in Kenora, ON

Thank you to Destiny for sitting down with us and sharing your heart behind your craft! SchoolBOX is grateful to have collaborated with Destiny and have her beautiful drum stools in the Gaagagekiizhik and Bimose School Library. We are inspired by leaders like Destiny who encourage Indigenous youth to embrace their culture and pursue their creative passions and dreams!

You can find Destiny’s work here.
Follow her work on instagram at @indigo_arrows

Sue Griggs
Executive Coach, Educator

Sue has had an eclectic career as an educator with children and adults from ages four to eighty. Much of her energy is now focused on executive coaching and advising non profits such as SchoolBOX. Sue works to ensure that both the Canadian and Nicaraguan communities continue to grow and to develop with mutual respect and caring.

Harvey Griggs
Engineer, Entrepreneur

Harvey Griggs has enjoyed a remarkable career as an engineer and entrepreneur. In 2008 Harvey came to Nicaragua to assist with the build of SchoolBOX’s third school. He was deeply impressed with the kindness, the generosity, the spirit and the commitment to education demonstrated by the Nicaraguans. He has been an energetic supporter of SchoolBOX ever since.

Jim David
Founder, Trumpet Capital Corp.

Jim has been a vital supporter of SchoolBOX since the beginning. Jim travelled to Nicaragua in early 2008 to help construct one of our first schools and has been actively involved ever since. Jim is a commercial mortgage advisor and founder of Trumpet Capital Corp in Calgary, Alberta. He is passionate about yoga, and helping children in Nicaragua.

Tom Affleck
SchoolBOX Founder

Tom Affleck has lived and worked in Guatemala, Peru and Nicaragua. It was an unexpected encounter in Nicaragua, however, that sparked the SchoolBOX dream. In 2006 he gave two girls notebooks and pencils. One of the girls’ father said to her “now that you have a notebook and pencil you can go to school this year”. Tom saw his work building SchoolBOX as an opportunity to live out his faith and to break the bonds of poverty for thousands of children.

Jennette Affleck
Retired Teacher, co-founder of SchoolBOX

Jennette has been involved with early childhood education for her entire professional career. Jennette has taught in Boston, Toronto, the Ottawa Valley, and Monteverde, Costa Rica. Jennette was SchoolBOX’s longest serving Board member, has participated in 7+ school builds in Nicaragua, and was an integral part of our organization since its infancy.

Dina Bell-Laroche
Executive Coach, Sport Law & Strategy Group

Dina has been involved with SchoolBOX since 2012. In 2013, she led a team of youth to Nicaragua to participate in a school build and returned to Canada committed to making a difference. Dina’s experience in facilitation and strategic communications has been an asset to SchoolBOX. Dina believes that education really opens up opportunities for students in Nicaragua and strives to use her skills to create change.

Shannon O’Rourke

Shannon is passionate about unlocking human potential through meaningful education experiences and global community connections. Professionally, she is a marketing executive with 25 years of cross-industry experience in accelerating positive impact, innovation, and growth through the teams and organizations she serves. Shannon joined the board in 2023. She is honored to work with the SchoolBOX team to help make education possible and to further empower children, youth, families, and communities to live their best lives.

Stephanie Potter
Master Integral Coach, PhD

A longtime supporter of SchoolBOX activities, Stephanie, her husband, and youngest daughter joined a trip to Nicaragua in 2018 where they fell in love with the country and the communities they visited. After seeing the impact of SchoolBOX’s work first-hand, Stephanie was inspired to join the Board and did so in February 2020. Stephanie is humbled by the opportunity to lend her knowledge and skills to help make education – and therefore community and social change – possible through the work of SchoolBOX.

Jim Sale
Owner,‌ ‌REEF‌ ‌Consulting‌ ‌Services‌

Jim‌ ‌is‌ ‌a‌ ‌management‌ ‌consultant‌ ‌who‌ ‌helps‌ ‌multi-national‌ ‌organizations‌ ‌optimize‌ ‌commercial‌ ‌effectiveness.‌ ‌He‌ ‌is‌ ‌a‌ ‌long-time‌ ‌supporter‌ ‌of‌ ‌SchoolBOX‌ ‌and‌ ‌had‌ ‌the‌ ‌opportunity‌ ‌to‌ ‌travel‌ ‌to ‌Nicaragua‌ ‌in‌ ‌2016‌ ‌to‌ ‌help‌ ‌build‌ ‌the‌ ‌Gilberto‌ ‌Siles‌ ‌school.‌ ‌Impressed‌ ‌by‌ ‌the‌ ‌pragmatic‌ ‌approach‌ ‌SchoolBOX‌ ‌takes‌ ‌to‌ ‌deliver‌ ‌highly‌ ‌impactful‌ ‌and‌ ‌sustainable‌ ‌solutions,‌ ‌he‌ ‌joined‌ ‌the‌ ‌Board‌ ‌of‌ ‌Directors‌ ‌in‌ ‌2021‌ ‌with‌ ‌the‌ ‌goal‌ ‌of‌ ‌applying‌ ‌his‌ ‌energy‌ ‌and‌ ‌experience‌ ‌to‌ ‌help‌ ‌SchoolBOX‌ ‌continue‌ ‌to‌ ‌make‌ ‌education‌ ‌possible.‌

Natalie Gunn, Chair
Co-Owner, Oxford Learning Centre Kanata

Natalie was born with a passion for education, helping people and travel. Looking for a new volunteer project, she joined the Equator Coffee Roasters team and visited Nicaragua for a classroom build in November 2016 and proudly joined the Board of Directors in late 2017. Natalie is co-owner of the Oxford Learning Centre Kanata and committed to supporting children to reach their full potential.

Margie Graff
Retired Teacher

After 32 years of teaching with the Ottawa-Carleton District School Board, Margie retired and began volunteering with SchoolBOX’s Treaty 3 library partnerships. She was honoured to be entrusted with the ordering of Indigenous texts and resources for communities and schools, as well as travelling to two communities to lend a hand in setting up their library spaces. In 2022, Margie joined the board and continues to build on these wonderful experiences to ensure that all learners have the resources and opportunities to realize their dreams.

Jo Danaher
Financial Manager

Jo Danaher is our cheerful financial wizard. She keeps all of our SchoolBOX finances in order, and makes sure that we are meeting the highest standards for a charitable organization. Jo enjoys seeing the amazing power that the SchoolBOX community of volunteers and donors has to impact the education of so many children.

Rochelle Bragg
Social Media and Communications Manager

Rochelle is mixed Anishi but has much of her far jowin (Qj Cree) and Swiss-German, currently living in Treaty 19, ly living in Treaty 9, specifically the isolated community of Muskrat Dam First Nation. Rochelle is committed to speaking out on the Indigenous realities in  Canada and doing her part to help this next generation of Indigenous youth pursue their educational and personal goals.