Sky Spirit Studio is a Sḵwx̱wú7mesh Nation, Kwakwaka'wakw and Tɫingit family-operated consulting company that focuses on Indigenous design, community engagement and research methodologies located in the Hən̓q̓əmin̓əm̓ and Sḵwxw̱ú7mesh Sníchim speaking people’s of the xwməθkwəyə̓m (Musqueam), Sḵwxw̱ú7mesh Úxwumixw (Squamish Nation) and səlilwətaɬ (Tsleil- Waututh) and is located in the Squamish Nation village of Slhá7an̓ (Eslhá7an).
Sky Spirit Studio works both locally and internationally advising on Co-Creation and Indigenous lead pathways forward. Our practice is rooted in Etiological Design, Indigenous Ways of Knowing and Story of Place.
Sky Spirit Studio + Consulting
Sky Spirit Studio is committed to meaningful design, consultation, and sustainable business practices. We are determined to expand opportunities for Indigenous communities to lead design processes, and express their sovereignty, agency and capacity building through design.
Based in ancestral governance, Indigenous law, and respectful protocols Sky Spirit Studio has the multi-disciplinary tools to ensure respectful, mindful, and transformative consultation. We have multiple checks, protocols, and procedures in place to protect Indigenous groups and Knowledge Keepers involved in sharing their knowledge and good-will to participate in design processes.
It is our goal to be the mediators, the listeners, and the guides to create safe, comfortable environments for meaningful consultation to produce productive, well-educated and informed pathways forward.
We will be the first to listen and the last to leave the table. We are committed to meaningful design consultation, and sustainable business practices. We are determined to help expand opportunities for reconciliation.
Blue Cedar Bough?
When cedar boughs are burned in ceremony it burns light blue smoke and brings in the light. This is done to represent peace and healing. We are committed to transformative practices that respectfully and inclusively engage with diverse communities to elevate the conversation in meaningful consultation, design and research.
We set visionary precedents for meaningful engagement through our Indigenous design and research methodologies rooted in Coast Salish values and “Two-Eyed” seeing.
We combine primary archival research and oral history to form the basis for a respectful and appropriate narrative. This community storytelling practice informs a context that reflects authentic histories that allow community members to participate in the co-creation of each project with agency and confidence.
Etiological Design is the process of centring Indigenous oral history systems of storytelling and Legend keeping so that legends and storytelling shape the entire design, landscape, Story of place, public engagement and processes of design so that the final design reflects the stories and the people whom originate from the land
Sierra Tasi Baker
Lead Indigenous Urban Design Consultant,
firstname.lastname@example.org | Phone: 604-537-8521
Executive Director, mcip, rpp
email@example.com | Phone: 604-202-9551
With over 20 years in urban planning, community engagement and public art Mary has developed a collaborative approach that has the ability to manage and communicate divergent inputs/ideas and conflicting visions or goals. Mary is invested in transformational community engagement practices and ensuring every voice is heard.
Mary is of Magyar (Hungarian) and French ancestry. Her parents escaped Hungary during the 1956 Hungarian revolution and found themselves in Hampshire, England where Mary was born. Her family immigrated to Toronto, Canada where she later graduated with an Honours Degree in Environmental Planning from the University of Waterloo. The University of Waterloo is based on the Haldimand Tract which is the traditional territory of the Anishnaabeg, and Haudenosaunee peoples. The territory is covered by the Upper Canada and Haldimand Treaties.
Mary worked for the National Capital Commission and the City of Gloucester as a planner. She founded her first urban planning practice, Tasi Wood Associates, in Vanier, Ottawa. She later moved to the west coast to become Deputy Director of Planning for the City of New Westminster. She co-founded Sky Spirit Studio with Wade Baker, Halikium, in 1997 to bring indigenous ways of knowing into urban design practices. Mary is also a published author & lecturer and has won countless awards.
Starting in January 2019, Mary and Wade further developed the consulting branch of their company with their daughter Sierra Tasi Baker. This created an inter-generational design and consulting family practice.
Clients include the City of Vancouver, the City of Calgary, and the City of North Vancouver.
Mary is a member of the Canadian Institute of Planners and the Planning Institute of British Columbia.
Mary can be found most weekends walking the North Shore Spirit Trail.
K̓esugwilakw is the Lead Indigenous Urban design Consultant at Sky Spirit Studio. K̓esugwilakw is from the Sḵwx̱wú7mesh Úxwumixw (Squamish Nation) and is also, Kwakwaka’wakw/Musgamagw Dzawada'enuxw, Tɫingit and Magyar (Hungarian). Their Kwak̓wala name, K̓esugwilakw, loosely translates to "Creator or Creative one" or "One who carves wealth/the supernatural into the world." and was given to them by their late grandmother and Grand Matriarch-Chief Emily Nelson Baker, T̓łaḵwagila̱'og̱wa.
K̓esugwilakw is an Indigiqueer urban design consultant. Sierra completed their Bachelor's of Environmental Design at the School of Architecture & Landscape Architecture (SALA) at the University of British Columbia. Graduating with an award in Design Leadership and receiving a Youth Leadership Award for their work in the community from the City of North Vancouver. K̓esugwilakw then flew to London, England and graduated with their Masters of Science in Sustainable Urbanism at the Bartlett School of City Planning at University College London which is one of the top ten universities in the world for the built environment.
K̓esugwilakw focuses on decolonization through design. They combine Indigenous design and research methodologies, Oral History, primary archival research, Traditional Ecological Knowledge (TEK), Story of Place, Trauma Informed Design Practices, Two-Eyed Seeing and Coast Salish design techniques to develop unique architectural and urban planning languages that reflect Indigenous sovereignty.
K̓esugwilakw has worked extensively with museums, universities, municipalities, and businesses to further Indigenous lead design and engagement.
K̓esugwilakw is also one of the choreographers for Butterflies in Spirit, a Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women's advocacy and dance group founded by #MMIW advocate Lorelei Williams.
Mintledus / Halikium, Cultural Advisor & Oral Historian
Wade is from the Sḵwx̱wú7mesh Úxwumixw (Squamish Nation) and is also xʷməθkʷəy̓əm (Musqueam), Kwakwaka’wakw/Musgamagw Dzawada'enuxw, Tɫingit, and Xaayda (Haida) Wade is an accomplished Master Carver, Oral Historian, storyteller, and public artist. His Kwak’wala name ‘Mintledus’ means “Place of Plenty.” With a wealth of knowledge Wade advises on cultural protocols, Coast Salish design and indigenous ways of knowing. Wade’s Coast Salish name “Halikium” means “Person who Travels Far.” It is Wade’s goal to bring Coast Salish culture global recognition, whilst bringing prosperity and healing to his people.
Wade is a renowned Master Carver and storyteller. He has been carving and creating art since he was a teenager. As a descendent of ancient Squamish, Musqueam, Kwakwaka'wakw, Tlingit and Haida nobility, Wade has inherited a rich artistic legacy. In these traditions, art is not a separate activity but is interwoven in life, language, custom and culture. Coast Salish designs are a means of spiritual expression in which a Great Work can encompass an entire story.
Wade is invested in placemaking through storytelling, a concept which roots "Story of Place" into the design process.
North Shore Spirit Trail | Gateway to Ancient Wisdom | Sky Spirit Studio | 2018
• Social Entrepreneurship Award, University of Waterloo, Ontario, 2018
• Presented to, Her Majesty, Queen Elizabeth II, for leadership & academic excellence, Canada Houe UK, 2017
• Design & Leadership Excellence Award for Environmental Design, School of Architecture & Landscape Architecture, UBC, 2016
• Honourable Mention for The Hidden Journals, Whistler Independent Book Awards, 2016
• Youth Recognition Leadership Award, City of North Vancouver, 2015
• Aboriginal Tourism Industry Award for Arts & Entertainment, Aboriginal Tourism BC, 2015
• Presented to the Victoria Legislature by MLA J. Thornthwaite recognizing the extensive research work on Captain Vancouver and the early explorers for "The Hidden Journals", 2014
• Award of Excellence for "Gateway to Ancient Wisdom" Public Art on the North Shore Spirit Trail, City of North Vancouver, 2013
• Selected by the Olympic Committee to run the Olympic Torch for outstanding community leadership, 2010
• Presented to Prince Charles, Prince of Wales, for excellence in Public Art, 2009
• Business Excellence Finalist for Arts & Culture, North Vancouver Chamber of Commerce, 2009
• Presented to the Victoria Legislature by MLA K. Whittred recognizing Sky Spirit Studio's Design work, 2009
• Award of Excellence for Design, National Design Exchange Awards in the Urban Design Category, City of North Vancouver, 2008
• Nominated for Innovation award, North Vancouver Chamber of Commerce, 2000
• Awarded Millenium Coin Design, Royal Canadian Mint, 2000
• Excellence in Planning Award, Township of Pittsburgh Best Community Plan, The Ontario Professional Planning Institute, 1990