BCLTA Bulletin June 2017

President’s Message

Jerrilyn Schembri


This special issue of the Bulletin is in acknowledgement of National Aboriginal Day (June 21st) and is our way of expressing appreciation for, and support to, the Truth and Reconciliation Committee of the Canadian Federation of Library Associations (CFLA-FCAB) and the work they put into the Truth and Reconciliation Report and Recommendations.

I am so thankful for all the input from libraries … it is amazing to read these stories. There is a lot going on across the public libraries of B.C. and we are here to support boards with their work. I want to hear from you about your board work, please contact me at president@bclta.ca.


CFLA-FCAB Truth and Reconciliation and Recommendations
National Aborigial Day – June 21, 2017

CFLA/FCAB Truth and Reconciliation Report and Recommendations: A Trustee Perspective

I’d like to echo the appreciation for the effort and results of this initiative. You can see from the report that there is an enormous amount of talent, insights and understanding in our library staff and leaders. There is also a sense of humility and a need to continue to learn and progress: this is evidenced in the call to continue to evolve and update the recommendations on a regular basis.

From a trustee’s perspective I have a few thoughts to share. The first, of course, is to read the report.  It is multidimensional, grounded and aspirational. It gives trustees a glimpse of the possibilities and power of libraries to advance meaningful reconciliation in Canada.

In addition, I’d like to highlight three things from the report that trustees can do, starting now!

  • ensure that our own educational needs regarding Aboriginal history and issues are being met – knowledge and understanding are core to our effectiveness;
  • advocate for library funding for Aboriginal communities (whether they are part of a broader community or on reserve) and
  • explore and implement the best ways for trustees to have Aboriginal voices heard at the boardroom table (this could range from seeking advice from elders to recruiting Aboriginal trustees).

Finally, on a personal note, being a small part of this initiative certainly enhanced my own understanding of how reconciliation can be advanced. For example, I learned about the need for Indigenous knowledge protection and why amendments are required to the Canadian Copyright Act. I was also able to observe, first hand, the energy and enthusiasm from across the country to advance this important work.

Karen Hoffmann
Vancouver Public Library

Your Libraries and Your Stories

Readers tell us that the “Your Libraries” section is important for making connections across the province and for inspiring or affirming their own board and library director work. A huge thank you to those who contributed to this issue either with submissions about their library or by pointing to stories, news items and resource links.

Send us stories about your board and your library to execdir@bclta.ca

Naskan Uxwal, I am Going Home

March 25 – 29, 2017

Submitted by Jane Duber, Trustee
Lillooet Area Library Association

Some Lillooet Area Library Association board members took part in an event by and for Indigenous people, Naskan Uxwal , “I am Going Home” at which we were not only the minority but also more or less ignorant of norms and protocol. We had been told by one of the organizers of this event, which brought the spirits of residential school students home from Kamloops to St’at’imc territory, that it would be good for us to be there, to welcome the Home Comers, and to experience the dynamic of being in the minority and not in the power position. I recommend doing similar things to non-Indigenous library personnel.

Photo credit: Sid Scotchman 

Reconciliation: Opening the Door to Conversations

Submitted by Daphne Wood, Director, Communications and Development
Greater Victoria Public Library 

A new speaker series focused on Canada’s Aboriginal people aims to build a greater understanding of the need for reconciliation in Canada.

Presented in partnership between Victoria Native Friendship Centre and Greater Victoria Public Library, the free, four-part series explores how reconciliation contributes to healthy communities. Topics will include the impacts of colonization, Aboriginal law, the legacy of the residential school experience and arts and culture.

“Our city is stronger when we celebrate diversity,” says Maureen Sawa, CEO, Greater Victoria Public Library. “This speaker series will prompt important conversations about the experience, values and culture of Aboriginal people and show how honouring their history and heritage contributes to a vibrant, inclusive community. In Canada’s 150th year, we’re glad to bring this learning opportunity to Greater Victoria, in collaboration with the Victoria Native Friendship Centre.”

The speaker series is made possible by the Community Fund for Canada’s 150th, a collaboration between Victoria Foundation, the Government of Canada, and extraordinary leaders from coast to coast to coast.

Speaker Series Information:

Part One: Art and Artists: Critical Dialogues about Truth Telling and Reconciliation (February 16)

This talk at the Victoria Native Friendship Centre examined the role art plays as part of reconciliation in Canada and the effect of looking at art through the eyes and experiences of residential school survivors, Indigenous artists, and curators. Invited speakers included Mark Atleo, Ahousaht First Nation; Rande Cook (K’alapa) ‘Namgis Tribe, Kwakwaka’wakw First Nation; and Kwagiulth artist Carey Newman in dialogue with Dr. Andrea Walsh, University of Victoria.

Part Two: De-Constructing Colonization in Each of Our Lives (May 11)

This talk at the Royal BC Museum explored how we can make space to reflect the diversity, strength and hope embodied within Indigenous traditions. Invited speakers included Aboriginal rights lawyer and chancellor of Vancouver Island University Louise Mandell Q.C. Archivist Genevieve Weber from the Royal BC Museum spoke about the BC Archives’ work to strengthen the Indigenous voices in the Museum’s collection. 

Part Three: Building Bridges Through Understanding the Village (June 10)

In this experiential workshop at Wawadiťła Mungo Martin House in Thunderbird Park (Royal BC Museum), participants will gain deeper insight into the impact of residential schools and explore how each of us can help revive the values that guided Indigenous villages for generations. This workshop, developed by facilitator Kathi Camilleri, was inspired by Jann Derrick and many elders. Kathi will be joined by guest facilitator Yuxwelupton (Bradley Dick), a local community representative of Lkwungen, Mamalilikulla, Ditidaht ancestry. 

Part Four: To be announced. Check gvpl.ca/openingthedoor for more information.

Truth and Reconciliation in Our Community

Submitted by Wendy Wright, Library Director
Smithers Public Library

From the May 29, 2017 press release:

The Smithers Public Library and Witsuwit’en Nation are hosting an event that will address and explore what truth and reconciliation means in our community. The event coordinators aim to begin the process of honouring and revealing the truth of our collective past in order to move forward together and reconcile for the future. Truth and Reconciliation in Our Community will take place on Saturday, June 10th from 2:00 to 4:00 p.m. at the Smithers Public Library with honoured guest speakers, elders from the Witsuwit’en Nation, and drumming and dancing from Ewk Hiyah Hozdli. …. 

Smithers Public Library staff members have spent the better part of a year listening to community members and organizations that have helped guide and shape this event. “This process has been a powerful learning experience, made possible through the personal connections we have formed over the past year,” says Library Director, Wendy Wright. “It is our hope that bringing diverse community members together to re-examine history in the familiar, safe space of their public library will foster new relationships and broadly sow the seeds of reconciliation.” 

The full press release can be found here.

Smithers Public Library event information page here

BC Libraries and Reconciliation

We know that there is more that has been happening, or is in the planning, and we look forward to hearing from you! Below is just a snap shot of BC libraries and reconciliation.

Squamish Public Library


New Westminster Public Library


Vancouver Public Library

This is a milestone – the realization of a longtime dream to have a full-service library branch for the Downtown Eastside, Strathcona and Chinatown neighbourhoods. Residents told us how they have been looking forward to more access to books, community gathering spaces, learning opportunities and digital creation space. This amazing new branch – named to encompass the idea of ‘we are one’ in the hən̓q̓əmin̓əm̓ (Musqueam) language – is a place accessible to everyone in the community to gather, learn, connect, and be inspired.

Donna Macdonald (BCLTA President 2015-2017) and Kyla Epstein (VPL Board Chair and BCLTA Board Director) nə́c̓aʔmat ct Strathcona Branch opening, April 18, 2017 

Prince George Public Library

Coquitlam Public Library

  • Third Biannual All Nations Festival – Coast Salish Stories
  • In collaboration with Red Wolf Spirit Adventures Society and Coquitlam School District #43 Aboriginal Education
  • Saturday, June 17, 11:00 am – 3:00 pm
  • More information here
  • Festival brochure

Surrey Public Libraries

  • Supporting the Surrey Urban Aboriginal Initiative

​Image: Surrey Urban Indigenous Social Innovation Strategy: Phase 2 Report
  • This document, along with others on the Surrey Urban Aboriginal Initiative website, reflects community and municipal commitment to reconciliation and recognizes the library as a strategic education partner.

Vancouver Island Regional Library

2017 is Canada’s 150th anniversary, but is also a year of reconciliation.  In recognition of the Final Report of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada, VIRL has curated a list of excellent titles to raise awareness, stimulate discussion, and facilitate a culture of learning. This is also a great opportunity to highlight the work of Indigenous authors!

Kicking off in June for National Aboriginal History Month, this reading list will be available throughout the summer.


There are many online resources available and staff at your library will be able to assist you in finding exactly what you need. Below is just a start on building the BCLTA website section, “BC Public Library Boards and Reconciliation”. Resources include a variety of organizations committed to supporting reconciliation, Indigenous voices and perspectives, and research and reports. In some instances, the resource defies classification or belongs everywhere; such is the challenge when not working with a more interconnected approach to organizing information.


Truth and Reconciliation Commission
Reports and the TRC Calls to Action

National Centre for Truth and Reconciliation, University of Manitoba

From the website

As the permanent home for all statements, documents, and other materials gathered by the TRC the NCTR will ensure that:

  • former students and their families have access to their own history;
  • educators can share the Indian Residential School history with future generations of students;
  • researchers can more deeply explore the Residential School experience;
  • the public can access historical records and other materials to help foster reconciliation and healing; and
  • the history and legacy of the residential school system are never forgotten

Reconciliation Canada @Rec_Can

Resources such as:

  • The National Narrative on Reconciliation Report
  • National Thought Table on Reconciliation video
  • Reconciliation Dialogue events
  • Impact Reports
  • Toolkits such as the Kitchen Table Guide for Reconciliation Dialogue: For Individuals, Communities and Organizations

Indian Residential School Survivors Society

  • Provides services to Indian Residential School Survivors.

Kairos @kairoscanada

  • A joint venture ecumenical program administered by the United Church of Canada.
  • Known for their Blanket Exercise Workshop 

BC Assembly of First Nations @BCAFN  

Union of BC Indian Chiefs (UBCIC) @UBCIC

BC Association of Aboriginal Friendship Centres @BCAAFC 

4Rs Youth Movement @4rsYouth

  • Connecting young change makers across the country in respect, reciprocity, reconciliation, and relevance. 

First Nations Health Authority @fnha

  • Section on Cultural Safety and Cultural Humility is excellent for a board development session.
  • http://www.fnha.ca/wellness/cultural-humility 


Research and Reports 

Union of BC Municipalities – UBCM @UBCM

Truth and Reconciliation at the Local Level

  • Resources for and examples of reconciliation and local government throughout BC.

Community to Community Forum

  • Bringing together First Nations and local governments from across BC to discuss common goals and opportunities for joint action.
  • 2017/18 Regional C2C Program is accepting applications for events between July 17, 2017 and March 31, 2018. 

Federation of Canadian Municipalities (FCM) @FCM_online

Pathways to Reconciliation: Cities respond to the Truth and Reconciliation Commission Calls to Action

  • Don’t let the mention of “Big City Mayor’s Caucus” deter you, this guide has applicability, and an approach, that is applicable to a variety of communities. 

 Urban Aboriginal People’s Study

  • Environics study released in 2011
  • The methodology and many of the insights are still relevant today and the report’s influence can be seen in municipal urban Indigenous peoples strategies such as at the City of Vancouver and the City of Surrey 

X̱wi7x̱wa Library, UBC

  • From the website:

Xwi7xwa Library is a centre for academic and community Indigenous scholarship. Its collections and services reflect Aboriginal approaches to teaching, learning, and research. Everyone is welcome to visit Xwi7xwa Library.

Library Archives Canada (LAC)

National Aboriginal History Month, Government of Canada

National Aboriginal Day, Government of Canada 


Indigenous Voices and Perspectives 

First Nations in BC Knowledge Network

  • This is a space for First Nations to share information with First Nations. Some of the resources are open to the public for learning about First Nation issues from a First Nations perspective and we are asked to use this resource respectfully.

Brad Marsden @Bradmarsden7

  • Gitksan Nation, Residential School Facilitator, Suicide Awareness & Personal Growth Advocate
  • Has facilitated staff workshops for the City of Vancouver

Âpihtawikosisân @apihtawikosisan

Indigenous Corporate Training Inc. @wewap


Aboriginal Peoples Television Network @APTN

First Nations Education Steering Committee (FNESC) @FNESC

From the website:

Our mandate is to facilitate discussion about education matters affecting First Nations in BC by disseminating information and soliciting input from First Nations. The primary goal is to promote and support the provision of quality education to First Nations learners in BC.

Windspeaker @windspeakernews

If you are not already reading Indigenous news, this is a good starting place. From Windspeaker and any of the twitter accounts suggested in this resource section, you will be pointed to other news, current events, and arts and culture resources.

From the website:

The Aboriginal Multi-Media Society is an independent Aboriginal communications organization committed to facilitating the exchange of information reflecting Aboriginal culture to a growing and diverse audience. 

Canada Reads: The Unsettling Canada Edition 

CBC Indigenous Book Club

Final Words and Thank you 

The work of BCLTA takes place on Indigenous land and includes our individual board directors, staff, and membership reflections on and commitment to reconciliation, wherever we might be on that journey. The 2017 BCLTA conference and AGM, included for the first time the acknowledgement of First Nation territory and a welcoming address from Musqueam Elder Shane Pointe . Outgoing BCLTA President Donna Macdonald encouraged everyone to commit to acts of reconciliation in their communities and through their board work.

It makes sense for BCLTA to acknowledge National Aboriginal Day, to promote the CFLA-FCAB Truth and Reconciliation Committee’s report Truth and Reconciliation Report and Recommendations, and to highlight the reconciliation work that public library boards and staff are engaging in across BC. As part of our advocacy work we have consistently called upon the provincial government for the establishment of provincial policy for the delivery of public library services in First Nation communities, by First Nation communities.

It also makes sense for BCLTA to make its own commitment to reconciliation by continuing to find ways to support BC public library boards to think about, and develop actions, that lead and support their libraries on the path of reconciliation.

In our upcoming website renewal, BCLTA will devote a section to board work and reconciliation where we will continue to share your library stories and other resources. We know that library staff in their day-to-day operations are building partnerships, developing programs, rethinking space, and building collections that reflect commitment to reconciliation; their work inspires boards and communities. At BCLTA we also want to share board practices and successes in regards to reconciliation and strategic discussions, relationship building, internal board development, and policy oversight. No matter where you are on the journey, reconciliation is board work.

If you have any questions about, or would like to submit something to the Bulletin, email Babs at execdir@bclta.ca.

And please remember that everyone is welcome to subscribe, and all trustees and library directors are encouraged, to join the Bulletin mailing list. As per Canada’s Anti-Spam Legislation there is an “unsubscribe” button and we only send to those who have given us their contact information. To update your contact information or to subscribe to the Bulletin, email Jan at office@bclta.ca

As always, if you have any questions about what your association is doing, or feedback on what we could be doing for trustees and boards, please let me know.

Huy tseep q’u, miigwetch, thank you,

Babs Kelly

If you have feedback about this Bulletin or would like to contribute an item to an upcoming Bulletin, please contact us at execdir@bclta.ca.

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Posted in BCLTA Bulletin.