By Meghan Crowe and Barbara Kelly
Reconciliation is a process.
And the North Vancouver District Public Library is committed to supporting that process through connecting community, fostering knowledge and inspiring stories.
After the Truth and Reconciliation’s closing events in June, our NVDPL Librarians wondered how this work could be carried forward into our own community, echoing the theme of the closing events that “the ending is just the beginning.” The commitment to support reconciliation was put into action on September 10th at the Lynn Valley Library with An Evening in Honour of the Community Commitment to Truth, Healing, and Reconciliation.
The September 10 event was developed in partnership with Reconciliation Canada, and included support from the North Vancouver Museum and Archives. Over 60 guests from across the North Shore attended this culmination, so-to-speak, of the Read the Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s Executive Summary Pledge Project held at the Library throughout the summer. All three NVDPL locations (Parkgate, Capilano and Lynn Valley) had since the release of the report featured Pledge Boards, resource displays and copies of the TRC Executive Summary.
The evening began with Sanford Osler, a Trustee with the Library Board, welcoming guests and acknowledging that the event was taking place on the shared traditional territory of the Squamish and Tseil-Waututh First Nations. Special guest speaker Shelley Joseph, Cultural and Wellness Advisor at Reconciliation Canada, then addressed the attendees and spoke on having the courage to dialogue—an important and imperative step on the journey to Reconciliation. The evening also included the screening of key film clips, meaningful group discussions, and an open-mic portion, where local community members of all organizations and affiliations could take their turns to share their experiences and feelings. Attendees were privileged to hear heartfelt words from both Councillor Joseph of the Squamish Nation and Councillor George of the Tsleil-Waututh Nation, as well as hear personal stories from Barbara Kelly of the NVDPL, and Nancy Kirkpatrick of the North Vancouver Museum and Archives. It takes understanding of what has been before in order to move forward—so that the children of generations to come can grow up in a more inclusive Canadian community. The meaningful speeches and discussions shared on September 10 formed a bridge to some understanding between all guests. The event was, as Nancy Kirkpatrick, Director of the North Vancouver Museum and Archives put it, “but one step in an ongoing journey.”
With that, we’ll finish as we started: Reconciliation is a process. And there is opportunity for the NVDPL, as well as all libraries, to play a vital role on this important road to a reconciled Canada.
You can still make the pledge to read the TRC Executive Summary at any NVDPL Branch, or on our website at www.nvdpl.ca/TRC_Pledge.
The views and opinions expressed on this blog are those of the author and may not reflect the views and opinions of Reconciliation Canada.