The North Vancouver District Public Library (NVDPL) has been supporting the reconciliation process through its key role in the community. When the Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) released the executive summary of its final report, librarians at the NVDPL immediately saw it as an opportunity to continue their reconciliation journey. They initiated the Truth and Reconciliation Pledge Project to encourage people in their community to read the TRC executive summary. Barbara Kelly, Manager, Community Engagement says “the response was overwhelming, both in numbers and in its genuine commitment”.
The library also hosted an evening event in honour of the Community Commitment to Truth, Healing and Reconciliation in recognition that community dialogue is key in the reconciliation process. Reconciliation Canada team member Shelley Joseph was invited to deliver the keynote speech and speak about her experiences as an intergenerational Survivor. For librarian Paul Taylor, “The experience of hearing members of the Squamish Nation,Tsleil-Waututh Nation and others speak about the effect upon them and their people of the residential school system was extremely moving.”
What does Reconciliation through Education look like? How can we reevaluate existing educational practices to promote reconciliation? These are also questions that have been discussed at the NVDP library at the end of a massive open online course titled Reconciliation through Indigenous Education that was taught by Jan Hare, Anishnaabe Professor of Indigenous Education at the University of British Columbia.
Librarian Jacqui Jones-Cox says that through these initiatives the library staff try to, “bring the issue out to a larger audience and give personal voice to the stories to help create a bridge to healing and empathy. We cannot re-write the wrongs but we can acknowledge them and ensure they are never repeated and along the way hopefully engender understanding, trust and respect.”
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