The New Westminster Public Library is committed to the process of Truth and Reconciliation. We understand that as a colonial institution there is much to do both internally and within our community to decolonize our processes, services and programs.

Our journey has begun by educating ourselves. We are working to develop an understanding and appreciation of the lived experiences and historical wrongs committed against First Nations individuals and communities. We also seek to  find ways to celebrate and amplify First Nations cultures, voices and perspectives through our programs, collections and services. 

Land Acknowledgement

It is recognised and respected that our work takes place on the unceded and unsurrendered land of the Halkomelem speaking peoples.  It is acknowledged that colonialism has made invisible their histories and connections to the land. As a City, we are learning and building relationships with the people whose lands we are on. 

The library aims to become a place to support our learning and growth as a community as we further our journey along the path to reconciliation. And as we learn, and adapt to new understandings and truths, so too may our land acknowledgement, programs, collections and services change through time.

National Centre for Truth & Reconciliation (NCTR)

The NCTR serves as an enduring repository of records and resources on the legacy of the Residential School system.

Go to the NCTR

Truth & Reconciliation “Calls to Action”

Going forward, we are in part guided by the calls to action of Canada’s Truth and Reconciliation Commission, specifically directed at libraries. These Calls to Action were examined and interpreted within a library framework by the Canadian Federation of Library Association’s Truth and Reconciliation Committee. We have noted these below and will continually report out on our progress on each of these through time.

We would like to express our gratitude to the Vancouver Public Library for the inspiration for this page.

Call to Action #69: We call upon Library and Archives Canada to… iii. Commit more resources to its public education materials and programming on residential schools.

NWPL continues to organize how we can respectively access First Nations knowledge keepers, cultural artisans and authors to help us highlight the lived lives, experiences and history of First Nations through our programming and services

NWPL’s work to date:

  • 07-14-2023: Squamish Stories with Kung Jaadee Renowned storyteller, Kung Jaadee shared Squamish stories popularized by Indigenous activist and poet E. Pauline Johnson’s book, “Legends of Vancouver.” Drop in. Kung Jaadee (Roberta Kennedy) is a professional storyteller, educator and published author belonging to the Xaayda (Haida) xʷməθkʷəy̓əm (Musqueam) and Sḵwx̱wú7mesh (Squamish) First Nations. Her Haida name, Kung Jaadee, means ‘Moon Woman’ and was presented to her at her great uncle’s memorial feast by her cousin Crystal Robinson.
  • 05-6-2023: Meet the Artist: sɬə́məxʷ (Rain Pierre) Come and meet the artist who is creating a new piece of public art for the library. Rain will introduce himself, present his process and his work, and you have a chance to ask questions and allow him to get to know the library community. Refreshments will be served
  • 11-15-2022: Author Talk with Bruce McIvor Dr. Bruce McIvor discussee his book, Standoff: How Reconciliation Fails Indigenous People and How to Fix It. In this series of concise and thoughtful essays,  Bruce explains why reconciliation with Indigenous peoples is failing and what needs to be done to fix it. Dr. Bruce McIvor, lawyer and historian, is a partner at First Peoples Law LLP, a law firm dedicated to defending and advancing Indigenous Peoples’ inherent and constitutionally protected title, rights and treaty rights. His work includes both litigation and negotiation on behalf of Indigenous Peoples. Bruce is recognized nationally and internationally as a leading practitioner of Aboriginal law in Canada.
  • 06-16-2022: Author Talk with Lynda Gray Author Lynda Gray spoke about her new book, the 2nd edition of First Nations 101.  Areas covered included: A broad overview of how the shared history between Indigenous people and non-Indigenous people plays out today; How to be a great ally; and What is reconciliation? Lynda Gray is a member of the Gisbutwada/Killerwhale Clan of the Ts’msyen Nation on the Northwest Coast of BC. Although she is from Lax Kw’alaams and was born in Prince Rupert, she spent most of her life in East Vancouver until she bought a home in Prince Rupert in 2013 so that she and her children could return home more often to (re)connect to their Nation, family, land, and culture. Lynda is the proud mother of two adult children: Northwest Coast artist Phil Gray and professor Dr. Robin Gray. She and her children have learned much about their Ts’msyen culture and community from their participation in the Vancouver-based Lax Xeen Ts’msyen Dance Group, from attending traditional feasts in their home community of Lax Kw’alaams, and from active learning of their ancestral language, Sm’algya̱x. Lynda’s work is grounded in a strong belief in community development, youth empowerment, and culture as therapy. She has a bachelor’s degree in Social Work from UBC, served as the Executive Director of the Urban Native Youth Association for 8 years, and serves on community Boards including the Indigenous Cultural Safety Advisory Circle.
  • 06-07-2021: Meet the Author: Richard Van Camp Richard Van Camp a Dogrib Tłıchǫ writer of the Dene nation from Fort Smith, Northwest Territories. Author of 26 books including board books for babies such as “Little You” and “We Sang You Home,” and the graphic novel Three Feathers (also a feature film). His writing has been influenced by the tradition of oral storytelling.
  • 2021: Indigenous Film Series NWPL has collaborated with the New Westminster Museum and Archives in hosting an Indigenous Film Series which included films by Indigenous film makers, viewings and discussions with Indigenous creators

Call to Action #62: We call upon the federal, provincial, and territorial governments, in consultation and collaboration with Survivors,  Aboriginal peoples, and educators, to… Make age-appropriate curriculum on residential schools, Treaties, and Aboriginal peoples’ historical
and contemporary contributions to Canada a mandatory education requirement for Kindergarten to Grade Twelve students.

NWPL’s work to date:

  • NWPL maintains a rich collection of material for children and teens authored by Indigenous creators. This material is reviewed regularly to ensure it remains relevant, appropriate and authentic.
  • NWPL recognizes the need to audit our collections and to embark on the process of ‘decolonizing’ our materials to make meaningful this particular call to action. We are learning about what this process can look like and working to develop a plan around this work.

Call to Action #57: We call upon federal, provincial, territorial, and municipal governments to provide education to public servants on the  history of Aboriginal peoples, including the history and legacy of residential schools, the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, Treaties and Aboriginal rights, Indigenous law, and Aboriginal–Crown relations. This will require skills-based training in intercultural competency, conflict resolution, human rights, and anti-racism.

NWPL’s Commitment:

  • Staff will be required to complete with certification, the University of Alberta’s Indigenous Canada course, surveying the history of Canada’s treatment of First Nations and Indigenous peoples, from a First Nations perspective, since prior to contact. This program was initiated in September, 2021.
  • In conjunction with the initiative of the City of New Westminster, staff are encouraged to participate in regular Diversity, Equity, Inclusion and Anti-Racism workshops facilitated by professionals from diverse backgrounds.

Truth & Reconciliation Commission of Canada (TRC)

The Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada produced a series of reports and findings including the “Calls to Action” which includes calls that directly apply to the work of public libraries.

To see the complete report, see Calls to Action

NWPL Book Recommendations

National Day for T&R

Adult Fiction

Adult Non-Fiction

Teen Books

Books for Children