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.
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.
Library Programs & Events
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’s work to date:
- In 2021 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
- NWPL is currently working to organize how we could 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
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.
- 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.
Reports & Resources
Selected Reports and Declarations:
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