June marks National Indigenous History Month. As part of our ongoing commitment to Reconciliation, we urge all staff to take the time to reflect on our responsibilities as Canadians, settlers, and treaty people. We can start to honour Indigenous histories, peoples and communities by educating ourselves. Here are some resources you can use (and share!) during this time and all year round.
- Read Indigenous. We have two reading lists, Read Indigenous and Reading for Reconciliation. Read Indigenous includes books written by Indigenous authors, writers, illustrators and knowledge keepers for all ages. It is updated annually. Reading for Reconciliation, our June Featured List, explores a variety of issues, ranging from Colonialism to the Residential School legacy that has shaped Canada’s current relationship with Indigenous peoples. This work was led by Eunice Rodrigues on behalf of the Indigenous Services Committee. Additionally, the TPL Reading Challenge team has created a recommended reading list for the category “a book by an Indigenous author.”
- Listen to a story. Two of our staff members will be doing Read Indigenous Storytimes as part of our Storytime at Home programs. On June 18, Melanie Ribau will be reading You Hold Me Up by Monique Gray Smith. On June 25, Eleni Palotta will be reading Kiss by Kiss by Richard Van Camp, and Hello Humpback by Roy Henry Vickers and Robert Budd. These Storytimes are recorded and will available in the Storytime at Home YouTube playlist.
- Watch an event. To improve access to our online Indigenous content, Digital Media Services Specialist George Panayotou grouped several recorded events from the past few years in an Indigenous playlist on our YouTube channel. TPL has hosted many fantastic authors and speakers over the years. Watch interviews with Eden Robinson, Sheila Watt-Cloutier and more.
- Take a class. While TPL’s mandatory Indigenous Cultural Competency Training, delivered by Ontario Federation of Indigenous Friendship Centres, is unavailable right now, try the Indigenous Canada Massive Open Online Course (MOOC). This 12-lesson program explores Indigenous histories and contemporary issues in Canada. The next offering just opened on Friday, June 12, but you can still register and catch up this week.
- Learn more about TPL’s land acknowledge statements. TPL’s land acknowledgement statements are one of the important ways we show gratitude and respect and acknowledge the host Indigenous nation(s) on whose territory we gather. This remains relevant in our new working environment of online meetings and programs, and we have an alternative statement available for staff to use for online programming, which you can find at the bottom of the tpl.ca homepage. Read more about our statements here.
- Meet our Indigenous Advisory Council (IAC). The IAC was established in 2017 as part of our response to the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada’s 94 Calls to Action. The IAC is made up of members from different Indigenous communities and of representatives from Indigenous service providers in Toronto. You can find out more about the IAC members and read their profiles on our website.
- Participate in the City of Toronto Sunrise Ceremony. This year’s annual event will be happening online. The Sunrise Ceremony marks National Indigenous Peoples day on June 21. This is a day of cultural significance for First Nations, Inuit and Métis.
- And more. Senior Services Specialist Melanie Ribau (Indigenous Community Connections & Partnerships) has put together a collection of resources to recognize National Indigenous History Month 2020. You can also access her post from the Featured section of our homepage, where it will be highlighted until the end of June.
I am also happy to share that TPL’s first Indigenous Digital Content Lead, Jamie Lee Morin, starts in July and will help update and highlight an Indigenous virtual presence on tpl.ca.