Federation of Ontario Public Libraries

CFLA’s Truth & Reconciliation Committee was organized by utilizing and adapting the medicine wheel framework. This was chosen as the framework through which the Indigenous worldview can be understood. The Committee was divided into four teams with the following responsibilities: The Black Team compiled Best Practices already in existence related to Indigenous peoples of Canada. The White team provided a gap analysis on the Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) Calls to Action and recommends an annual review be to evaluate progress. The Yellow team looked at existing relationships and developed a contact database. Finally, the Red Team envisioned the future by reviewing the existing body of knowledge related to the decolonization of space, access and classification, Indigenous knowledge protection, outreach and service. Information on the medicine wheel used can be found at the Turtle Lodge Journey of the Human Spirit.

We will be focusing on the recommendations made by the White Team, which details actions which libraries are or should be responding to.

Each Call to Action will be identified with it’s relevant recommendation. The following are Priority Level 2 Recommendations which should be adopted immediately.

Call to Action #1

1. We call upon the federal, provincial, territorial, and Aboriginal governments to commit to reducing the number of Aboriginal children in care by:
i. Monitoring and assessing neglect investigations.
ii. Providing adequate resources to enable Aboriginal communities and child-welfare organizations to keep Aboriginal families together where it is safe to do so, and to keep children in culturally appropriate environments, regardless of where they reside.
iii. Ensuring that social workers and others who conduct child-welfare investigations are properly educated and trained about the history and impacts of residential schools.
iv. Ensuring that social workers and others who conduct child-welfare investigations are properly educated and trained about the potential for Aboriginal communities and families to provide more appropriate solutions to family healing.
v. Requiring that all child-welfare decision makers consider the impact of the residential school experience on children and their caregivers.

Recommendations

1. Provide library programming which reflects the community it resides in;

2. Promote Public Libraries as safe spaces within those environments and the value of having a social worker train library staff;

3. Support training of social work students at academic institutions through collection development of academic libraries.

Call to Action #5

5. We call upon the federal, provincial, territorial, and Aboriginal governments to develop culturally appropriate parenting programs for Aboriginal families.

Recommendations

1. Libraries could offer space for these programs and train library staff in cofacilitating these programs;

2. Libraries should work with local associations, community groups, and city partners in partnering in parenting programs;

3. Libraries have spaces and collections to support such initiatives.

Call to Action #7

7. We call upon the federal government to develop with Aboriginal groups a joint strategy to eliminate educational and employment gaps between Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal Canadians.

Recommendations

1. Libraries could offer programming to support these efforts;

2. Review with HR departments means by which to eliminate barriers to hiring practices;

3. Participate in local job fairs seeking to hire Aboriginal employees, and go to on reserve schools to talk about all types of library careers;

4. On a library level, have management empower and coach staff; promote from within; offer additional education; consider experience (when educational boundaries are in place);

5. Advocate for more library funding at public libraries and schools that support large Indigenous populations (especially on reserves);

6. More scholarships and grants to Indigenous students pursuing library education.

Call to Action #9

9. We call upon the federal government to prepare and publish annual reports comparing funding for the education of First Nations children on and off reserves, as well as educational and income attainments of Aboriginal peoples in Canada compared with non-Aboriginal people.

Recommendations

1. Libraries can provide access to reports;

2. Libraries can make available copies of this annual report in all languages.

Call to Action #13

13. We call upon the federal government to acknowledge that Aboriginal rights include Aboriginal language rights.

Recommendations

1. Ongoing language initiatives – for example, in-house Inuktitut / Inuinnaqtun cataloging and subject headings;

2. Offering programming in multiple languages;

3. Multi-language collections;

4. Individual language code / designation for individual language – INU for Inuktitut for example;

5. Clearly separate language from categories where it may otherwise be lost – for example, some libraries in the North classify all materials related to the North – including Inuktitut language materials – as ‘NOR’ or
‘Northern.’

Call to Action #14

14. We call upon the federal government to enact an Aboriginal Languages Act that incorporates the following principles:
i. Aboriginal languages are a fundamental and valued element of Canadian culture and society, and there is an urgency to preserve them.
ii. Aboriginal language rights are reinforced by the Treaties.
iii. The federal government has a responsibility to provide sufficient funds for Aboriginal-language revitalization and preservation.
iv. The preservation, revitalization, and strengthening of Aboriginal languages and cultures are best managed by Aboriginal people and communities.
v. Funding for Aboriginal language initiatives must
reflect the diversity of Aboriginal languages.

Recommendations

1. Provide language collections;

2. Acknowledge that First Nations, Métis, Inuit are key stakeholders and involve them in developing new facilities, developing library related strategies, programming, and policies;

3. Explore potential partnership opportunities with universities and LAC.

Call to Action #36

36. We call upon the federal, provincial, and territorial governments to work with Aboriginal communities to provide culturally relevant services to inmates on issues such as substance abuse, family and domestic violence, and overcoming the experience of having been sexually abused.

Recommendations

1. In collaboration with Public Health departments, and local Aboriginal Community groups, promote Aboriginal Health practices through collections and programming; act as a bridge to bring community partners together;

2. Have patrons that reside in detention/correctional facilities borrow materials at times outside regular library hours.

Call to Action #53

53. We call upon the Parliament of Canada, in consultation and collaboration with Aboriginal peoples, to enact legislation to establish a National Council for Reconciliation. The legislation would establish the council as an independent, national, oversight body with membership jointly appointed by the Government of Canada and national Aboriginal organizations, and consisting of Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal members. Its mandate would include, but not be limited to, the following:
i. Monitor, evaluate, and report annually to Parliament and the people of Canada on the Government of Canada’s post-apology progress on reconciliation to ensure that government accountability for reconciling the relationship between Aboriginal peoples and the Crown is maintained in the coming years.
ii. Monitor, evaluate, and report to Parliament and the people of Canada on reconciliation progress across all levels and sectors of Canadian society, including the implementation of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada’s Calls to Action.
iii. Develop and implement a multi-year National Action Plan for Reconciliation, which includes research and policy development, public education programs, and resources.
iv. Promote public dialogue, public/private partnerships, and public initiatives for reconciliation.

Recommendations

1. Provide input to and support for a multi-year National Action Plan for Reconciliation, which includes research and policy development, public education programs, and resources;

2. Provide space, resources and facilities to enable public dialogue, public / private partnerships and public initiatives for reconciliation.

Call to Action #57

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.

Recommendations

1. Introduce core training for all staff to ensure awareness of the Intergenerational impact of Residential Schools and Colonization;

2. Provide language training for staff – to serve people in their official language;

3. Form staff working group to focus on furthering Reconciliation within the Library, enhancing staff supports and knowledge, and developing and sharing ideas.

Call to Action #63

63. We call upon the Council of Ministers of Education, Canada to maintain an annual commitment to Aboriginal education issues, including:
i. Developing and implementing Kindergarten to Grade Twelve curriculum and learning resources on Aboriginal peoples in Canadian history, and the history and legacy of residential schools.
ii. Sharing information and best practices on teaching curriculum related to residential schools and Aboriginal history.
iii. Building student capacity for intercultural understanding, empathy, and mutual respect.
iv. Identifying teacher-training needs relating to the above.

Recommendations

1. Provide collection and programming in support of mutual understanding, empathy and mutual respect;

2. Provide curriculum support.

Call to Action #66

66. We call upon the federal government to establish multi-year funding for community-based youth organizations to deliver programs on reconciliation, and establish a national network to share information and best practices.

Recommendations

1. If partners are required for funding submissions, libraries can provide gifts in kind;

2. Programming;

3. Project work;

4. Hiring students.

Call to Action #67

67. We call upon the federal government to provide funding to the Canadian Museums Association to undertake, in collaboration with Aboriginal peoples, a national review of museum policies and best practices to determine the level of compliance with the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples and to make recommendations.

Recommendations

1. Libraries with Special Collections should adopt any recommendations and best practices that come out of the national review in relation to their collections;

2. Libraries can build collections that address issues of repatriation of Indigenous human remains and cultural material, as well as representation of Indigenous peoples in museums:

3. Library schools should incorporate education regarding museum policies and practice in relation to the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.

Call to Action #68

68. We call upon the federal government, in collaboration with Aboriginal peoples, and the Canadian Museums Association to mark the 150th anniversary of Canadian Confederation in 2017 by establishing a dedicated national funding program for commemoration projects on the theme of reconciliation.

Recommendations

1. Libraries can offer letters of support for calls for funds;

2. Commemorate Canada 150+ rather than Canada 150. Utilize the anniversary as a time for Indigenous recognition and celebration. Work with First Nations and Urban Aboriginal peoples on this project;

3. Museum libraries can provide supportive resources;

4. Public and academic libraries could partner with museums/cultural centres on displays, and share resources;

5. Libraries should search for and apply on any available grants for Canada 150 Years of Confederation commemoration projects, and use funding for reconciliation projects.

Call to Action #73

73. We call upon the federal government to work with churches, Aboriginal communities, and former residential school students to establish and maintain an online registry of residential school cemeteries, including, where possible, plot maps showing the location of deceased residential school children.

Recommendations

1. Look to see if these registries can be accessible through library websites;

2. Some libraries may hold these or related records in their local history collections.

Call to Action #83

83. We call upon the Canada Council for the Arts to establish, as a funding priority, a strategy for Indigenous and non-Indigenous artists to undertake collaborative projects and produce works that contribute to the reconciliation process.

Recommendations

1. High potential for library partnership in this effort.