Tuesday, November 28, 2017

Indigenous Reads: Beginning Your Reconciliation Journey at UAL

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Many thanks to Kayla Lar-Son for her contribution to this article.

Working within Indigenous librarianship, we often get asked how people can participate in reconciliation. Reconciliation can be very slippery as it is a topic that is partnered with intense emotions coming both from Indigenous and non-Indigenous peoples. While there is a lot of work to be done towards reconciliation, it doesn’t need to be a scary task. Everyone can and should participate!

...but where to begin?

There are many everyday ways to start your own journey towards reconciliation. There are lots of resources to get you started too! For example, you can check out Crystal Fraser and Sara Komarnisky’s “150 Acts of Reconciliation for the Last 150 Days of Canada’s 150”. OR! You can view RISE’s (Reconciliation in Solidarity) eZine: 150 Everyday Acts of Reconciliation. This issue features artwork and ideas from people all around Edmonton. Both resources suggest curling up with a good book.

This suggestion gets a librarian stamp of approval! If you’re looking where to start, I suggest looking to Indigenous writers (there are a lot!).

These are some of our favourites:

indigenous writes

If books aren’t your thing -- welcome to the club! Yes, I’m one of those crazy librarians that don’t read books. My books come in the form of Graphic Novels, Documentaries, and Children's Picture Books.

the outside circle

Really, it’s a sad day when I don’t have one of these in the my pocket for the train ride home:
  • Deer Woman: A Vignette by Elizabeth LaPensée (Please note: any item that does not have a link are on order. We’ll have them soon!)
    • Moonshot by Hope Nicholson
    • Tales of the Mighty Code Talkers by Arigon Starr
    • UNeducation, Vol 1: A Residential School Graphic Novel by Jason Eaglespeaker
    • Love Beyond Body, Space, and Time by Hope Nicholson
    • The Outside Circle: A Graphic Novel by Patti LaBoucane-Benson and Kelly Mellings

    If you have little ones at home, you might want to consider stopping in to HT Coutts Education & Physical Education Library. There are puppets there. Yes, puppets! That, and they have loads of Children’s Picture Books. There are many great books surrounding reconciliation and Residential Schools in our collection, but when I read to my kids, I am drawn to the books that highlight our stories.

    children's picture books

    My kiddos love:

    Once the kids are in bed, I would suggest easing away from text for the evening. When you are in “chill mode”, pop in one of these documentaries. If the library doesn’t have a physical copy, consider scoping out some of UAL’s film databases. Criterion-on-Demand and Kanopy both have great, blockbuster flicks! So, skip Netflix for one night and look up these titles at the library:


    Whether you’re a bookworm or a film fanatic, these titles are sure to put you on a path towards further understanding the Indigenous Peoples of Canada.

    Until next time…

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