This Canada Day, we mark 154 years since Confederation with mixed emotions. I am thankful to be living in this country that accepted my ancestors as refugees nearly 100 years ago. I am grateful to be raising my family in a place that holds to ideals of welcome, inclusion, and the dignity of every person. But I am devastated by my nation’s failure to live up to those ideals, both historically and today.
As I prepare to send my oldest child to school this autumn, the heartbreak of so many grieving families revealed by the discovery of children’s graves hits especially close to home. It can be difficult to know how to move forward and participate in reconciliation when faced with evidence of such atrocity. Many of you have visited the library as an early step in your journey, wanting to learn and be informed about the history of residential schools in particular, and about Canada’s relationship to its Indigenous peoples in general.
Here's an article by Marigold Library System’s Indigenous Outreach Specialist gives some book recommendations, and I hope you take the time to watch Monique Grey Smith’s video as a starting point to having conversations with your children and friends and families about our past, reconciliation, and moving forward. I also invite you to read the Final Report of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada, available in our collection. The calls to action are helpful guides to moving forward and will likely give you some ideas for how you and your family can participate in the work of reconciliation.
My final recommendation to you this month is a segment of The Current from CBC Radio that features Old Sun Community College and describes its transformation into a place that celebrates and teaches Siksika culture. The story is beautiful and hopeful, and I hope it inspires you.