The fall of 2017 marked the beginning of the Library’s Honouring Reconciliation program to honour the experiences of Indigenous peoples in Canada, facilitate learning, and promote understanding of our shared history. This initiative was made possible by a Canada 150 grant from the West Vancouver Community Foundation.
The Library has continued to offer programming as part of Honouring Reconciliation. Most recently, this has included the unveiling of the permanent art piece Panel of Knowledge: Tyee Salmon and Eulachon. The purpose of the commission was to create a work that reflects and interprets the rich culture of the Squamish Peoples and to promote reconciliation and respectful relationships in West Vancouver.
In 2019, the Honouring Reconciliation initiative received the BC Library Association’s 2019 Building Better Communities Award, on behalf of Members of the Squamish Nation, Reconciliation Canada, and West Vancouver Memorial Library.
In addition to panel discussions, film screenings, and learning circles, past Honouring Reconciliation events include:
Ambleside by Canoe
In honour of National Indigenous History Month, a guided canoe paddle aboard Chi’ch’iyuy canoe was held on the waters around Ch’tl’am (Ambleside)—with participation from members of the Squamish Nation, including Chepximiya Siyam’ / Chief Janice George and Wes Nahanee. Between and during paddles, there were stories, bannock and tea on the shore.
Presented in partnership with the West Vancouver Police Department.
Indigenous Plant Walks
Ethnobotanist Leigh Joseph of the Squamish Nation held programs on coastal Indigenous plants in 2018 and 2019. Starting with a workshop at Sk’iwitsut House, Lighthouse Park, followed by an hour-long walk through the park, people learned about reconnecting to the land through Indigenous plant practices.
Kairos Blanket Exercise
Developed by KAIROS Canada, this participatory exercise covers over 500 years of history and was led by Charlene Seward of Reconciliation Canada.
Library staff facilitated discussions around Richard Wagamese’s powerful novel Indian Horse, which portrays the life of an Ojibway man who struggles to find peace by facing his traumatic past, telling his story and taking steps towards healing; Wab Kinew’s intimate memoir The Reason You Walk, in which he shares the story of his relationship with his father, a prominent Anishinaabe Chief and residential school survivor; and Bev Sellars’ acclaimed memoir They Called Me Number One, in which she shares her personal account of her residential school experience.
Image credit: Carved by Coast Salish artist Luke Marston, the Truth and Reconciliation Commission Bentwood Box is a lasting tribute to all Indian Residential School Survivors. The carved panels represent the unique cultures of former First Nations, Inuit and Métis students. Used with permission.
We acknowledge the Squamish Nation, the Tsleil-Waututh Nation, and the Musqueam Nation, who since time immemorial have lived on the land now referred to as the Greater Vancouver and Sea to Sky regions.