They Called My Number One Reading Circle Word Cloud

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 included facilitating seven reading circles based on Bev Sellars' book They Called Me Number One. At the end of each circle, participants were asked to describe their feelings in one or two words. This word cloud is the result. 


In 2009, the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada (TRC) began a multi-year process to listen to survivors, communities and others affected by the Residential School system. In 2015, the TRC released a report—Honouring the Truth, Reconciling for the Future—that included 94 Calls to Action to "redress the legacy of residential schools and advance the process of Canadian reconciliation.” The report outlines that “governments, churches, educational institutions, and Canadians from all walks of life are responsible for taking action on reconciliation in concrete ways, working collaboratively with Aboriginal peoples. Reconciliation begins with each and every one of us." 

As a public institution that supports learning for adults and youth in our community, our Library has an important role to play in reconciliation. Honouring Reconciliation: Hearing the Truth is intended to expand understanding of local Indigenous history, impacts of colonialism and its ongoing effects on Indigenous peoples.

The Library will continue to offer programs and activities in subsequent years to promote knowledge, understanding and dialogue, recognizing that reconciliation is an ongoing practice that will shape our community for the next 150 years and beyond.

We acknowledge the Squamish Nation, the Tsleil-Waututh Nation and the Musqueam People, who since time immemorial have lived on the land now referred to as the Greater Vancouver and Sea to Sky regions. 

2017 Program

Stories, Lessons and Conversations from the Truth and Reconciliation Commission

An educational display exploring the history and impact of residential schools, through images and documents from the National Centre for Truth and Reconciliation at the University of Manitoba. 

"The National Centre for Truth and Reconciliation opened in 2015, marking the end of the tenure of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission in Canada (TRC). Commission hearings were held across Canada between 2008 and 2015 to hear truths about the history and impacts of residential schools in Canada and to consider how Canada can approach reconciliation.

Education, Outreach and Archives are key pillars to the work of the National Centre. Survivors of residential schools and their truths that stand at the core of Canadian history, shape the work and the collections at the National Centre.  Envisioned as a growing, Indigenous-based archive, the statements, material collections and documents collected during the Commission form the base of an important set of records, for all Canadians. Located in Winnipeg at the University of Manitoba, the National Centre also develops innovative and creative educational programming and outreach activities. All of this work is an ongoing process, not a final destination and it encompasses a broad range of definitions and different versions of this term; reconciliation. These panels explore some of the stories, lessons and conversations that we are having on truth and reconciliation and hopefully provide context for work that is still to come." - National Centre for Truth and Reconciliation

Reading Circles

Reading Circles based on Bev Sellars' acclaimed memoir — They Called Me Number One.

In these Reading Circles, we explored Bev Sellars' frank and poignant memoir, in which she shares her personal account of her residential school experience and eloquently articulates her own path to healing. Library staff facilitated each discussion to expand our understanding of local Indigenous history, impacts of colonialism and its ongoing effects on Indigenous peoples. Books and background reading materials were provided. 

The National Film Board's Aabiziingwashi (Wide Awake): NFB Indigenous Cinema on Tour

Marie Clements

A film series inspired conversations on identity, family, community and nationhood.

The Road Forward 

A musical documentary, connects a pivotal moment in Canada’s civil rights history—the beginnings of Indian Nationalism in the 1930s—with the powerful momentum of First Nations activism today." - NFB  Filmmaker Marie Clements will introduce the film and answer questions. 

Angry Inuk 

"In her award-winning documentary, director Alethea Arnaquq-Baril joins a new tech-savvy generation of Inuit as they campaign to challenge long-established perceptions of seal hunting." - NFB

Trick or Treaty 
“This feature documentary by acclaimed filmmaker Alanis Obomsawin… profiles Indigenous leaders in their quest for justice as they seek to establish dialogue with the Canadian government. By tracing the history of their ancestors since the signing of Treaty No. 9, these leaders aim to raise awareness about issues vital to First Nations in Canada.” - NFB

Birth of a Family 
"Three sisters and a brother, adopted as infants into separate families across North America, meet together for the first time in this deeply moving documentary by director Tasha Hubbard." - NFB

Perspectives on our shared history

A moderated panel discussion engaged community members in dialogue and explored the meaning of reconciliation on a national, community and individual level. 


Charlene Seward
Charlene Seward is a proud member of the Squamish Nation. She brings almost a decade of experience working and volunteering with local non-profit organizations and small businesses. She is wholly dedicated to First Nations rights, reconciliation, and food sovereignty. Char's role with Reconciliation Canada involves acting as a facilitator for the Reconciliation Dialogue Workshops, she is a speaker and manages community engagement all throughout the country.
Bev Sellars
Bev Sellars is a Canadian writer, who was a finalist for the 2014 Burt Award for First Nations, Métis and Inuit Literature for her book They Called Me Number One. A former chief of the Xatśūll First Nation at Soda Creek, British Columbia, she published They Called Me Number One in 2013 as a memoir of her childhood experience in the Indian residential school system. The book also won the 2014 George Ryga Award for Social Awareness, and was shortlisted for the 2014 Hubert Evans Non-Fiction Prize. Sellars was a student at the St. Joseph's Residential School in Williams Lake, British Columbia. She later studied history at the University of Victoria, and law at the University of British Columbia. First elected chief of Xatśūll in 1987, she has also served as an advisor to the British Columbia Treaty Commission.
Chris (Syeta'xtn) Lewis
Chris (Syeta'xtn) Lewis is an Elected Councillor for the Squamish Nation and is one of the two official spokespersons on behalf of the Nation with the following portfolios: Intergovernmental Affairs, Health, Governance, and Fisheries. Chris is also a Board of Governor for Simon Fraser University and serves on the board of the Coho Society of the North Shore. Previously, Chris worked for many years at the national and provincial level for the BC Assembly of First Nations focusing on First Nations advocacy and policy. Mr. Lewis holds his Bachelor of Arts (Geography) from Simon Fraser University. He is also is an avid outdoorsmen with his wife Jennifer and daughter Madison.
Lynne Tomlinson
Lynne Tomlinson is Director of Instruction for the West Vancouver School District. She worked in West Vancouver as an Elementary Teacher, Vice Principal and Principal before taking on the role of Director of Instruction. Lynne's portfolio includes Aboriginal Education and she works closely with the district's Skwxwú7mesh cultural advisors to develop school programs and build relationships with First Nations, Metis and Inuit families in West Vancouver. Lynne is an Adjunct Professor at UBC, teaching Aboriginal Education in Canada as part of the Teacher Education Program. She is a presenter on innovative teaching and learning in the classroom and educational networking to improve student achievement. Lynne is passionate about improving the life chances of all students. She enjoys juggling the life balance of a passion for her work and five busy children and a wonderful husband. You can follow Lynne on Twitter @ltnpbs
Alexander Dirksen - Moderator
Alexander Dirksen A proud Métis policy wonk, strategist and facilitator, Alexander is passionate about helping to craft an inclusive and equitable future for our country through the meaningful advancement of reconciliation. Alexander recently joined the First Nations Technology Council as Manager of Strategy and Engagement from Reconciliation Canada, where he served in the role of Government Relations and Stakeholder Engagement. Alexander has also served as Operations Manager for the Banff Forum and as a researcher at the Centre for Global Research at the Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology, where he explored transitional justice and reconciliation in the context of Timor-Leste. Alexander holds an M.A. in Global Affairs from the Munk School of Global Affairs at the University of Toronto and a B.A. (with Honours) in International Studies from Simon Fraser University.

Truth and Reconciliation Commission Bentwood BoxBentwood Box Image: 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.  

Learn more about the Truth and Reconciliation Commisison Bentwood Box.




This initiative was made possible by the Community Fund for Canada's 150th, a collaboration between West Vancouver Community Foundation, the Government of Canada, and extraordinary leaders from coast to coast to coast. 

Cette initiative a été rendue possible grâce au Fonds communautaire pour le 150e anniversaire du Canada, qui est une collaboration entre West Vancouver Foundation, le gouvernement du Canada et des leaders extraordinaires de l'Atlantique au Pacifique à l'Arctique.