Truth & Reconciliation

“We have described for you a mountain, we have shown you the path to the top. We call upon you to do the climbing.”- Senator Murray Sinclair

Calls to Action

In working with our Indigenous neighbours, we must consider the Calls to Action brought forward by the Truth and Reconciliation Commission to ensure we are doing our best to work together respectfully and in a good way. While many of them call on the federal government to act, we as Public Libraries can assist in endorsement and implementation of the following twelve calls to action:

  1. We call upon the federal, provincial, territorial, and Aboriginal governments to develop culturally appropriate parenting programs for Aboriginal families.
  2. 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.
  3. We call upon the federal government to acknowledge that Aboriginal rights include Aboriginal language rights.
  4. We call upon the federal government to enact an Aboriginal Languages Act that incorporates the following principles:
  5. Aboriginal languages are a fundamental and valued element of Canadian culture and society, and there is an urgency to preserve them.
  6. 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.

  1. The preservation, revitalization, and strengthening of Aboriginal languages and cultures are best managed by Aboriginal people and communities.
  2. Funding for Aboriginal language initiatives must reflect the diversity of Aboriginal languages.
  3. We call upon federal, provincial, territorial, and municipal governments to fully adopt and implement the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples as the framework for reconciliation.
  4. 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.
  5. 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.
  6. We call upon Library and Archives Canada to:
  7. Fully adopt and implement the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples and the United Nations Joinet-Orentlicher Peoples, as related to know the truth about what happened and why, with regard to human rights violations committed against them in residential schools.
  8. Ensure that its record holdings related to residential schools are accessible to the public

iii. Commit more resources to its public education material and programming on residential schools.

  1. We call upon the federal government to provide funding to the Canadian Association of Archivists to undertake, in collaboration with Aboriginal peoples, a nation review of archival policies and best practices to:
  2. Determine the level of compliance with the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous People and the United Nations Joinet-Orentlicher Principles, as related to Aboriginal peoples’ inalienable right to know the truth about what happened and why, with regard to human rights violations committed against them in residential schools.
  3. Produce a report with recommendations for full implementation of these international mechanisms as a reconciliation framework for Canadian Archives.
  4. 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.
  5. We call upon provincial, territorial, municipal, and community archives to work collaboratively with the National Centre for Truth and Reconciliation to identify and collect copies of all records relevant to the history and legacy of the residential school system, and to provide these to the National Centre for Truth and Reconciliation.
  6. 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.

“Let’s Talk About Reconciliation” Film Screening and Discussion Events

“Let’s Talk About Reconciliation”
Film Screening and Discussion Events

The Canadian Commission for UNESCO, in partnership with the Indigenous Matters Committee of the Canadian Federation of Library Associations, the National Film Board of Canada, the National Centre for Truth and Reconciliation and Library and Archives Canada, are working in collaboration with libraries to "help build bridges and strengthen the relationship between Indigenous and non-Indigenous peoples".

Libraries will have access to NFB films at no cost. A list of suitable films will be provided. The promotion of each event through the National Committee is an option. One of the most important elements of this process is guidance and knowledge from the Indigenous community. 

The following three steps should help you start planning your event:
- Reach out to your Indigenous community and to an Elder to establish the collaboration in the first planning stages
- Select a film in collaboration with the community and Elder
- Propose a date

Decolonization in Action


The Canadian Federation of Library Associations' (CFLA) Truth and Reconciliation Committee completed and released its report that outlines the steps it will take to respond to the Calls for Action pertaining to libraries and library services. To see the report of the ten recommendations for decolonizing libraries and increasing respect for and access to Indigenous knowledge, click on the following links:

Read the full Truth and Reconciliation Committee report.

Read the summary.



Expand Your Knowledge

The links below concern a variety of topics surrounding Indigenous issues which have become human rights issues in Canada. It is a small sample of content but a starting point for those interested in learning more. 

Ally Relationships

CBC Radio - Building an ally: non-indigenous people share their stories of bridge building

CBC radio talks about what it means for Non-Indigenous people to be an ally.

Canada 150 - Alternate Perspectives

I Know You're Sorry, by Leonard Sumner

Explores the concept of forgiveness in the reconciliation process. Foul Language Warning (one word)

Kiskisiwin/Remembering, by Jesse Thistle, Directed by Martha Steigman

"As Canada celebrates 150 years of colonialism, we offer kiskisiwin | remembering as an interruption of the pioneer mythology at the foundation of the Canadian historical narrative, and to force a space for Indigenous presence."

Ted Talks:

America's Native Prisoners of War, by Aaron Huey

A look at American history as it pertains to Indigenous people of America, specifically the Lakota Nation of Pine Ridge. It parallels Canadian history.

The Danger of a Single Story, by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

A look at perspective in narratives and the value of multiple viewpoints or the problem with “othering”. This video is not specific to Indigenous rights but concerns the rights of those whose voices go un-heard.

Child Welfare:

Dr. Cindy Blackstock founded the First Nations Child and Family Caring Society, a non-profit organization to help address the inequality in the child welfare system adversely affecting Indigenous children in Canada.

This is a video of a talk she gave at the U of S in 2016.


APTN National News: Mother’s fight against Ottawa to pay for braces worth every penny if it helps others

A short interview that highlights the fight for a child's dental braces, about $6000.00 and how the federal government spent over $32,000 in court to refuse payment.

2016 Court decision where the Canadian Government was found in violation of human rights – discrimination of policy and practice for First Nations children living on-reserve, specifically limiting the scope of Jordon’s Principle.

Residential Schools:

Finding Peter Bryce, by Peter Campbell

A short video on the life of a non-Indigenous government worker who fought for the lives of First Nations children who were dying in residential schools.

Map of Residential Schools in Canada

An article in the spring 2017 edition of the University of Alberta's New Trail magazine called A Hard Walk, by Curtis Gillespie, discusses government policy regarding Indigenous people, residential schools and reconciliation.


National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls

The National Inquiry must look into and report on the systemic causes of all forms of violence against Indigenous women and girls, including sexual violence. 

Indigenous Economies:

Restoring Stable Indigenous Economies

Winona LaDuke, a Harvard educated and community grounded activist gives a hopeful talk about food and the land.