Truth and Reconciliation at KFPL

The Kingston Frontenac Public Library is committed to the process of reconciliation with Indigenous nations. We acknowledge that our work takes place on the traditional territories of the Algonquin, Anishinaabe, Haudenosaunee, and Huron Wendat peoples.

The Library is responding to the Truth and Reconciliation Commission's Calls to Action. Selected initiatives are outlined below, along with links to additional resources.

Collections

TRC: Calls to Action

Education

10. We call on the federal government to draft new Aboriginal education legislation with the full participation and informed consent of Aboriginal peoples. The new legislation would include a commitment to sufficient funding and would incorporate the following principles:

  1. Providing sufficient funding to close identified educational achievement gaps within one generation.
  2. Improving education attainment levels and success rates.
  3. Developing culturally appropriate curricula.
  4. Protecting the right to Aboriginal languages, including the teaching of Aboriginal languages as credit courses.
  5. Enabling parental and community responsibility, control, and accountability, similar to what parents enjoy in public school systems.
  6. Enabling parents to fully participate in the education of their children.
  7. Respecting and honouring Treaty relationships

Language and Culture

13. We call upon the federal government to acknowledge that Aboriginal rights include Aboriginal language rights.

14. We call upon the federal government to enact an Aboriginal Languages Act that incorporates the following principles:

  1. Aboriginal languages are a fundamental and valued element of Canadian culture and society, and there is an urgency to preserve them.
  2. Aboriginal language rights are reinforced by the Treaties.
  3. The federal government has a responsibility to provide sufficient funds for Aboriginal-language revitalization and preservation.
  4. The preservation, revitalization, and strengthening of Aboriginal languages and cultures are best managed by Aboriginal people and communities.
  5. Funding for Aboriginal language initiatives must reflect the diversity of Aboriginal languages.

Education for Reconciliation

62. We call upon the federal, provincial, and territorial governments, in consultation and collaboration with Survivors, Aboriginal peoples, and educators, to:

  1. Make age-appropriate curriculum on residential schools, Treaties, and Aboriginal peoples' historical and contemporary contributions to Canada a mandatory education requirement for Kindergarten to Grade Twelve students.
  2. Provide the necessary funding to post-secondary institutions to educate teachers on how to integrate Indigenous knowledge and teaching methods into classrooms.
  3. Provide the necessary funding to Aboriginal schools to utilize Indigenous knowledge and teaching methods in classrooms.
  4. Establish senior-level positions in government at the assistant deputy minister level or higher dedicated to Aboriginal content in education.

Museums and Archives

69. We call upon Library and Archives Canada to:

  1. Fully adopt and implement the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples 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 the residential schools.
  2. Ensure that its record holdings related to residential schools are accessible to the public.
  3. Commit more resources to its public education materials and programming on residential schools.

Our Actions

  • On September 15, 2021 the Kingston Frontenac Public Library Board adopted new ends statements that will guide our strategic planning, incorporating our commitment to Truth and Reconciliation.
    • Library spaces, collections are responsive to people's needs and lived experiences including those persons facing systemic barriers. Indigenous members in the service area experience decolonized and Indigenized library services.
  • The Kingston Indigenous Language Nest (KILN) houses their collection of Indigenous language learning materials at KFPL. We work alongside KILN to supplement this collection, making additional purchases through Indigenous publishers to ensure the acquisition of appropriate materials. Materials are housed at our Calvin Park and Rideau Heights branches, and are available by reservation to pick-up at any location.
  • In consultation with Indigenous community partners, the subject headings in our catalogue were updated in summer 2021, replacing outdated and offensive terminology.
  • KFPL commits to making all national, provincial and municipal reports related to the Calls to Action available for members of our community.
  • KFPL hired an Indigenous heritage intern to work with our Local History and Genealogy librarian, funded through Young Canada Works. This position will involve the collection of oral histories of local Indigenous community members between August and December 2021.
  • KFPL provides a dynamic collection to support all members of our community – fostering intellectual growth, lifelong learning, and leisure pursuits. We have committed to highlighting Indigenous creators, cultures, experiences and history, including materials that focus on the impacts of residential schools.

Programs & Education

TRC: Calls to Action

Education

12. We call upon the federal, provincial, territorial, and Aboriginal governments to develop culturally appropriate early childhood education programs for Aboriginal families.

Language and Culture

13. We call upon the federal government to acknowledge that Aboriginal rights include Aboriginal language rights.

Professional Development and Training for Public Servants

57. 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.

Education for Reconciliation

62. We call upon the federal, provincial, and territorial governments, in consultation and collaboration with Survivors, Aboriginal peoples, and educators, to:

  1. Make age-appropriate curriculum on residential schools, Treaties, and Aboriginal peoples' historical and contemporary contributions to Canada a mandatory education requirement for Kindergarten to Grade Twelve students.
  2. Provide the necessary funding to post-secondary institutions to educate teachers on how to integrate Indigenous knowledge and teaching methods into classrooms.
  3. Provide the necessary funding to Aboriginal schools to utilize Indigenous knowledge and teaching methods in classrooms.
  4. Establish senior-level positions in government at the assistant deputy minister level or higher dedicated to Aboriginal content in education.

Museums and Archives

69. We call upon Library and Archives Canada to:

  1. Fully adopt and implement the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples 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 the residential schools.
  2. Ensure that its record holdings related to residential schools are accessible to the public.
  3. Commit more resources to its public education materials and programming on residential schools.

Commemoration

80. We call upon the federal government, in collaboration with Aboriginal peoples, to establish, as a statutory holiday, a National Day for Truth and Reconciliation to honour Survivors, their families, and communities, and ensure that public commemoration of the history and legacy of residential schools remains a vital component of the reconciliation process.

Our Actions

  • All KFPL staff and Board members, including every new hire, is required to complete Indigenous cultural training, as well as other culture-focused and human rights training.
  • On the National Day for Truth and Reconciliation, the day will be marked with a moment of silence and appropriate displays.
  • KFPL is committed to increasingly inclusive programming, with a focus on engaging Indigenous creators. Jesse Thistle, Richard Van Camp, Bob Joseph, and Alicia Elliot have been hosted through virtual events since June 2020.
  • In response to the discovery of thousands of unmarked graves at residential schools, we launched a discussion group for patrons working through the Indigenous Canada course offered by University of Alberta.
  • KFPL supports the annual Indigenous Knowledge Symposium offered through the Queen's Office of Indigenous Initiatives, providing spaces, staff time, and financial sponsorship.

Library Spaces

The Truth and Reconciliation Commission called for education for reconciliation, and the recognition of Indigenous languages as a fundamental and valued part of Canadian culture and society. KFPL is working toward implementing these core values in our library spaces.

Our Actions

  • The Kingston Frontenac Public Library Board acknowledges that our work takes place on the traditional territories of the Algonquin, Aninishinaabe, Haudenosaunee and Huron Wendat peoples, and that our region is home to First Nations, Metis and Inuit from across the continent.
  • The Library acknowledges the traditional use of tobacco and other medicines (such as sage, sweetgrass and cedar) i.e. smudging, by Indigenous persons for traditional Indigenous cultural or spiritual purposes, consistent with the Smoke-Free Ontario Act. Accommodations for smudging are addressed in room and event space rental agreements.
  • Anishinaabemowin and Kanyen'kéha, were spoken at the Central Branch grand re-opening ceremonies in 2019: a traditional welcome was offered; a storytime incorporating both languages was offered; and a smudging ceremony was performed in the space prior to the opening

Progress to date

In 2018, KFPL surveyed the community about Indigenous services and the feasibility of an Indigenous Advisory Council.  Final reports for these surveys are available on the Engage KFPL website. Initial meetings were held in 2019, and KFPL continues to work toward an Indigenous Advisory Council.

Library Board Reports

  • more to come