Truth and Reconciliation

Our Commitment

The Innisfil ideaLAB & Library is committed to the process of reconciliation with Indigenous communities, as outlined in the Truth and Reconciliation Commission Report.

We acknowledge that Innisfil is situated on Treaty land that is steeped in rich Indigenous history. The Library also acknowledges that this land is the Traditional Territories of the First Peoples of Turtle Island. It is shared between the Anishinaabe peoples of Beausoleil First Nation, Chippewas of Rama First Nation, and Chippewas of Georgina Island First Nation and we thank them for generations of stewardship. This meeting place is still the home to many Indigenous people and, as settlers, we are grateful to have the opportunity to work on this land. The Innisfil ideaLAB & Library acknowledges the forced sacrifices that are the foundation of Canadian society today. We are dedicated to honouring Indigenous history and culture and committed to moving forward in the spirit of reconciliation and respect with all First Nation, Métis, and Inuit peoples.

Terms and Pronunciations
Turtle Island: Refers to the continent of North America 
Anishinaabe: Ah-ni-shin-aw-beh
Beausoleil: bow-sow-lay
Chippewas: chi-puh-waa
Métis: may-tee
Inuit: i-nyoo-uht

Our Response

The Library has responded to the Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s Calls to Action. This work is ongoing, but a selection of initiatives and valuable resources are provided below.

Land Acknowledgment Statement

What is a Land Acknowledgment?

Land acknowledgments are rooted in Indigenous worldviews and protocol. Indigenous peoples have traditionally recognized and honoured their relationships to land and territory at the beginning of ceremonies and gatherings through verbal statements, ways of dress, art, etc.

Today, settlers use formal land acknowledgement statements to recognize the presence and resilience of the Indigenous peoples who were the first to care for this land and call it home.

When and Where Do We Make the Acknowledgment?

The land acknowledgment statement is used at the beginning of public meetings, special events, celebrations, meetings with dignitaries, and other significant community events/gatherings, as appropriate. The statement may be spoken, printed, or projected, and is posted on the Town of Innisfil and Innisfil ideaLAB & Library’s websites.

Why Adopt a Land Acknowledgment?

In 2015, the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada formally called on the federal government to reaffirm the nation-to-nation relationship with Indigenous peoples “based on the principles of mutual recognition, mutual respect and shared responsibility of maintaining those relationships into the future” (TRC Call to Action 45).

Adopting and practicing a land acknowledgment is a small but important step the Town of Innisfil can take in rebuilding relationships between Indigenous and non-Indigenous peoples in Canada and honouring the original agreement to live in peace, friendship, non-interference, and respect. Dedicating time to reflect on the truth about Canada’s colonial history and how to contribute to reconciliation offers a regular reminder that we are all accountable to these relationships as Treaty people.

How was Innisfil’s Land Acknowledgment Developed?

In January 2021, the Library Board formed a Land Acknowledgment Statement Committee to update the land acknowledgment statement adopted in 2017. The Committee included Library Board Members, a Town of Innisfil Council Member, and local First Nations representative, Jeff Monague.

The new statement was adopted in June 2021 and used for the first time during the 2021 National Indigenous History Month event.

Collections

TRC Recommendation #62: We call upon the federal, provincial, and territorial governments, in consultation and collaboration with Survivors, Aboriginal peoples, and educators, to: Make age-appropriate curriculum on residential schools, Treaties, and Aboriginal people’s historical and contemporary contributions to Canada a mandatory education requirement for Kindergarten to Grade Twelve students.
TRC Recommendation #69: We call upon Library and Archives Canada to:

  • Ensure that its record holdings related to residential schools are accessible to the public.
  • Commit more resources to its public education materials and programming on residential schools.

Demonstrated Action:

  • Innisfil ideaLAB & Library branches provide students, educators, and residents of all ages with access to information related to residential schools, Indigenous history and culture, and truth and reconciliation.
  • Staff are completing a diversity audit of Innisfil ideaLAB & Library collections to ensure that subject matter is inclusive of all topics, cultures, and worldviews. This project will help the Library determine subject areas of improvement (including Indigenous culture and history), in addition to identifying illicit bias in the selection process.
Programs and Events

TRC Recommendation #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.

TRC Recommendation #69:
We call upon Library and Archives Canada to:

  • Ensure that its record holdings related to residential schools are accessible to the public.
  • Commit more resources to its public education materials and programming on residential schools.

Demonstrated Action:

  • We offer free events and programs that highlight Indigenous culture and provide opportunities for our community to listen, learn, and engage in critical dialogue surrounding truth and reconciliation. See what’s on at the Library.
  • We maintain a resource list to make information about Indigenous culture, residential schools and reconciliation more accessible.
  • Our staff and Board members participate in training related to the history and impacts of residential schools, de-colonizing library collections, cultural competency, anti-oppression, and human rights.
Supports

In May 2021, the remains of 215 Indigenous children were found in unmarked graves outside the former Kamloops Indian Residential School. Since then, the remains of hundreds of Indigenous children have been recovered at Canada’s so-called ‘Indian Residential Schools’ with thousands more expected to be found.

Indian Residential Schools were government-funded and largely run by churches. They were designed to assimilate Indigenous children by destroying Indigenous cultures and languages. The last Indian Residential School closed in 1996.

The discrimination, deprivation, and abuse Indigenous children and families experienced in the residential school system have been labelled as cultural genocide by the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada.

The Innisfil ideaLAB & Library stands in solidarity with the survivors, their families, and the communities who are mourning, grieving, and healing.

You are not alone, support is available:

Indian Residential School 24/7 Crisis Line for Survivors and Families: Call 1-866-925-4419

Indian Residential School Survivor Society Support Line: Call 1-800-721-0066

Hope for Wellness 24/7 Help Line: Call 1-855-242-3310, Live Chat Available

Talk4Healing 24/7 Helpline for Indigenous Women: Call or text 1-855-554-HEAL (4325), Live Chat Available

Kids Help Phone: Call 1-800-668-6868, text 686868, or Live Chat – Connect with an Indigenous volunteer crisis responder by texting FIRST NATIONS, INUIT or METIS

Resource List

We have curated a list of resources to help you on your learning journey. If you have recommendations for resources that should be added to the collection, please call 705-431-7410, submit online, or visit staff at one of our branches to start the conversation.

Program Suggestion

If you have a program suggestion or are interested in working with us, please call 705-431-7410, submit online, or visit staff at one of our branches to start the conversation.