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Coquitlam library to provide reflection, learning opportunities for Truth and Reconciliation Day

Orange Shirt Day
By: Kyle Balzer, Tri City News

National Day for Truth and Reconciliation was created to offer Canadians from all walks of life the chance to reflect and acknowledge the history of Indigenous Peoples.

As part of that effort, the Coquitlam Public Library (CPL) is set to provide opportunities of its own the week of Sept. 30 — also known as Orange Shirt Day — following its agenda set in 2019.

In a statement, the CPL explains its Truth and Reconciliation report was created to address all initiatives that were recommended by the national commission's report published in 2015.

This has included:

• Creating a Calls to Action staff workshop
• Adding a territorial acknowledgement to its staff email signatures and website
• Hosting an Indigenous art workshop with a member of School District 43’s (SD43) Indigenous Education department
• Hosting a number of virtual book talks with an Indigenous book theme
• Recognizing both National Indigenous Day on June 21 and Orange Shirt Day on Sept. 30 with themed book displays and social media posts
• Commissioning 37 new Indigenous art lamps for its City Centre branch, with designs created by Katzie First Nation artist Rain Pierre (sɬə́məxʷ) in collaboration with Dusty Yurkin, a graphic designer who is also Katzie
• Accepting a generous book donation of more than 220 books by and about Indigenous peoples, from Alf Dumont, an Indigenous writer and Coquitlam resident who saw gaps in the Library collection
• Also included in the CPL's mandate is delivering story times for children, as well as book displays featuring novels and other material with Indigenous themes.

For the STAT coming up on Thursday (Sept. 30), the City Centre branch will be open under holiday operating hours — 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.

The Poirier branch, however, will be closed for Truth and Reconciliation Day.

The CPL says this is set to give the community a chance to reflect on the history of Indigenous Peoples in Canada and learn how they wish to see Truth and Reconciliation in effect.

As well, the Coquitlam library is set to honour and educate about B.C.'s multiculturalism as a whole through a six-part series that can be attended both in-person and virtually.

Called 'Past and Present: A Conversation about Race in B.C.,' each 90-minute session will focus on a particular cultural group, starting with the Kwikwetlem First Nation and Indigenous Peoples on Oct. 6.

A synopsis explains topics of discussion — which will be followed by audience participation and questions.

They include personal testimonies, the legal rights Indigenous Peoples had, the discrimination they faced, residential schools and their lasting impacts.

For more information about the Race in B.C. speaker series, you're encouraged to email Ann Johannes or visit the Coquitlam Public Library's website.

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