National Day for Truth and Reconciliation Day - Regina
- Julia Peterson | October 06, 2021
With the first National Day for Truth and Reconciliation in Canada still fresh in people’s minds, the Regina Public Library (RPL) wants to help people keep learning about Indigenous history.
On September 30, the library hosted a reading by Bevann Fox, a residential school survivor and author of Genocidal Love: A Life After Residential School.
At the start of her reading, Fox reflected about how library events like this one - and the day for truth and reconciliation as a whole - are helping to respond to the Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s Calls to Action issued in 2015.
“This is a start,” she said. “We have this holiday now, this day to remember the children. It’s really emotional for me.”
In her book, Fox writes about her experiences in residential school, as well as in the years later when she was fighting for compensation from the government.
“When I wrote this book, it was meant for my children and grandchildren, so I could leave this for them in case they ever come upon cycles of - I call it genocide - in their lives,” she said. “Because I attended residential school in my early years of childhood, and it was the most horrific thing I’ve ever been through in my life.”
Since finishing the book, Fox has brought it to a much larger audience than just her family. She says the responses from readers who tell her the book has taken them “on a journey” have been especially moving.
For RPL librarians and library patrons, having the chance to hear directly from Fox was an important part of the day.
“We’re honoured to hold space for Bevann to share her story,” said Nancy MacKenzie, Director of Community Engagement and Programming at RPL. “It’s a valuable opportunity to learn more about the lasting impact the residential school system continues to have, from someone with lived experience.”
Along with Fox’s book, RPL also features multiple Indigenous Voices reading lists on its website - one specifically geared for children, another for older readers. The library has also curated a list of Indigenous films available to borrow.
On social media, the library has also been featuring short Indigenous language learning videos, teaching people how to say phrases like “hello,” “thank you” and “I love you” in Michif, Saulteaux, Cree, Dakota, Lakota and Nakoda.
On October 19, RPL will also be hosting a workshop on decolonizing the workplace.