"at your library" in the north island eagle: the library celebrates national indigenous people's month

Still catching up on posting my columns.

The recent horrific discovery in Kamloops of the remains of 215 Indigenous children, buried in an unmarked mass grave, brought home the horrors of the Residential School system. Many people in North Island communities may be retraumatized by this news, and those who are not directly impacted may still experience profound grief, anger, and sorrow. I know I personally have, and still do.

This chilling news came on the eve of National Indigenous People’s History Month (NIPHM). Canadians celebrate National Indigenous History Month to honour the history, heritage, and diversity of Indigenous peoples in Canada. It is also an opportunity to recognize the strength of present-day Indigenous communities. National Indigenous History Month is a time for learning about and appreciating the contributions First Nations, Inuit and Métis people have made in shaping Canada.

The VIRL NIPHM Challenge

Throughout June, VIRL invites you to take actions to further your understanding of local Indigenous communities, and the ongoing affects of colonization, and to engage with the many talented Indigenous content makers, artists, and creators.

There’s a resource list full of choices to help you – and a great prize draw as incentive.

The VIRL resource list includes books, movies, reports, articles, podcasts, games and more. You can use the NIPHM Challenge Booklet to track your progress.

How it works – what you can win

Each challenge you check off equals one entry into the prize draw. 

Each completed booklet gives you five additional prize entries. 

Your local library branches will be holding draws for gift cards from local Indigenous businesses. Challenge records submitted by the end of June will be entered into a grand prize draw for a $100 gift card for U’mista Cultural Centre in Alert Bay.

You can complete as many tasks as you like, and every task you check off counts for one prize entry.

List includes videos created by local students

The extensive resource list includes ideas for adults, teens, and kids. On the kids’ list, you’ll find videos created by students at the Gwa'sala-'Nakwaxda'xw School in Port Hardy. I hope you’ll check out these sweet and wonderful videos!

During the month of June, when you visit virl.bc.ca, you’ll see both Pride and National Indigenous History Month on the landing page. The beautiful graphic “Raven My Friend” was created for VIRL by Métis artist Jean-Paul Langlois. Mr. Langlois has made a downloadable version available on the VIRL website.

You can also bring home a Take & Make weaving kit, and learn by video with Elder artist and weaver Violet Elliott / SNU’MEETHIA. If you weren’t lucky enough to snag one of the kits with harvested cedar, you can participate using ribbon. See your favourite library branch to pick up your kit.

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