Three weeks ago, at OLA, I attended the Indigenous Worldview Education Session. It was one of those sessions not immediately relevant to my ‘day-to-day’ tasks, but that I wanted to attend. I spent a few minutes weighing the pros and cons of missing a ‘tech’ session, and let my gut lead me. I’m glad I did.
Jordan Teshakotennyon’s Miller and Maria Montejo were teachers. They engaged us with honesty, anecdotes of lived experiences and with humour. Both used laughter to bring light into heavy discussions of topics that are important to discuss: the Truth and Reconciliation Commission and Canada’s colonial past and present. I know that these topics will be uncomfortable, and that is inevitable. But sometimes, these issues are so complex that I struggle to see a way forward.
Maria and Jordan made sure that the way forward was clear: education, respect and change.
Wab Kinew’s keynote on Friday gave librarians specific calls to action:
- carry, and promote indigenous authors
- open up to the community, indigenous and otherwise
- open up to the knowledge keepers in local indigenous communities
- create a cultural safety net, rather than reinforce cultural superiority
We can do this. It will take understanding and time. But these are achievable goals for us.
Teachings from the Longhouse, Jacob Thomas & Terry Boyle
The Lubicon Lake Nation: Indigenous Knowledge and Power
If you’re in Toronto, Maria Montejo works at Dodem Kanonhsa, where people of all backgrounds are welcome to learn about indigenous traditions, teachings and language.