Milton Library works at improving interaction with Indigenous communities


Published December 29, 2022 at 11:29 am

Milton Public Library is adopting several new calls to action in its continued effort towards truth and reconciliation with Indigenous people.

The 12 Calls to Action come from A Journey to ReconciliAction, a report released by the Hamilton Community Legal Clinic.

The report interprets recommendations within the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada (TRC) that can be undertaken by organizations at a local level, a key aim of Milton Public Library.

“I am delighted to be able to share that, once again, Milton Public Library continues to lead the community in efforts to decolonize our places and spaces including within our own policies, procedures, programs and people,” said Mark Williams, CEO and chief librarian of MPL.

“These 12 Calls to Action are just the first in many steps that MPL will take to build lasting reconciliation, healing, and cooperative relations with the Indigenous communities of Milton.”

A relationship between Grandmother’s Voice and MPL has developed into a connection with NaWalka Geeshy Meegwun (Lyndon George — Anishnaabe Ojokwe) of Hamilton Community Legal Clinic.

Recently, Lyndon facilitated an intimate workshop at the Main Library focused on land acknowledgement, where participants experienced a smudge ceremony and were challenged with the Calls to Action from the TRC report.

“It is encouraging to see Milton Public Library moving forward with implementing some of the Calls to Action from the Truth and Reconciliation Commission Report in the work that it does,” said George.

“This is a strong movement forward and I am pleased the Milton Public Library also acknowledges that there is still much more work to do and has committed to walking this new journey.”

With the support of Lyndon George and Grandmother’s Voice, MPL has identified these 12 Calls to Action which the Library can move forward on:

  1. Adopt the TRC and the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples as its reconciliation framework
  2. Provide written public materials in Indigenous languages
  3. Update phone system to include Indigenous language learning snippets while on hold
  4. Support Indigenous patrons and staff to identify themselves in their traditional name
  5. Ensure training on Indigeneity for all staff and board members
  6. Advertise job postings through Indigenous networks, spaces, and organizations
  7. Encourage Indigenous applicants to apply in all job postings
  8. Create flexible interview process focused on assessing Indigenous person’s qualifications in a culturally competent manner
  9. Review Collective Agreement and Policy to ensure they reflect Indigenous family structure, cultural practice, connection to land, community, culture, and self
  10. Ensure full acceptance of sick notes from traditional healers
  11. Ensure flexibility with regards to bereavement leave for Indigenous staff
  12. Recognize and support National Indigenous Peoples Day – June 21
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