CFLA Truth and Reconciliation Committee Report & Recommendations
April 21, 2017
The Canadian Federation of Library Associations’ (CFLA) Truth and Reconciliation Committee completed its report outlining a path forward for respecting Indigenous culture and increasing access to traditional Indigenous knowledge. The report makes ten recommendations to enhance experiences and opportunities for Indigenous peoples and researchers in Canada by decolonizing libraries and archives and their practices.
1. As CFLA-FCAB is a national voice with the ability to influence national and international policy regarding issues of importance, we request the CFLA-FCAB create a permanent Standing Committee on Indigenous Matters utilizing the medicine wheel framework developed by the Truth & Reconciliation Committee;
2. The T&R Committee supports and endorses the CFLA-FCAB Position Statement on Library and Literacy Services for Indigenous (First Nations, Metis and Inuit) Peoples of Canada;
3. Encourage libraries, archives and cultural memory institutions to implement the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada 94 Calls to Action, several of which have been identified as having a direct impact on libraries and archives and are prioritized in this report, and to implement a status report on a yearly basis to monitor their implementation;
4. Ensure accessibility moving forward by continually reminding stakeholders that material produced and programming planned in the future should be accessible to all Canadians. CELA (the Center for Equitable Library Access) and NNELS (the National Network for Equitable Library Service) are positioned to support these efforts.
5. Decolonize Access and Classification by addressing the structural biases in existing schemes of knowledge organization and information retrieval arising from colonialism by committing to integrating Indigenous epistemologies into cataloguing praxis and knowledge management;
6. Decolonizing Libraries and Space by recognizing and supporting Indigenous cultures, languages and knowledges through culturally appropriate space planning, interior design, signage, art installations, territorial acknowledgements of geographic-specific traditional territories and public programming in collaboration with local Indigenous stakeholders;
7. Enhancing opportunities for Indigenous library, archival and information professionals as well as the inclusion of Indigenous epistemologies in the Canadian library and archives profession through culturally appropriate pedagogy, recruitment practices, professional and continuing education and cross-cultural training in collaboration with local Indigenous stakeholders and partners;
8. Recommend the implementation of Indigenous Knowledge Protection protocols and agreements with local and other Indigenous groups who have holdings in libraries, archives and/or cultural memory institutions to respect the Indigenous cultural concept of copyright with regard to Indigenous history or heritage, which is often located in but not limited to oral traditions, songs, dance, storytelling, anecdotes, place names, hereditary names and other forms of Indigenous knowledges; recommend that CFLA-FCAB actively participate in reforming the Canadian Copyright Act to include protection of Indigenous knowledges and languages while advocating for changes to include traditional knowledge as outlined and recommended by the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) – Intergovernmental Committee on Intellectual Property and Genetic Resources, Traditional Knowledge and Folklore. We join the Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) to call upon Library and Archives Canada to implement the Truth and Reconciliation Commission Calls to Action #69 (Appendix D) by fully implementing the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UNDRIP) and the Updated Set of Principles for the Protection and Promotion of Human Rights through Action to Combat Impunity (2005), more commonly known as the Joinet/Orentlicher Principles;
9. Establish an online database of “living documents” to highlight existing Best Practices of Indigenous Services in libraries, archives, and cultural memory institutions that will serve as a foundation to help disseminate those best practices and for this “living document” to be updated preferably on a quarterly basis but minimally semi-annually;
10. Maintain a database of Indigenous organizations or groups committed to preserving cultural memory primarily, but not limited to, libraries, archives, language preservation, cultural history/museums to build relationships; to support the development of an Indigenous association of library, archives and cultural memory institutions; and to support in principle the National Aboriginal Library Association (NALA) regarding their stated intent of developing First Nations public libraries on reserves.