University of Toronto Libraries' statement on National Truth and Reconciliation Day

On September 30, 2021, we pause to reflect on and to acknowledge the National Day for Truth and Reconciliation. We grieve alongside Indigenous people everywhere, who have been dealing with the pain of the discoveries of thousands of known and unmarked graves, as well as the deep intergenerational trauma the Indian Residential School System has wrought on generations of Indigenous families. As a library system, we commit to further action to ensure that our work supports Indigenous students, faculty and staff of the University of Toronto whose research and vital work brings life, change and resurgence back into Indigenous communities. 

The University of Toronto Libraries continues to commit to the work of deep, non-extractive, relationship building with Indigenous peoples across the University and in the Community. We are grateful for the relationships that we have formed and endeavour to practice accountability in all facets of our services, collections, spaces, and programming. As stewards of knowledge practices, we recognize that Indigenous Knowledges and Languages come from the Lands on which we operate, and that the Residential School System sought to remove Indigenous peoples from their families and communities to take the Land. We acknowledge that settler-colonialism is an ongoing process, and we commit to learning from Indigenous community members how we can work in solidarity in their movements and resurgence. 

Already, our relationships with Indigenous community members have challenged us to rethink our practices and understandings. In April 2017, some UTL staff visited the Woodland Cultural Centre and Mohawk Institute to tour the residential school at the Six Nations of the Grand River Reserve. Over the summer, staff attended a trio of sessions related to Indigenous cultural competencies. Since then, we have worked to continue to learn, to grow and to change. We are deeply grateful for the opportunities to be better community and learning partners so that Indigenous community members will see our libraries as a space for Indigenous peoples, and partners in their research and learning while at the University and beyond. 

We commit to continue learning and growing in our relationships and acknowledging our responsibilities to Indigenous communities and Nations.