When the Haida Education Council learned last year that there were no public libraries on aboriginal land in the province of BC they decided they would be the first nation to break that tradition! The first phase of this project materialized on Sept. 14 with the opening of the First Nations Children’s Library at Skidegate Headstart.
The library was blessed with a prayer by the Haida Elder, Jackie Casey, speaking in Haida, blessing the books “for the use of our children and other children within the program.”
Tian Lord, Cheynna Moraes, and Tyrone Young, from Sk’aadgaa Naay Elementary School, spoke about the value of the library for children in the community. Vonnie Hutchingson, Director of Haida Education, said “it is important for First Nations children to see themselves reflected in books.” She added that all children on island should have access to high-quality First Nations literature “as we are all living and learning here together.”
Purchased with a generous grant from the Starbuck’s Gift of Words Program and chosen with the help of Headstart parents, children, and elders, the book collection includes a beautiful selection of traditional and contemporary stories. Supported by Literacy Haida Gwaii, Vancouver Island Regional Library, and Skidegate Headstart, this project is part of the ongoing work of the Haida Education Council to develop a process of continual learning and capacity building that includes everyone as partners in children’s education.
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