The Canadian Library
Over the past year we have all been emotionally affected by the discovery of the remains of so many children on the grounds of residential schools. These events have shone a light on the atrocities, seen by the global community, that have been carried across Canada by those in power. We have also become more acutely aware of the sheer numbers of the missing and murdered Indigenous women and children. What shocks and upsets us is the lack of support by different levels of government, authorities and the justice system to help locate these beautiful women or hold the perpetrators accountable, compared to that of non-Indigenous women and children.
There is so much that angers us and we want to show our support as Canadians, as immigrants, and as settlers. We are co-resistors with our First Nations, Metis and Inuit families and want to help educate the masses, create true understanding and awareness of the scale of the atrocities and help bring about actual reconciliation.
We know that words can often get lost or be misconstrued and therefore we wanted to find a way to honor, remember and share the stories of those that have been lost, to help ensure that something changes for the better.
We strongly believe that music and art traverses many boundaries, bringing people together and transforming lives. Regardless of race, language or religion, the impact that the arts have on each of us can be profound and hence our decision in creating this art installation.
We consulted with a great number of our friends from various Indigenous communities and they have guided us on what steps to take in order to be respectful along this journey, which has helped us with the start of the creation of ‘The Canadian Library’, as a living memorial to honour Indigenous women and children.
The Canadian Library project has become a community-engaged installation which will lead to over 6,000 hard-cover books individually covered in Indigenous-inspired fabric, arranged on bookshelves. Names printed in gold-leaf on the spines of these books, will individually respect and honour the thousands of the murdered and missing Indigenous women and children.
As settlers and as allies, we continue to learn, educate and amplify Indigenous peoples voices, while honouring Indigenous women and children. We strive to continue working with Indigenous peoples, in respect and honour, to help our fellow settlers understand the past, the present and what we can do for the future. We understand that actions and conversations are not about us and thereby hoping The Canadian Library project will honour and shed light on the pain suffered and work towards preventing similar atrocities from happening in the future.
While steps are being taken to correctly educate and inform non-Indigenous members of our community, more needs to be done and we feel that one of the ways to help encourage greater awareness, conversation and education is through art.
The visual representation of the books covered in glorious Indigenous fabrics and the names of those lost, printed on the spines of the books, will evoke a sense of empathy, understanding and desire to see change.
We have also discovered profound beauty in the culture of Indigenous peoples. The art, designs and colours that we have been exposed to are breathtaking.
We do our best to ensure we work with mostly Indigenous artists and businesses along this journey as they are able to add additional guidance, support and to share their own stories.
I invite anyone interested in being a part of this journey to reach out to us.
This art installation belongs to Turtle Island.