X̱wi7x̱wa (pronounced whei-wha) is part of the continuing development of First Nations education at the University of British Columbia. In recognition of the generosity of William and June Bellman to the First Nations Longhouse, X̱wi7x̱wa, the Squamish Nation name “Echo”, was presented to Mr. William Bellman at the First Nations Longhouse opening ceremonies by the late Chief Simon Baker, Squamish Nation. The new Library also carries this name. The library’s history began in the early 1970′s with the founding of the Indian Education Resource Centre. The collection later became the Native Indian Teacher Education Program (NITEP) collection. A Stauffer Foundation grant (1984) enabled the provision of some NITEP library services and the upgrading of the collection. When the First Nations House of Learning opened the new Longhouse and Library in May 1993, NITEP transferred the collection to X̱wi7x̱wa.
In 2005, the X̱wi7x̱wa Library became a new branch of the UBC Library which included core funding for collections and staffing including a reference librarian and cataloguing assistant. The X̱wi7x̱wa Library continues the ongoing maintenance and development of the Brian Deer (Aboriginal) classification system and associated Aboriginal subject headings. In 2005, the Library of Congress authorized a joint application from the UBC Library Cataloguing Division and the X̱wi7x̱wa Library to develop the First Nations House of Learning Indigenous Thesaurus.
The collections currently comprise approximately 12,000 items including about 6,000 books, 450 videos, 5,000 vertical file materials, curriculum resources, journals and newspapers, maps, posters, theses and dissertations, the G.A. (Bud) Mintz special collection, and some archival materials. The collections focus on First Nations in British Columbia, including contextual materials on Canadian First Nations, and in addition to issues of national and international interest to First Nations and Indigenous peoples. X̱wi7x̱wa collects materials written from First Nations perspectives, such as, materials produced by First Nations, First Nations organizations, tribal councils, schools, publishers, researchers, writers, and scholars.
For more information on the publications by or about the library and its librarians, please consult the About X̱wi7x̱wa Library bibliography.