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, 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.
Since the 1970s dozens of women, including many Indigenous women, living in Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside have been murdered or gone missing. The first Women’s Memorial March took place in 1992 to commemorate the life of a woman murdered on Powell Street and it has been held ever since to honour all women living in the Downtown Eastside.
The 30th Annual Women’s Memorial March happens on Sunday, February 14th 2021. The march starts at 12:00 PM from Main and Hastings (Carnegie Community Centre). There will be stops along the way to commemorate where women were last seen or found; speeches by community activists at Main and Hastings; a healing circle at Oppenheimer Park around 2:30 PM; and a social distanced community feast at the Japanese Language Hall. Physical distancing and masks are required. The march will also be live streamed. Please see the “February 14 Women’s Memorial March DTES” Facebook page for more information.
Indigenous women living in the Downtown Eastside face disproportionate levels of violence, poverty and racism. To learn more about the experiences of Indigenous women living in the Downtown Eastside, please see the resources below.
“Survival, Strength, Sisterhood: Power of Women in the Downtown Eastside” by Alejandro Zuluaga and Harsha Walia: A short film that documents the 20 year history of the annual Women’s Memorial March for missing and murdered women in Vancouver, Coast Salish Territories. By focusing on the voices of women who live, love, and work in the Downtown Eastside this film debunks the sensationalism surrounding a neighbourhood deeply misunderstood, and celebrates the complex and diverse realities of women organizing for justice.
“Finding Dawn” by Christine Welsh: Dawn Crey. Ramona Wilson. Daleen Kay Bosse. These are just three of the estimated 500 Indigenous women who have gone missing or been murdered in Canada over the past thirty years. Directed by acclaimed Métis filmmaker Christine Welsh, Finding Dawn is a compelling documentary that puts a human face to this national tragedy. This is an epic journey into the dark heart of Indigenous women’s experience in Canada. From Vancouver’s skid row, where more than 60 women are missing, we travel to the Highway of Tears in northern British Columbia, and onward to Saskatoon, where the murders and disappearances of Indigenous women remain unresolved. Along the road to honour those who have passed, we uncover reason for hope. It lives in Indigenous rights activists Professor Janice Acoose and Fay Blaney. It drives events such as the annual Women’s Memorial March in Vancouver and inspires communities all along the length of Highway 16 to come together to demand change. Finding Dawn illustrates the deep historical, social and economic factors that contribute to the epidemic of violence against Indigenous women in this country. It goes further to present the ultimate message that stopping the violence is everyone’s responsibility. Find this film at UBC online or at X̱wi7x̱wa Library.
“Red Women Rising” report: Red Women Rising is an extraordinary report with Indigenous women survivors at the center; rather than as a secondary reference. Indigenous women in the Downtown Eastside (DTES)—a neighbourhood known as ground zero for violence against Indigenous women—are not silent victims, statistics, or stereotypes. This unprecedented work shares their powerful first-hand realities of violence, residential schools, colonization, land, resource extraction, family trauma, poverty, labour, housing, child welfare, being two-spirit, police, prisons, legal system, opioid crisis, healthcare, and more.
“Remembering Vancouver’s Disappeared Women: Settler Colonialism and the Difficulty of Inheritance” by Amber Dean: Between the late 1970s and the early 2000s, at least sixty-five women, many of them members of Indigenous communities, were found murdered or reported missing from Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside. In a work driven by the urgency of this ongoing crisis, which extends across the country, Amber Dean offers a timely, critical analysis of the public representations, memorials, and activist strategies that brought the story of Vancouver’s disappeared women to the attention of a wider public. Remembering Vancouver’s Disappeared Women traces “what lives on” from the violent loss of so many women from the same neighbourhood. This book is available online or physically from X̱wi7x̱wa Library.
“Keetsahnak / Our Missing and Murdered Indigenous Sisters” (Chapter 1) edited by Kim Anderson, Maria Campbell and Christi Belcourt: In Keetsahnak / Our Murdered and Missing Indigenous Sisters, the tension between personal, political, and public action is brought home starkly as the contributors look at the roots of violence and how it diminishes life for all. Together, they create a model for anti-violence work from an Indigenous perspective. They acknowledge the destruction wrought by colonial violence, and also look at controversial topics such as lateral violence, challenges in working with “tradition,” and problematic notions involved in “helping.” Through stories of resilience, resistance, and activism, the editors give voice to powerful personal testimony and allow for the creation of knowledge. This book is available online or physically from X̱wi7x̱wa Library.
For additional information and research help, please see X̱wi7x̱wa Library’s “Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women & Girls (MMIWG)” research guide.
Need a break from academia? We’ve put together a selection of love-themed Indigenous reads for you and your family this Valentine’s Day and Reading Week. Find these resources at UBC’s Xwi7wxa Library or check your local public library.
Want even more loveable reads? Check out last year’s Valentine’s Day reading list.
The Bear’s Medicine, written and illustrated by Clayton Gauthier, is a story of a mother’s love for her children as she teaches them how to survive. The Bear’s Medicine shows the interconnectedness of all things in the world they live in and how each season brings changes and blessings for the bears. Words in English and Dakelh.
Relational Constellation, an anthology edited by Elizabeth LaPensée, provides a unique opportunity for audiences to hear from a myriad of American Indian and First Nations voices on the meaning of love. Here readers will find works of graphic literature, including both poetry and fiction, that explore how celestial bodies build and share creative intimacies.
Deception on All Accounts by Sara Sue Hoklotubbe is a novel for folks who like their mysteries spiced with some romance. This story follows the character Sadie Walela as she navigates identify, murder, love and her career and faces deception on all accounts. Check out the other books in the Sadie Walela series for more. Find this book at UBC in the library and online.
Genocidal Love: A Life After Residential School, by Bevann Fox, is a novel that weaves truth and fiction to examine “A residential school survivor’s complicated path toward healing and love. Genocidal Love delves into the long-term effects of childhood trauma on those who attended residential school and demonstrates the power of story to help in recovery and healing.” This book is currently on order at UBC and X̱wi7x̱wa Library, but is available at Vancouver Public Library.
Birdsong, by Julie Flett. When a young girl moves from the country to a small town, she feels lonely and out of place. But soon she meets an elderly woman next door, who shares her love of nature and art. As the seasons change, can the girl navigate the failing health of her new friend? Acclaimed author and artist Julie Flett’s textured images of birds, flowers, art, and landscapes bring vibrancy and warmth to this powerful story, which highlights the fulfillment of intergenerational relationships and shared passions. Words in Cree and English.
You Are Enough: Love Poems for the End of the World, Sumac Smokii: A curated selection from hundreds of poems written over two years of a near-daily haiku practice. Sections of selected poems such as ‘recovery,’ ‘courting,’ and ‘ceremony,’ tell a story of what 2016-2018 was like in the life of a two-spirit, transmasculine, Ktunaxa PhD Candidate in [his] late 20s, living in Peterborough Ontario.
Zaagi’idiwin: Silent, Unquestionable Act of Love by Leanna Marshall, creates an intersection where viewers meet to understand and explore the essence of relationships, the meaning of connection/disconnection, and the pain of loss. Through the making and documentation of jingle dresses, Marshall explores the deeply personal stories that have shaped her perception of the complexities of her family history in the context of Canadian history. The social inequities, resistance, and sorrow communicated in this body of work serve as a springboard to examine the act of compassion and forgiveness, which ultimately helps to move forward to a new and more affirmative place of being.
November 2020 is the 6th anniversary of Indigenous Disability Awareness Month in B.C. and across Canada. The B.C. Aboriginal Network on Disability Society notes that “Indigenous people in Canada experience a disability rate significantly higher than that of the general population. Indigenous Disability Awareness Month (IDAM) brings awareness of these barriers and issues that Indigenous peoples and their families living with disabilities face every day. More importantly, we celebrate their achievements and recognize the significant and valuable contributions they make to our communities socially, economically, and culturally.”
In relation to Indigenous Disability Awareness Month X̱wi7x̱wa Library hoped to produce a booklist of #ownvoices fiction, non-fiction and scholarly sources related to Indigenous experiences of disability. After searching UBC’s scholarly resources, Twitter, GoodReads, Google, we found a gap in fiction, non-fiction and scholarly writing on this topic.
We’d love to hear from you: what are your recommendations for #ownvoices reading or media about Indigenous experiences of disability? Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org!
At UBC, the Crane Library is available to support students with disabilities through the Centre for Accessibility.
Researching Disability and Indigeneity
The language used to define and discuss disability, or differing abilities, is often context dependent and especially so in Indigenous communities. Beliefs about wellness and unwellness are different from community to community and often expanded to include the impact of colonization. Research about disability and Indigenous people is limited but is located primarily at the intersection of Disability Studies and Indigenous Studies, although it could encompass other areas of study (e.g.: education, social work, occupational therapy). Please bear in mind that some of the terminology used to do research about disability and Indigeneity may be outdated.
Start your research using the UBC catalogue or Summon. Please visit X̱wi7x̱wa Library’s First Nations and Indigenous Studies research guide for more information about doing research. Please email email@example.com for additional research support.
Useful keywords for searching UBC Summon and databases might include:
Combine keywords related to Indigenous identity with keywords about your topic. For example: Indigenous AND disability
- disability / disabilities
- Terminology specific to different abilities (deaf, deafened, Sign Language, Indigenous Sign Language, etc.)
- Terminology specific to Indigenous communities (Cree, Métis, Inuit, etc.)
Some useful subject heading for searching UBC Summon might include:
Useful journals and other e-resources might include:
Fiction and Non-Fiction
Below, you’ll find some adult and children’s books written by self-identified Indigenous authors with disabilities, Indigenous literature with differently abled characters, and books on the topic of disability. Unless otherwise noted, all books listed are available at a UBC Library for currently registered students, faculty and staff. For community borrowers, please check for these books at your local public library. If your library does not carry a book that you want, you can often request the library purchase it.
Adult Books & Media
Heart Berries: a memoir by Theresa Marie Mailhot: In this memoir, Mailhot chronicles her experience living with chronic mental illness.
“Seed Children” by Mari Kurisato in Love After the End. Love After the End is a new two-spirit, Indigiqueer science fiction/fantasy anthology, currently available as an ebook with the physical book on order at Vancouver Public Library.
Indian Sign Language by William Tomkins: An unabridged and corrected re-publication of the 1931 fifth edition of the work originally published by the author in San Diego, California under the title Universal Indian Sign Language of the Plains Indians of North America.
My Sister by Thirza Cuthand and Danielle Ratslaff (streaming media): Two thoughtful young friends openly discuss their relationship with their sisters, both of whom have intellectual disabilities.
You Don’t Have to Say You Love Me by Sherman Alexie: In this 2017 memoir, the author recounts his childhood hydrocephaly, alcoholism and bipolar disorder.
All the Weight of Our Dreams: On Living Racialized Autism: “Delve into poetry, essays, short fiction, photography, paintings, and drawings in the first-ever anthology entirely by autistic people of color, featuring 61 writers and artists from seven countries. The work here represents the lives, politics, and artistic expressions of Black, Brown, Latinx, Indigenous, Mixed-Race, and other racialized and people of color from many autistic communities, often speaking out sharply on issues of marginality, intersectionality, and liberation.” Available at Vancouver Public Library.
My only daughter : Karina Beth-Ann Wolfe / producer/director, Grace Smith: “Carole Wolfe, a deaf Indigenous woman in Saskatoon, bravely shares the story of her daughter’s disappearance in 2010. Told in American Sign Language.”
Native Athletes in Action! By Vincent Schilling (for middle grade ages): In Chapter 3, readers meet Cheri Becerra-Madsen (Omaha) a wheelchair racing Olympian and world record holder who lost use of her legs at age 3.
Tribal Journey by Gary Robinson (for middle grade ages): “Sixteen-year-old Jason is left with a paralyzed leg after a car accident and it is only after becoming involved with his Duwamish mother’s tribe and learning to “pull” a canoe that he begins to see himself as more than a boy in a wheelchair.”
Spirit Bear and Children Make History (for elementary grade ages): “Hello! My name is Sus Zul in the Carrier language. In English, people call me Spirit Bear. I am a proud member of the Carrier Sekani Tribal Council. I am on my way to Ottawa, Ontario, to witness a very important human rights case. Would you join me on this journey?” When Spirit Bear’s mom tells him about an important human rights case happening in Ottawa, Ontario, he makes the LONG trip (by train, his favourite way to travel) to go and watch, and to stand up for First Nations kids. And he isn’t the only one! Lots of children come too — to listen, and to show they care. Spirit Bear knows that children can change the world because he’s there to see it happen. This is the story of how kids — kids just like you — made a difference … with a bit of help from some bears and other animals along the way!”
Between the late 1800s and 1996, more than 150, 000 First Nations, Métis and Inuit children attended Indian Residential Schools. Orange Shirt Day, September 30th, was inspired by the story of Survivor Phyllis Webstad and honours the experiences of all children impacted by the Residential Schools.
On September 30th join X̱wi7x̱wa Library in the conversation about Orange Shirt Day by reading a book from our curated children’s book list about residential schools. Below are 5 additional children’s books related to Orange Shirt Day and Residential Schools.
See X̱wi7x̱wa Library’s “Indian Residential School System in Canada” research guide for more resources and research advice. Please email firstname.lastname@example.org for additional research help or questions about borrowing material from the Library.
The Indian Residential School History and Dialogue Centre (IRSHDC) at UBC will host several Orange Shirt Day events and workshops this year, starting on September 22 with a talk from Phyllis Webstad, author of “The Orange Shirt Story.” To learn more about events and the inspiration for Orange Shirt Day, visit the IRSHDC’s website.
“The Orange Shirt Story” is based on Phyllis Webstad’s personal experience attending residential school. For her first day at residential school, Phyllis wore a bright orange shirt given to her by her grandmother. When she arrived at the school, teachers immediately took her orange shirt and Phyllis never saw the orange shirt again. Since then, the colour orange has always reminded Phyllis of her traumatic experience at residential school and her orange shirt has become a symbol for honouring the legacies of children who attended Indian Residential Schools.
Spirit Bear is off on another adventure! Follow him as he learns about traditional knowledge and Residential Schools from his Uncle Huckleberry and his friend, Lak’insxw, before heading to Algonquin territory, where children teach him about Shannen’s Dream. Spirit Bear and his new friends won’t stop until Shannen’s Dream of “safe and comfy schools” comes true for every First Nations student.”
“The sequel to the award-winning book As Long as the Rivers Flow and the award-finalist When the Spirits Dance , Goodbye Buffalo Bay is set during the author’s teenaged years. In his last year in residential school, Lawrence learns the power of friendship and finds the courage to stand up for his beliefs. He returns home to find the traditional First Nations life he loved is over. He feels like a stranger to his family until his grandfather’s gentle guidance helps him find his way. Goodbye Buffalo Bay explores the themes of self-discovery, the importance of friendship, the difference between anger and assertiveness and the realization of youthful dreams.”
“From award-winning authors Richard Van Camp and Monique Gray Smith come two honest and memorable middle-grade novellas on residential schools and reconciliation. The novellas will be bound together in a ‘flip-book’ format, which offers the intended audiences two important perspectives in one package. This stunning and unique book will feature two covers: Lucy & Lola will include a cover and spot illustrations by renowned artist Julie Flett. When We Play Our Drums, They Sing! will feature cover photographs by Tessa MacIntosh.” For ages 9-13.
“One of Rita Joe’s most influential poems, “I Lost My Talk” tells the revered Mi’kmaw Elder’s childhood story of losing her language while a resident of the residential school in Shubenacadie, Nova Scotia. An often quoted piece in this era of truth and reconciliation, Joe’s powerful words explore and celebrate the survival of Mi’kmaw culture and language despite its attempted eradication. A companion book to the simultaneously published I’m Finding My Talk by Rebecca Thomas, I Lost My Talk is a necessary reminder of a dark chapter in Canada’s history, a powerful reading experience, and an effective teaching tool for young readers of all cultures and backgrounds. Includes a biography of Rita Joe and striking colour illustrations by Mi’kmaw artist Pauline Young.”
Starting September 15 2020, UBC Library is eliminating daily overdue fines on books, journals and audio-visual (AV) materials for all library users. Here are some other important points about the Library’s update on overdue fines:
- Overdue fines for Course Reserve loans, Interlibrary loans and electronics will still apply when physical borrowing resumes.
- Fines for overdue recalled items will remain in effect. Fines on a recalled item will accumulate once the item becomes overdue.
- For overdue items that are not listed as Course Reserves and are not recalled, no overdue fines will accumulate for 28 days. Once an item is 28 days overdue, it will be deemed lost and a lost charge notice will be sent. If the item is returned, the lost charge will be dropped.
See UBC Library’s full announcement for complete information about changes to overdue fines. Please contact UBC Library Borrower Services or X̱wi7x̱wa Library Borrower Services with any questions or concerns about borrowing material or overdue fines.
Interested in learning more about library fine reduction and abolition? Check out these news articles:
- Bowman, E. (2019, November 30). ‘We wanted our patrons back’ — Public libraries scrap late fine to alleviate inequity. NPR.
- EBSCOpost. (2019, February 27). Not so fine with library fines? A look at the overdue debate. EBSCO Information Services.
- Poon, L. (2019, October 2). Why libraries are eliminating late fees for overdue books. BloombergCityLab.
Doing research about library overdue fines policies? Check out some of these selected resources to get started, but book a reference appointment for additional research help:
- Ajayi, N. A., & Okunlola, A. A. (2005). Students’ perception of fine increases for overdue library books in an academic library. Journal of Librarianship and Information Science, 37(4), 187-193. doi:10.1177/0961000605057850
- Crist, B., & DePriest, M. (2018). Removing barriers to access: Eliminating fines and fees for a win-win for your library and teens: Discover approaches to eliminating fines and fees for youth in your library. Young Adult Library Services, 17(1), 14.
- Davies, R., & Sen, B. (2014). Overdue books at Leeds University Library. Journal of Librarianship and Information Science, 46(3), 226-242. doi:10.1177/0961000613486826
- Helms, C. (2019). Eliminating overdue fines for undergraduates: A six-year review. Journal of Access Services, 16(4), 173-189. doi:10.1080/15367967.2019.1668793