Saskatoon

Saskatoon library dedicates space for truth and reconciliation

Saskatoon is now home to what is believed to be the first library space in the province permanently dedicated to reconciliation.

Read for Reconciliation area opening at Frances Morrison Central Library

Truth and Reconciliation Commission Indian Residential School Survivor Committee member Eugene Arcand and Saskatoon Public Library CEO Carol Cooley. (Steve Pasqualotto/CBC News)

Saskatoon is now home to what is believed to be the first library space in the province permanently dedicated to reconciliation.

Today, Saskatoon's Frances Morrison Central Library will launch the Read for Reconciliation area. The space will include a full set of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission reports, as well as numerous books about Canada's history of residential schools. 

Eugene Arcand, a member of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission's Indian Residential School Survivor Committee, thinks the area could be precedent-setting.

I think Canada's come to realize this is the country's darkest secret.- Eugene Arcand

"It feels great," Arcand told CBC Radio's Saskatoon Morning. "It's an incredible gesture of reconciliation."

The idea for the space sprouted when Arcand donated his set of commission reports to the library and suggested a corner dedicated to reconciliation.

The CEO of Saskatoon Public Library, Carol Cooley, said there was no shortage of material to fill the space.

"There are histories of the residential schools," she said. "There are biographies and stories of some of the survivors, many of them written from across Canada. We're actually working with Reconciliation Saskatoon to gather names of authors and books that they recommend for the collection."

Arcand hopes the area attracts many visitors.

"I think Canada's come to realize this is the country's darkest secret," said Arcand. "So, exposing this era in as positive a way as possible to show that there are reasons for the social ills that affect my community, this process of public education for the promotion of understanding is absolutely necessary."

The reading area will be launched with a special ceremony and smudging later today.

With files from CBC Radio's Saskatoon Morning

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