Supporting the communities we live and work in isn’t a novel concept, but this is certainly a story we’re excited to be part of.
On April 12, 2019, the Calgary Public Library Foundation announced a $1.6-million donation from the Suncor Energy Foundation (SEF) in support of Indigenous programming and cross-cultural learning opportunities.
The money will be put towards the central library’s goal of being an inclusive gathering place for all Calgarians. The funding will facilitate the hiring of two Indigenous program interns, roles that will focus on Indigenous engagement to ensure library services can be designed to meet community needs. Funding will also support collaboration with external Indigenous-led researchers to develop appropriate forms of evaluation for Indigenous services. These additions to the Calgary Public Library’s Indigenous strategy will ensure Indigenous community members are involved in decision making, and delivery of services is prioritized.
“The library is excited to work with the Suncor Energy Foundation to better fulfil this role,” says Alayna Many Guns, Indigenous services design lead at the Calgary Public Library.
Additional strategic priorities supported by this investment include Indigenous language resources including an online learning platform, Indigenous cultural initiatives such as a speaker and performance series, and a sustained focus on Indigenous place making and art in libraries across the city.
The hub for this initiative is the Elders’ Guidance Circle space in the central library, which provides urban Indigenous peoples with access to Elders’ knowledge and guidance. Learnings from the circle and feedback from the community will inspire and inform the expansion of Indigenous initiatives across the Calgary Public Library system.
Supporting this initiative connects to our long-term social goal to advance relationships and build mutual trust and respect between Indigenous Peoples and all Canadians.
“When we have spaces, places and tools to help us come together, celebrate, and learn about each other we can better appreciate the rich diversity that exists in our communities and that is a foundation for the strong and vibrant Calgary we’re all proud to call home,” says Eric Axford, Suncor Energy Foundation Board chair. “We see tremendous value in supporting the Calgary Public Library Indigenous programing and are hopeful this space will be a special place to connect.”
These resources, spaces and events provide an open and safe place for Indigenous Peoples to learn, share, and create; and for non-Indigenous Albertans to learn the diverse history and cultures of Treaty 7 Nations and Métis Nation Region 3.