Statement on the Return of Books to Library Circulation

Posted On Wednesday April 27, 2022

The DDSB recognizes that there has been a request for more information concerning the review and temporary removal of The Great Bear and two other Forest of Reading books from our library collection, following concerns from Indigenous families that were brought forward related to Indigenous stereotypes and terminology that could perpetuate discrimination.  

An accelerated review process allowed us to engage in conversations with some members of the local Indigenous community. Those discussions have placed the focus on the importance of making books by Indigenous authors available to students, particularly Indigenous students based on providing choice. In response to this feedback, we will be returning the books to library circulation.

We recognize that the Indigenous families who came forward did so with the intent to ensure we meet their children’s needs. We also understand that for many families, the importance of accessing books that reflect Indigenous lived realities is critically important. In the coming weeks, we will engage in a more fulsome consultation with treaty partners, the DDSB Indigenous Advisory Circle, Indigenous staff and Indigenous families on how to best manage different responses to literature and ensure that we serve the needs of Indigenous families.

We value Indigenous literature and have introduced a compulsory Indigenous course so that all graduates of the DDSB leave with a better understanding of Indigenous lives and experiences. We deeply respect the work of David A. Robertson, along with those who decide to become authors to inspire children and youth. We have offered to meet with the authors to engage in further discussion.

 As we move forward, we are committed to engaging the plurality of Indigenous voices within the district.