Reading to Decolonize

Reading to Decolonize: Conflict in Wet’suwet’en Territory – Spring 2019

Please click here for details of a reading series Richard Cassidy and Kay Rollans are co-facilitating in the Library’s main-floor reading room from April 11 to May 16 — five Thursday evenings from 6:30 to 8:00. To sign up or get information, please email:

This is the fourth session of a public education project on decolonization and Indigenous-settler relations on this land. This series focuses on the conflict in Wet’suwet’en territory which captured national attention late in 2018 and into early 2019. The fault lines erupted between hereditary leaders of the territory and band councils throughout it, with the former against the construction of TransCanada’s Coastal GasLink natural gas pipeline, and the latter in favour of it. The conflict went beyond this, of course, with the RCMP raiding a Unist’ot’en camp in a widely-recognized inappropriate use of force. In order to understand the broader context of this debate, this session will explore the landmark Delgamuukw case (1997) and its implications for land rights in Wet’suwet’en territory and Gitxsan territory.

Friday, May 24 from 7:00 to 9:00 pm, the series concludes with a public lecture by Dr. Karen Drake on “The Rights of Indigenous Peoples in the Context of Asserted Crown Sovereignty.” Karen Drake is Associate Professor & Director, Indigenous Outreach, Osgoode Hall Law School at York University. Facebook event. For more information, write Richard and Kay at

The Cole Foundation is generously providing funding.

Readings for Treaty People: Indian Act – Fall 2018

Please click here for details of a reading series Jocelyn Parr and Richard Cassidy are co-facilitated in the Library’s main-floor reading room from October 18 through November 22, 2018 —  five Thursday evenings from 6:30 to 8:00.

This was the second session of “Readings for Treaty People,” a public education project designed for settlers but open always to anyone. This session focused on the several iterations of the Indian Act. First legislated in 1876, its many amendments have governed the lives of First Nations people across Canada in a myriad of ways, replacing traditional forms of indigenous leadership with band council and Indian Status systems, banning traditional indigenous practices, and imposing such forms of control upon Indigenous peoples as the residential school and pass systems.

Registration was capped at 25 participants.

Treaty Reading Group – Spring 2018

Jocelyn Parr and Richard Cassidy co-facilitated a Thursday evening treaty reading series in the Library’s main-floor reading room from April 5 through May 10, 2018 —  six consecutive Thursday evenings.

There was introductory reading and discussion of five treaties, each of which captures an era in treaty-making, from the earliest treaties prior to contact to those negotiated at the end of the 20th century. Each meeting will be devoted to reading one treaty (some are very short) alongside contextualizing materials by contemporary Indigenous scholars. Experts occasionally spoke to the group about the wider context of these documents and histories.

Facebook page. For more information, please email