Indigenous Resources

The Okanagan Regional Library has gathered these resources to help our communities learn about the Indigenous Lands and Nations in their area.  Please use these resources to start your journey on learning about the rich history and current issues in our Indigenous, Metis, and Inuit cultures.

While we’ve done our best to include a good selection of resources, if you have a resource that you feel should be included, please bring it to our attention and send an email to

Jump to: National Day for Truth and Reconciliation | Local Nations | Resources to Learn More | Language and Culture | Videos | Books

Some sources of support that are available for anyone affected by the reports or the lingering effects of residential schools include:

  • The Indian Residential School Survivors Society (IRSSS) can be contacted toll-free at 1-800-721-0066
  • Within BC, the KUU-US Crisis Line Society provides a First Nations and Indigenous-specific toll free line 24/7 at 1-800-588-8717 or online at
  • Nationally, the Indian Residential School Crisis Line supports former students and those affected 24/7 at 1-866-925-4419 to access emotional and crisis referral services.


National Day for Truth and Reconciliation

National Day for Truth and Reconciliation is on September 30. This day comes from Orange Shirt Day, which has been commemorated across Canada since 2013 in honour of Survivors of Indian Residential Schools. National Day for Truth and Reconciliation is in response to one of the 94 Calls to Action of Canada’s Truth and Reconciliation Commission [PDF]. 

This is a day to recognize and commemorate the tragic history and ongoing legacy of residential schools, and honour their survivors, their families, and communities.

The Government of Canada's self reporting on their progress of meeting the 94 Calls to action is found on their Delivering on Truth and Reconciliation Commission Calls to Action page.

Library Reading Lists


Online Resources from the Library


From Kanopy Streaming Films

Beyond the Shadows - A documentary about the far-reaching and emotionally devasting effects of residential/boarding schools on the Native population in Canada. This film relates the historical background of these government mandated schools while also depicting painful personal experiences. The Program raises many significant issues for the Native people and provides tools for dealing with the trauma of residential schools within their communities or organizations. 

Thick Dark Fog - Walter Littlemoon is a 69-year-old Lakota man born and raised in Wounded Knee, South Dakota. At the age of five, he was removed from his family to attend a Federal government boarding school where his culture, language and spirituality were suppressed. THE THICK DARK FOG profiles Walter's journey to heal himself and his community while reclaiming his heritage.  

Our Spirits Don’t Speak English – This documentary provides a candid look at the Indian Boarding School system starting in 1879 through the 1960s combining personal interviews with historical background.  

Smoke from His Fire - A bittersweet story of how a people survived. Seventy-five years ago the nobility of the Kwakwaka’wakw of the Pacific Northwest Coast, chose a young man, secluded him from the authorities when his peers were sent to Residential School. The elders trained him in every aspect of the culture and traditions of his people. Today, caught between two worlds, he is needed more than ever by his people to reclaim their teachings. Few people survived who speak the language he was trained in to transmit his culture. Adam Dick or Kwaxsistala is the Clan Chief of the origin story of his nation and the last orally trained Potlatch Speaker. This is a story of hope, courage and endurance. 

In the News 

Read about Reconciliation in local and national newspapers (from Canadian Newsstream). The collection provides full-text articles that go back for several years up until today.

View the special edition of Canadian Geographic magazine – Indigenous Voices: A collection of stories from individuals and communities about working to preserve and reclaim their past and creating new visions and possibilities for the future. From PressReader 

Talking with Kids 

Stories can make it possible to talk about difficult things. Christy Jordan-Fenton and Margaret Pokiak-Fenton write about Margaret’s experiences in residential school and her return home to her family and community. There are story versions written for younger kids and for older ones.  

These books can be borrowed either eBook or eAudiobook format from the ORL’s OverDrive collection

For Younger Readers in grades K to 3 

When I was Eight: eBook or eAudiobook  

Not My Girl (sequel): eBook or eAudiobook 

For Older Readers in middle grades 

Fatty Legs:eBook or eAudiobook

A Stranger at Home (sequel): eBook or eAudiobook 

All four of these books are also always available (without a waitlist) in our TumbleBooks Library for Kids collection. The stories can be played or read in your web browser. 

Additional Resources 

The Reconciliation: A Starting Point
A mobile app for learning about First Nations, Inuit and Métis Peoples, including key historical events and examples of reconciliation initiatives. Users will learn why reconciliation matters and what public servants need to know and do to advance reconciliation with Indigenous Peoples in Canada. 

Residential Schools
A three-part podcast series created by Historica Canada and hosted by Shaneen Robinson-Desjarlais. It aims to commemorate the history and legacy of residential schools, and honour the stories of First Nations, Métis, and Inuit Survivors, their families, and communities. 

Legacy of Hope Foundation
The Legacy of Hope Foundation is a national, Indigenous-led, charitable organization that has been working to promote healing and Reconciliation in Canada for more than 19 years.

The National Centre for Truth and Reconciliation: Reports:
The National Centre for Truth and Reconciliation (NCTR) makes available digital copies of important and relevant reports for Survivors and their families, researchers, media and the public.  Included is the report, “Where are the Children buried?” [PDF].


Local Nations

Westbank First Nation: Culture & Language

Located in south central British Columbia, Canada, the Okanagan Valley is home to Westbank First Nation, one of eight First Nation communities that comprise the Okanagan Nation.

The syilx traditional territories extend from the south-central interior of British Columbia to north central Washington State. The syilx are a division of the Interior Salish and speak the nsyilxcen language. They have inhabited the valley for thousands of years.


Ki-Low-Na Friendship Centre

The Ki-Low-Na Friendship Society was founded in 1974. The Friendship Centre Movement includes the National Association of Friendship Centres, provincial associations, and Friendship Centres throughout Canada.  We provide programs and services to all peoples in all four stages of life: infants/children, youth, adults, and Elders.


Okanagan Nation Alliance

The Okanagan Nation Alliance (ONA) was formed in 1981 as the inaugural First Nations government in the Okanagan which represents the 8 member communities including; Okanagan Indian Band, Upper Nicola Band, Westbank First Nation, Penticton Indian Band, Osoyoos Indian Band and Lower and Upper Similkameen Indian Bands and the Colville Confederated Tribes on areas of common concern.  Each community is represented through the Chiefs Executive Council (CEC) by their Chief or Chairman.



The Splatsin (pronounced spla-jeen) people reside on Indian reserve lands adjacent to the City of Enderby to the south and across the Shuswap River to the east. The Splatsin are the southernmost tribe of the Secwépemc Nation, the largest Interior Salish speaking First Nation in Canada.



Sinixt Nation is the collective group of indigenous human-beings who are the sovereign indigenous caretakers of Sinixt tum-ula7xw (mother-earth), located in the area now known as "the interior plateau of BC, Canada". Sinixt territory extends North of "Revelstoke, BC", crosses an international boundaries to "Kettle Falls, Washington" in the south, to the Monashee Ridge in the West, and  in the east and is traditionally all the way from the Rocky Mountain Ridge encompassing the entirety of the headwaters of the "shwan-etk-qwa" (Columbia River) . Sinixt Nation are the traditional gatekeepers to the lands which lead to the grease trails to Blackfoot territory to the east. Sinixt Nation puts our land, our water, our ancestors and our ways before economics.



Ktunaxa (pronounced ‘k-too-nah-ha’) people have occupied the lands adjacent to the Kootenay and Columbia Rivers and the Arrow Lakes of British Columbia, Canada for more than 10,000 years.

The Traditional Territory of the Ktunaxa Nation covers approximately 70,000 square kilometres (27,000 square miles) within the Kootenay region of south-eastern British Columbia and historically included parts of Alberta, Montana, Washington, and Idaho.

Ktunaxa citizenship is comprised of Nation members from six Bands located throughout historic traditional Ktunaxa territory.  Five Bands are in British Columbia, Canada and two are in the United States.  Many Ktunaxa citizens also live in urban and rural areas “off reserve”.


Tk’emlúps te Secwépemc

The Tk‘emlúpsemc, ‘the people of the confluence’, now known as the Tk’emlúps te Secwe̓pemc are members of the Interior-Salish Secwepemc (Shuswap) speaking peoples of British Columbia.


Resources to Learn More

On Canada Project: Settlers Take Action

The On Canada Project provides a platform for passionate young Canadians to take ownership of issues impacting themselves and the communities that they care about.  Non-Indigenous folk who live in Canada benefit from the colonialism that happened here. That means we are all responsible for our personal role in reconciliation:

Step 1: Find out whose traditional territory you live on. Visit

Step 2: Click on the links of the territories from and learn more about the original caretakers of the land you now inhabit, their history and the current issues that affect their communities.

Step 3: Read about the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada and its 94 Calls to Action. Find a summary version of the report via the CBC.

Step 4: Email your MP. Tell them you care about the Indigenous people of Canada and want to see action taken to reconcile with them, as described in the Truth and Reconciliation Report. Ask for an update on what they are personally doing to take action. Hold them accountable.


Indigenous Canada

Indigenous Canada is a 12-lesson Massive Open Online Course (MOOC) from the Faculty of Native Studies that explores Indigenous histories and contemporary issues in Canada. From an Indigenous perspective, this course explores key issues facing Indigenous peoples today from a historical and critical perspective highlighting national and local Indigenous-settler relations. Topics for the 12 lessons include the fur trade and other exchange relationships, land claims and environmental impacts, legal systems and rights, political conflicts and alliances, Indigenous political activism, and contemporary Indigenous life, art and its expressions.  (Free; approx. 21 hours to complete; English)


Challenging Racist "British Columbia": 150 Years and Counting

(co-published by Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives)  

A downloadable booklet [PDF] that dives into the long history of racist policies that have impacted Indigenous, Black, Asian and racialized communities in the province over the last 150 years since BC joined Canada. The illustrated booklet ties the histories of racism and resistance to present day anti-racist movements.

Additional PDF options for downloading the booklet, and further information about the project and its authors, are available at the following link:



Stay informed with current Indigenous issues, including policing, 2SLGBTQ, the environment, and reconciliation.  You’ll also find links to podcasts and streaming APTN programs.



Covering Indigenous communities in the Okanagan and on Vancouver Island and working towards more equitable media. 


Canadian Race Relations Foundation

This organization offers several free online courses, including Indigenous treaties, systemic racism in Canada, understanding how the brain develops bias, and interfaith learning.  There are also webinars on building inclusive organizations, online hate and radicalization, implementing reconciliation, and anti-black racism in schools.


National Indigenous Peoples Day

On June 21, Canada celebrates the heritage, diverse cultures and outstanding achievements of First Nations, Inuit and Métis peoples.  Be sure to check out National Indigenous Peoples Day virtual activities happening in your region through Celebrate Canada!

For more information on First Nations, Inuit and Métis-led virtual activities, please visit:


Learn More About National Indigenous History Month

This year, National Indigenous History Month is dedicated to the missing children, the families left behind and the survivors of residential schools.

Start your learning journey here to help you mark this important month and National Indigenous Peoples Day by exploring more about the rich and diverse cultures, voices, experiences and histories of First Nations, Inuit and Métis peoples.


Language & Culture

First Peoples’ Map of BC

This interactive map by the First Peoples Cultural Council details over 360 individual Indigenous artists and cultural groups, and 34 Indigenous languages across British Columbia.  You can find local Indigenous artists and public art, important landmarks and cultural centres, and explore cultural information, videos, images, and pronunciations.  The is created and contributed entirely by First Nations community members.


Sncewips Heritage Museum

The Sncewips Heritage Museum began as a repository after Westbank First Nation achieved self-government in 2005. As our collection grew, we transitioned to the public sphere by opening our doors as a museum on June 14th, 2014.  Our museum continues to provide a protected place for sqilxʷ culture and heritage.

Our museum allows the public to experience the collections, histories, and oral stories of the syilx people from a sqilxʷ perspective.


Sncewips Heritage Museum: Language

Nsyilxcən is the language of the syilx nation and interconnected and woven into the syilx nation.  The Sncewips Heritage Museum is devoted to ensuring our Language and Culture continues to prosper for many more generations.  Use this link to find a language request form and links to resources to use to learn nsyilxcən.


Syilx Language House

As Syilx people, located within the Syilx Nation, learning N̓syilxčn̓ is our act of reconciliation and resistance. Our mission is to create new fluent N̓syilxčn̓ (Syilx, Salish, Okanagan, N̓səl̓xčin̓) speakers in the Syilx Nation, provide a safe learning environment, act with professionalism, lateral kindness, and reflect our deep sqilxʷ teachings. We provide 1,600 hours of sequenced immersion with trained teachers, world-class curriculum, and a community learning environment. We record our precious fluent Elders and publish the recordings each year, shared on this website. Our empowered speaking community partners with Salish School of Spokane, the OIB Language House, local schools, an immersion nest for toddlers & children Ti Kʷu Ti X̌ilx Association. Syilx Language House is a grassroots non-profit charitable society, supported by local Syilx bands to carry on the work of language revitalization. 



FirstVoices is a suite of web-based tools and services designed to support Indigenous people engaged in language archiving, language teaching and culture revitalization


Canadian Language Museum: Indigenous Language Apps & Websites

Established in 2011, the Canadian Language Museum promotes an appreciation of all of the languages used in Canada and of their role in the development of this nation. This page is a resource list for the Indigenous Language in Canada.


Other Indigenous Languages:



A list of  DVDs you can borrow from the library

Indigenous Films

National Film Board

Discover the NFB’s rich online collection of Indigenous-made films.

View all: Indigenous Cinema

View by Subject: 


Books Lists

Indigenous History Month

Indigenous History Month for Children

National Indigenous Peoples Day

Using the library