Lead photographer, TCL team
Being a part of The Canadian Library has truly meant the world to me. It has been a space where we can come together to smile, to shed tears and to share important stories of our collective experiences both from the past, and present.
I think that we have just scratched the surface on what Canadians even know about how Indigenous people were and are treated. Through our work and with many, many hands, we hope that by sharing a tiny glimpse of these beautiful lives lost, they will not be forgotten.
Through my lens:
I have had the incredible honour of being invited into this amazing circle of humans, to form The Canadian Library. Each of us comes together collectively to share their own unique gift and expertise. Together, we work as a well-oiled machine, trudging ahead to carve out a tiny space in the lives of Canadians everywhere.
As the lead photographer, I have had the privilege to meet and capture some incredible indigenous fabrics, people and even visit some amazing spaces.
Through my lens I get to feel and witness all of the love, sadness and hope we have for our beautiful Indigenous friends and family. We want you to look at these images and art installations and FEEL the importance of our mission. By starting conversations about these beautiful lives lost, our Indigenous friends will not be forgotten.
Thank you for your support.
The Canadian Library allows those of us who might otherwise feel distant to the issues of missing Indigenous women and girls, a highly visual way to reflect and contribute. Ironing book covers can be completely individually or as part of group activity with emotions and stories being shared.
Member, TCL team
When first approached, with the idea of honouring murdered and missing Indigenous women and children, by putting together an art installation of fabric covered books, I did not think this would have any impact in creating awareness. However, during brainstorming sessions on how the idea would become a reality, I became aware, I was learning, acknowledging, and taking responsibility for the actions of the colonizers’ impact on the lives of Indigenous Peoples in Canada. The Canadian Library is bringing together like minded people who, with humility, are having conversations about the true history of Canada, the impact of residential schools, the lives of what Indigenous women and girls faced and continue to face today. Whether covering books, making scrunchies, reading the stories about the women and children, participating in The Canadian Library art installation project is something I will never forget.
Member, TCL team
As a Canadian, as a parent, and frankly as a human being, I was absolutely mortified by the discovery of the mass unmarked graves of Indigenous children. As more sites were discovered, the more devastated and disgusted I became. How was this allowed to happen? How did I not know my own country's history?! When I learned about The Canadian Library project, I reached out to help anyway I could. I wanted to help because it is crucial that we face our past and honour the missing and murdered Indigenous Women and Children. Not knowing isn't an option anymore. My hope is that this Art Installation will be a step forward towards increased awareness and healing.
Team Lead, TCL team
Being the founding member of The Canadian Library is still very surreal.
I have been a huge advocate and fighter for justice for all First Nations, Metis and Inuit Peoples since I learnt about the true history of Canada only a decade ago.
I have no words to express the pain and anger at learning that there are Canadians - still to this very day - that do not have clean drinking water.
To learn that children were brainwashed and abused in schools run by Christians, the very religion that I was brought up with, has been painful.
To learn that missing and murdered Indigenous women were and still are treated with complete disregard disgusts me.
It has been a struggle for me to come to terms with the injustices and inequality that exists here in Canada, but I am determined to do my part, to use my voice and my strengths to help make a positive difference in any way I can.
I strongly believe that conversations and education is the primary solution to bringing about true reconciliation and hence my journey with the Canadian Library.
I cannot be prouder of what we have achieved to date as a family of settlers and Indigenous Peoples, coming together to share and educate.
We strive to learn, to understand, to demand justice and equality and to bring about true, honest, reconciliation.
Member, TCL team
I am honoured to be a part this incredible initiative, The Canadian Library. It's a huge privilege to be working alongside some of the most caring and dedicated human beings who are always willing and ready to step up to the plate no matter the task. It's a beautiful initiative by which we want to Honour, Respect and Remember the many indigenous lives lost senselessly. Being part of TLC, weather covering books, sewing the quilt, gathering information for the project has opened my eyes and heart to the injustice endured by the Indigenous peoples then and now. My greatest hope is that with this initiative we are able to educate our future generations to treat and respect all human beings, be it indigenous or otherwise, equally.
"I alone cannot change the World, but I can cast a stone across the waters to create many ripples." - Mother Teresa
Li & Co
Looking at the colours and patterns of fabrics, you can feel the richness of lifetimes of stories and histories.
While assisting the TCL team in their online PR project and the development of this website, my team and I read through every document and every story related to MMIW & Children that TCL has. We were so depressed and angry about what had happened to the Indigenous Peoples, at the same time were so touched with tears on how the TCL team build up the awareness and start this project of reconciliation.
"A life without love is like a tree without fruit." - Stephen King
I could not understand, how much love do you need to run a project like this. Until I met Shanta and everyone in the team, I started to realize. The 5 key ladies of TCL, all of them have a big heart, their loving character is like, every step they walked, their footprint can grow flowers.
The LRDG team and I truly wish TCL can touch every Canadians' heart. Let's spread the love, and let the flower and fruit blossom.
As someone who has come to understand the impact of how our Indigenous communities have been treated I feel the learning opportunities presented by the Canadian Library has allowed me to research other aspects of Indigenous teachings.
Specifically related to climate change and how if we only followed their traditional teachings we could have avoided the damage we are inflicting on our environment. A book that has helped in this understanding is Braiding Sweet grass by Robin Wall Kimmerer who shows how plants and animals are our oldest teachers.
St. Augustine CHS
The Canadian Library has allowed my students to participate in an inclusive activity which supports their learning and pre vocational needs. Working with students with learning exceptionalities presents different needs than those of a traditional classroom. Being able to participate in a program that allows them to have success with a task and hold a tangible product of their work has been an inspirational experience for them. They can see the results of their work and as a teacher I can see the pride in which they take in contributing to this project.
The Canadian Library project, initiated by Shanta Sundarason and her volunteer team, has been a wonderful way to raise awareness about the plight of the Indigenous people, in particular the missing and murdered women and children.
All Canadians should be made aware of the suffering endured by these people, both in the past and even in the present. This amazing project brings an awareness that is visual and very emotional.
We must come together and do whatever we can to be a positive influence for change in the Indigenous communities and for all mankind. We need to understand other cultures and take pride in our differences. We need to instill in the hearts of all, especially in young people, the need to care for, support and to spread love to all. It is the road to peace, joy and harmony. This project is a great start in that direction. Thank you, Shanta and thanks also to all your volunteers.
Love participating in this great project! Thank you :)
I have just seen the bookcase on display at the IKEA store in Vaughan. At first I didn't realize that it was something special but then I took a second look and was amazed that there was such a beautiful display of books that is sharing some powerful and important issues and stories. I have also ordered some scrunchies and bookmarks that arrived today and I wanted to let you know how beautiful they are. I would like to learn more about this project and will reach out to you in the New Year. Congratulations on creating such a meaningful project and congratulations to IKEA for also helping to share this with the public.
I have just seen The Canadian Library installation at IKEA here in Quebec City. It is so beautiful and such a moving tribute to those lost lives. Thank you for creating such an emotional memorial. Thank you IKEA for sharing this with Quebec City. Marie
Heart wrenching yet stunning.
What a beautiful memorial to Canada's MMIWG&children.
Thank you IKEA! Thank you The Canadian Library.
I will purchase some bookmarks from you.
Bless you all, Steph
We were at IKEA Winnipeg today as a family and were blown away by the beautifully filled bookcase covered in glorious Indigenous fabric. We sat on the bench and together looked up the website and shared some of the sad stories as a family. Thank you for helping to create this awareness in such a beautiful way. We came home having been moved and our children will take what they have seen and learnt to school with them.
The Low Family, Winnipeg.
Remarkable. Stunning. Thought provoking. Educational. Emotional. Beautiful. Eye catching. Heartbreaking.
I am sitting in Honeymoon desert cafe next to your bookcase and I just wanted to let you know that I think it is one of the best messages and tools I have ever come across that shares the plight of the Indigenous families.
Thank you for sharing the stories of these beautiful sisters and children. Their memories will live on forever.
The art installation evokes so many emotions.
Thank you for sharing this.
The art installation touches our souls. It communicates and reaches out from the shelves and passes through our eyes right into our heart where it leaves an imprint of beauty.