Durham school board to return Indigenous author’s book to library shelves

"The Great Bear," written by an award winning Indigenous author David A. Robertson. Morganne Campbell/Global News

The Durham District School Board has decided it will put books by Indigenous authors back on its libraries’ shelves after previously choosing to remove them.

The DDSB removed The Great Bear, and two other Forest of Reading books earlier this month.

The school board previously said The Great Bear had been pulled from shelves because it includes content that could be harmful to Indigenous students and families.

In a previous post on the board’s website, the DDSB suggested the book had been flagged by “local Indigenous community members.”

Read more: Indigenous author’s book pulled from Durham school board library shelves without explanation

Read next: U.S. shoots down suspected Chinese spy balloon over Atlantic ocean

In the statement posted online on Wednesday, the DDSB said the books were temporarily removed following concerns from Indigenous families, related to Indigenous stereotypes and terminology that could perpetuate discrimination.

Story continues below advertisement

However, the DDSB said an “accelerated review process” allowed the board 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,” the statement reads. “In response to this feedback, we will be returning the books to library circulation.”

The DDSB said “in the coming weeks” it 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.”

The DDSB said it values Indigenous literature and noted that it has introduced a compulsory Indigenous course “so that all graduates of the DDSB leave with a better understanding of Indigenous lives and experiences.”

Click to play video: 'Manitoba Indigenous author has book pulled from some Ontario school libraries'
Manitoba Indigenous author has book pulled from some Ontario school libraries

“We deeply respect the work of David A. Robertson, along with those who decide to become authors to inspire children and youth,” the statement reads. “We have offered to meet with the authors to engage in further discussion.”

Story continues below advertisement

In a tweet, Robertson thanked the DDSB, saying the board made the “right decision.”

“I want to thank, as well, everybody who stood with me: libraries, educators, authors, parents, and so many more,” he wrote. “There’s more work to be done, and I’m committed to working together in a good way.”

Story continues below advertisement

– with files from Global News’ Morganne Campbell

Sponsored content