In 2015, the Aboriginal Book Bundles began as an idea brought forward by Trudy Antone, a community member looking to make a difference to children in Oneida Nation of the Thames in order to develop their readiness for school.
Conversations were had around the fact that those in the Oneida community do not have access to the London and Middlesex County Baby’s Book Bag programs, and that there is a lack of libraries and resources. With help from the Best Start funding provided by the Province through the Child and Youth Network, there was endorsement to purchase books and bags for three Indigenous Communities.
Community members which consisted originally of staff from Oneida Health Department, Oneida Daycare, Chippewa Health Department, Enji-Maajtaawaad Early Years Program, Ontario Early Years Centre, and Middlesex-London Health Unit met to discuss what the book bag would look like and quickly realized that the mainstream bag would not meet the needs for this population. Subsequently a new bag was designed to provide culturally rich books for 3 stages of a child’s development: infant books and beautifully designed canvas tote would be given prenatally or after birth, with toddler and pre-school packages to follow.
Indigenous people have a rich culture.
Over the years we have grown as a Coalition, but the purpose as remained the same. to empower communities by supporting, strengthening and educating families through culturally enriched resources.
Our funding was cut short in 2017. We put together a proposal and lucky enough to receive money from the Ontario Arts Council for 2018-2020.
After 2020, the Child and Youth Network has helped support Aboriginal Babies and Beyond Coalition as many initiatives alined with them. We are beyond grateful for their ongoing support and partnership.