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. Sadly, some traditions have been lost over the years and many Indigenous people struggle with this on a daily basis. We know that educating people about their culture and traditions is important to self-identification. It brings people together and provides healing to the whole person and ultimately to a population. It was important to our Coalition to start these learnings in the early years and what better way to do it than through books!
Over the years we have grown as a Coalition and so has the Aboriginal Book Bundles over the years, but the purpose as remained the same. Our funding was cut short in 2017. We had only enough to create one emerging book bundle for all ages. This year we were able to put in a proposal and lucky enough to receive money from the Ontario Arts Council for 2018-2020. We have decided to re-evaluate the books and resources that was put in to our book bundles this year we are teaming up with the London Public Library to help us with the purchasing of new Indigenous children’s books for book bundles. This year we will have Booked Bundles for Infant, Toddler, and Preschool ages for more information on how to receive your own Book Bundle please contact us.
In 2019, we are looking forward in partnering with Strive to provide Culturally Enriched Professional Development to Early Childhood Educators.
Providing Culturally Based Indigenous Child and Family Services and resources through our community partners.
- Merrymount/All Kids Belong
- SHOAHAC - Chippewa Site
- City of London
- Middlesex-London Health Unit
- Chippewa of the Thames First Nation Health Department
- Enji-Maajtaawaad Early Years Program
- Munsee-Delaware Nation Health Department
- Munsee-Delaware Nation Childcare Centre
- Oneida Nation of the Thames Health Department
- Oneida Nation of the Thames Childcare Centre
- Oneida Nation of the Thames Headstart Program
- Indigenous Centre of Excellence for Early Years and Child Care
A special thank you goes out to the London Public Library who helped us purchase books this year, for our Aboriginal Book Bundles.
In November, 2019 are looking forward to partnering with Strive to provide culturally enriched Professional Development for Early Childhood Educators and our Families.