Oskâpêwis Mentorship Group

The Oskâpêwis Mentorship program also provides an opportunity for Indigenous library, archive, and other information-related employees and students to form a strong mentoring community. 

The Oskâpêwis Mentorship program was created to support Indigenous employees and students of libraries, archives, and other information-related fields. While COPPUL is a consortium focused on Western Canadian academic libraries and provides administrative support in this capacity, Oskâpêwis is open to Indigenous people working in all library types (public, academic, school, special) across the nation known as Canada. Students in Library Technician, MLIS, and MAS programs are welcome, as are people at all stages of their career (early, mid, late). 

Libraries and educational institutions are inherently colonial institutions, and in Canada there is a history and current practice of assimilation tactics and abuse within these systems which have intergenerational impacts. Oskâpêwis organizers aim to develop a safe space to help resolve these challenges. We recognize the desire of non-Indigenous information students and practitioners to support Indigenous colleagues, patrons, and initiatives. However, Oskâpêwis Mentorship is only open to Indigenous information students and practitioners.

We welcome new members on an ongoing basis. If you are an Indigenous information student or practitioner who would like to join, please contact COPPUL’s Executive Director at execdir@coppul.ca.

"Unity" by Jillian Metchooyeah (Dene)

Artist’s Statement:

The circle shape is significant for many Indigenous peoples. It can represent cycles in nature, cycles in life; there are sacred circles, healing circles, talking circles, and more. They can represent interconnectivity with each other, with the self, or with the world. I wanted there to be circle symbolism in the piece and I chose to represent that with a sweetgrass braid. Stronger when braided together, braided sweetgrass represents the strength of community; it also represents healing. 

Since libraries and other educational institutions are inherently colonial institutions, I wanted to include a symbolic reference to the Treaty promises, which were made to last as long as “the sun shines, the grass grows, and rivers flow.” 

I used a mountain shape to symbolize permanence, because all of us Indigenous people are still here, and here we will remain. Teepees have an importance to many Indigenous groups, and can be a symbol of community. So, I made the mountain in a shape that could also be seen as a teepee. 

Fires can be seen as a way to bond together, heal, and are present at ceremonies and events. It could also represent new life. The lines that come off either side of the mountain could be smoke, or could be a river. Either way, smoke or river, it can represent healing.

I tried to incorporate things that represent community, healing, hope, and unity while also including representations of the Treaty promises.