Library:Xwi7xwa About

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At a Glance

X̱wi7x̱wa (pronounced whei-wha) is part of the continuing development of First Nations/Indigenous education at the University of British Columbia. In recognition of the generosity of William and June Bellman to the First Nations Longhouse, X̱wi7x̱wa, the Squamish Nation name “Echo”, was presented to Mr. William Bellman at the First Nations Longhouse opening ceremonies by the late Chief Simon Baker, Squamish Nation (May 25, 1993). The new Library also carries this name. The library’s history began in the early 1970′s with the founding of the Indian Education Resource Centre. The collection later became the Native Indian Teacher Education Program (NITEP) collection. A Stauffer Foundation grant (1984) enabled the provision of some NITEP library services and the upgrading of the collection. When the First Nations House of Learning opened the new Longhouse and Library in May 1993, NITEP transferred the collection to X̱wi7x̱wa.

In 2005, an Agreement between the First Nations House of Learning and the UBC Library created the X̱wi7x̱wa Library as a branch of the UBC Library. At the time and continuing to the present (2013) Xwi7xwa is the only Aboriginal branch of university library system in the country. Core funding was allocated for collections and new staff positions including a reference librarian and a cataloguing assistant. The X̱wi7x̱wa Library continues the ongoing development and maintenance of its unique Aboriginal classification system (originally based on the Brian Deer (Union of BC Indian Chiefs) and associated Aboriginal subject headings established by Gene Joseph. In 2005, the Library of Congress authorized a joint application from the UBC Library Cataloguing Division and the X̱wi7x̱wa Library to develop the First Nations House of Learning Indigenous Thesaurus and give international recognition to the First Nations House of Learning Subject Headings.

For more information please see:

TheAbout Xwi7xwa Library bibliography of the publications by or about the Xwi7xwa library, its librarians, staff, and friends.

Collections & Services

The collections currently comprise approximately 12,000 items including about 6,000 books, 450 videos, 5,000 vertical file materials, curriculum resources, journals and newspapers, maps, posters, theses and dissertations, the G.A. (Bud) Mintz special collection, and some archival materials. The collections focus on First Nations in British Columbia, including contextual materials on Canadian First Nations, and in addition to issues of national and international interest to First Nations and Indigenous peoples. X̱wi7x̱wa collects materials written from First Nations perspectives, such as, materials produced by First Nations, First Nations organizations, tribal councils, schools, publishers, researchers, writers, and scholars.


""2014 January"". Aboriginal Engagement Librarian position created as a permanent position (1/2 time Xwi7xwa Library; 1/2 time Irving K. Barber Learning Centre)

2013 April. Xwi7xwa Library and First Nations House of Learning 20th Anniversary celebration.

2011 September. New Aboriginal Engagement Librarian - one year term position created, and hired.

2008 March. New Technical Services and Cataloguing Assistant position created, and hired.

2007 September. Building renovation completed to create 2, new office spaces.

2006 November. New Reference Librarian position created, and hired.

2005 Xwi7xwa Library becomes a branch of the University of British Columbia Library.

1998 Gene Joseph First Nations Scholarship created at the UBC School of Library, Archival and Information Studies through an endowment established by the British Columbia Library Association - First Nations Interest Group and the UBC First Nations House of Learning.

1995 Head Librarian position created, and approved by University Senate.

      Gene Joseph, founding Head Librarian 1995-1997

1993 May The First Nations House of Learning Longhouse and Library facility opens.

      Chief Simon Baker names the Library, Xwi7xwa, "echo" in the Squamish language.
      William and June Bellman donate $1M to the library.

1984 Verna Kirkness, Director, First Nations House of Learning, wins a Stauffer Foundation Grant for Gene Joseph to build the collections

1974 British Columbia Native Indian Teacher Association (BCNITA) and UBC Faculty of Education create the Native Indian Teacher Education Program (NITEP)

Memory Databank

This section is still under development.

Annual Updates