The COVID era has challenged us all in ways we couldn’t have anticipated 17+ months ago. In addition to physical, mental, and emotional fatigue, many of our classmates and coworkers report feeling isolated and disconnected from community.
Using graphic novels as a touchstone, Indigenous Education & Services (IES) and Langara Library have been hosting semesterly student book clubs to hold (virtual) space for folks to come together.
The book clubs also mark important events throughout the calendar year, including Orange Shirt Day (September 30), the Annual Women’s Memorial March for missing and murdered Indigenous women and girls (February 14), and National Indigenous Peoples Day (June 21).
The organizers select graphic novels that are freely available online through Langara Library to ensure that cost and format do not present barriers to participation. Past reads include:
- Sugar Falls: A residential school story by David Alexander Robertson; illustrations by Scott B. Henderson
- Will i see? by Iskwe and Erin Leslie; script by David Alexander Robertson; illustrations by GMB Chomichuk
- Pemmican Wars by Katherena Vermette; illustrations by Scott B. Henderson; colouring by Donovan Yaciuk
Graphic novels also provide a counterpoint to students’ required course readings, which tend to be text heavy in many disciplines.
The book clubs, which typically take place over 4-5 weekly sessions, are facilitated by Langara’s Elder-In-Residence Nk’xetko using the talking circle model. Langara Counselling staff are present each session to provide participants with support as needed.
The next student book club, which commences in October, will revisit Sugar Falls. Keep an eye on the IES website for more information.