Sunday, 17 April 2011

Sunday April 17th, 2011 Agreeing to Share the Land

Treaty No. 9 by John S. Long is an excellent book for understanding the treaty-making process in general and in what is now called Ontario. It offers insight to our region concerning the myths and realities of Indian treaties, in particular, Nishnawbe-Aski Nation. Long provides evidence that the ceding of land rights through Treaty No.9 was an “illusion.”

The essential question asked is, was the oral agreement made between the people of the north and the Crown the same as what was written down on the “official” documents? Evidence alludes to a negative answer.

In other words, if what the “chiefs and headmen” agreed to orally was not what was written on the parchment, is the treaty that the parchment claims still valid? Think about what has recently gone on in Canadian Politics with Minster Bev Oda’s now infamous insertion of one word, “not,” and it’s easy to understand how people can be hornswoggled by the stroke of a pen.

John S. Long questions the accuracy and stand-alone validity of the written copies of Treaty No.9 because evidence alludes to the absence of mutual understanding and absence of real, meaningful negotiations.

Unfortunately, D.C. Scott and the other commissioners didn’t take better notes at the time of their quest in 1905. If they did we might actually know what they said to the Anishnaabe people and what the people said in response.

The commissioners allude to explaining the treaty, but at the same time they gloss over this information in their writings. To flesh out this curious absence of historic dialogue, Long provides detail by including the commissioners daily journals along with explanations of Ojibway and Cree culture. Gaps in language and the differences between Anishnaabeg land values and Euro-Canadian land values as they would have been that summer become evident.

Long also points out inconsistencies between commissioners’ journals. Things like dates and the reactions of people once the commissioners made their take-it-or-leave-it pronouncement. This book is a must-read if you have questions about treaty history.

Other recommended reads that the Thunder Bay Public Library has in its collection that can add to your knowledge about treaties and Native history are No Place for Fairness by David McNab; The Indian Commissioners: Agents of the State and Indian Policy in Canada’s Prairie West, 1873-1932 by Brian Titley; Irredeemable America edited by Imre Sutton; First Nations? Second Thoughts by Tom Flanagan; and Peace, Power, Righteousness by Taiaiake Alfred.

In No Place for Fairness, McNab details the 160 year long legal battle regarding supposed cessation of land rights known as the Bear Island Case. The Teme-Augama Anishinabe have continually asserted that they did not sign a treaty of surrender. Government parchment states otherwise, but as McNab shows, the parchment is wrong because signatures were forged by a government administrator at that time. On top of that, oral history wasn’t given legal authority until quite recently, so the parchment was considered more valid than what the Teme-Augama Anishinabe were saying for a century-and-a-half.

In The Indian Commissioners, Brian Titley shows that the misguided and sometimes corrupt practices shown in McNab’s and Long’s books was not uncommon. Through biographies of six commissioners of the Prairie West, the reader can learn what power the government held over native people through the rigid enforcement of the Indian Act, treaties and Euro-Christian morality.

Irredeemable America echoes themes mentioned above, but looks at the situation south of the 49th parallel. Interestingly, the treaty situation with the Shoshone people mirrors that of the Anishnaabek.

Indigenous Rights then become something teachers like Taiaiake Alfred are aware of as important to everyone in the global village. Miigwetch niijiwag!

Chris Waite, Public Services Assistant

Sunday, 10 April 2011

Sunday April 10th The Grass is Greener at the Library

Recently I was having a conversation with a six year old about how you can tell that spring has arrived. We came to the conclusion that even though you still have snow in the yard and wear mittens to school, spring is simply whenever it starts to not be winter.

Thunder Bay Public Library has ordered some new books that coincide nicely with the start of spring; puddles, mud, melting snow, and brown grass are turning blissfully into longer days, warmer rays, greening grass and the promising appearance of tiny fresh bulbs and half hidden shrubs and perennials.

CONTINUOUS CONTAINER GARDENS by Sara Begg Townsend and Roanne Robbins offers an innovative system for creating unique containers that change with the seasons. Using a variety of plants they start off with a basic perennial to which they add more plants as the seasons change. The transitions can be seamless in both colour and variety, resulting in uninterrupted gorgeousness.

THE EDIBLE FRONT YARD By Ivette Soler recognizes that each spring there are people who pick up garden tools and seeds maybe for the first time. They carefully plant tomatoes, beans and strawberries in tiny pots and containers in preparation for the growing season. This book shows how easy it can be to create gardens that are both useful and beautiful at the same time. Martha Stewart describes it as a lively new book which offers a huge variety of suggested vegetables, fruits and herbs as beautiful as any colourful rose bush.

PACT, LOW-CARBON GARDENING: 1001 WAYS TO GARDEN SUSTAINABLY by Alice Bowe is a great reference book for making a garden beautiful, colourful and earth friendly all at the same time. The ideas are simple and far-reaching, ranging from composting to water barrels. From eliminating pesticides to choosing plants that flourish with little water, who knew there are literally hundreds of ways to reduce the environmental impact of gardening without giving up any splendour.

50 BEAUTIFUL DEER-RESISTANT PLANTS: THE PRETTIEST ANNUALS, PERENNIALS, BULBS, AND SHRUBS THAT DEER DON’T EAT by Ruth Rogers Clausen addresses one of the biggest challenges facing some gardeners. No it’s not the lack of water or sun, or tiny insects, but deer. Yes those beautiful animals with the sweet Bambi-like faces who love to stop by the garden in early morning or late evening. Keeping them at bay can be as simple as choosing the appropriate plants. In place of fancy barriers, Clausen outlines fifty of the most beautiful but least appetizing annuals, bulbs, ferns, grasses, herbs, perennials, and shrubs. Snow crocuses and the Texas or Purple Sage Bush are a couple of varieties which will look lovely but deer want nothing to do with.

Feel like doing a little armchair gardening? Then the DVD GREEN GARDENING AND LAWN CARE will show you how to take care of your lawn the natural way, using hand picking techniques and no pesticides. Pest control, lawn maintenance, water management, soil requirements, planting and composting are all included.

If you cannot find what you need in the local Library, you can submit a purchase suggestion form on the library website Or you may request books and articles through the Interlibrary Loan Service, and TBPL could borrow it for you from other lending institutions in Canada. You can make this request online, by calling the library or by filling out a form at any library location. All you need is your library card.

So check out any of these new books that your library has to offer and you will discover that the grass is greener at your house.

Caron Naysmith, Library Technician

Sunday, 3 April 2011

Sunday April 3rd, 2011 eBooks Tips and Tricks

The use of eBook readers has shifted from hard core techies to pretty much everyone. Your Library offers “How to Download” classes for both eBooks and eAudiobooks and as a result we have met a wide variety of people who love their eBook readers. The main appeal of eBook readers is convenience. It’s wonderful to be able to carry around what would amount to a stack of paper books in your purse, on a reader that’s much thinner than the average paperback. We have received a lot of questions about eBooks over the past few months. Here are the answers to the most common questions.

Does the Library have eBooks?

Your Library has eBooks and eAudiobooks on two platforms: OverDrive and NetLibrary. OverDrive’s collection is more extensive and includes mainly fiction books. NetLibrary’s collection is mostly non-fiction. Both are searchable using our online catalogue (choose “eBooks” from the drop-down menu under “view entire collection”) and by access through our Web site ( Find “OverDrive” under “Quick Links” on our Web site. To get to NetLibrary from our Web site choose “Research” and then log into My Giant Search. Select “NetLibrary” from the List of Resources.

What’s the difference between eBooks and eAudiobooks?

eBooks are “electronic books” which you can read either on your computer or download to a portable device such as an eBook reader or iPad. There are many eBook readers on the market, including the popular Kobo and Sony ebook readers. OverDrive provides a handy list of compatible eBook readers.

eAudiobooks are “electronic audiobooks” which you can listen to online, or download to a portable device such as an iPod or MP3 player. eAudiobooks come in WMA or MP3 format. OverDrive indicates which formats work on which devices and also provides a list of compatible devices.

How can eBooks and eAudiobooks be “out”?

Like other items you borrow from the Library’s physical collection, eBooks may be borrowed by one person at a time. This is due to the agreements the eBook vendors make with publishers. If there is a big demand for an eBook, we would buy more copies, just as we would with a physical book.

It looks like most of the books in OverDrive are signed out – why?

The majority of eBooks in the OverDrive collection are shared with a group of other libraries in Ontario. However, we have been building a local collection available exclusively to our patrons. In order to access the local collection you must log in to OverDrive . Because OverDrive’s collection is shared, often the titles featured on the main page, or via lists, are signed out. An easy way to find out which books are currently available is to use the “Advanced Search” feature found at the top left corner of the OverDrive interface. One of the parameters you can set in “Advanced Search” is the format you’re looking for, and another is to limit your search to items that are available.

How do I log in to OverDrive and NetLibrary?

To log in to OverDrive your Library card number and PIN are used. To get to NetLibrary you need to go through My Giant Search, using your Library card number and PIN. Once in NetLibrary you can make a unique NetLibrary account, which may be used to sign out eBooks.

How long can I keep eBooks and eAudiobooks?

OverDrive eBooks and eAudiobooks may be signed out for 7 or 14 days. You choose the loan period at the point of checking out the eBook. When the loan period is over the eBooks is automatically returned from your record. eBooks that you have transferred to a portable device will be inaccessible when the loan period is over. There are no renewals in OverDrive. You can put an item on hold if it’s out, and will be notified by email when it’s available. NetLibrary eBooks can be read online, or checked out for a week and downloaded to a portable device.

Do I need any extra software to use eBooks and eAudiobooks?

Both OverDrive and NetLibrary use Adobe Digital Editions, which is free software you can download to your computer. Adobe Digital Editions makes it easy to transfer eBooks to eBook readers. If you have an iPod, iPad, iPhone, or Android smart phone OverDrive has an app you can use. The OverDrive app is available in iTunes and the App Store, and is free. The app takes the place of Adobe Digital Editions, and acts as your mobile interface to OverDrive. If you’re downloading eAudiobooks from OverDrive on to a Windows computer you need to use the “OverDrive Media Console”, which is available from every page in OverDrive.

If you need some help using our eBooks and eAudiobooks, please consider signing up for a class, or contact Joanna Aegard at 684-6819 or

Joanna Aegard, Head of Virtual Services