Education News

Celebrating Indigenous History Month with Indigo

Celebrating Indigenous History Month with Indigo

Originally published July 2024

This June, the Indigo Love of Reading Foundation (ILOR) honoured National Indigenous History Month in a historic way. The foundation donated its largest sum to date to First Nations schools. They impacted 30+ schools by awarding $300,000 of a total $1,000,000 to 11 on-reserve schools. These funds will help dramatically increase library budgets, ensuring new books and resources are available to 10,000 students and creating access to current literature in schools. 

Photo courtesy of the Indigo Love of Reading Foundation

Libraries Are Crucial

The Indigo Love of Reading Foundation has always recognized the disproportionate need in rural and remote communities. But this year, the foundation refined its application process with the goal of increasing inclusivity and making funding more accessible. As a result, this year’s cohort is more diverse and broad-spanning than ever before.

“Libraries play an important role in student engagement,” says Shelby Ch’ng, Education Partnership Liaison of the Matawa First Nations Education Department. “Northern and remote school boards are underfunded and short on space. Principals and school boards often have to make tough decisions between buying light bulbs for their gym or purchasing new books for their schools. School staff do their best, but with grants like the Indigo Love of Reading Grant, it will not only take the decision burden off the staff, but also go quite far with engaging students in a meaningful way.”

Photo courtesy of the Indigo Love of Reading Foundation

Diversity in Books

Indigo works to ensure that Indigenous authors and stories are represented on its bookshelves. Doing so will safeguard support that both teachers and parents need to select diverse books for the young people in their lives. With this year’s grants, the foundation aims to help schools who have limited resources to do the same on their own shelves.

Off-reserve grant recipients are encouraged to use their funds to expand their libraries and include current texts by Indigenous authors that honour their cultures and histories.

Photo courtesy of the Indigo Love of Reading Foundation

“Accessing culturally relevant and diverse texts is top of mind for this year’s educators,” says Rose Lipton, Executive Director of ILOR. “The Indigo Love of Reading Foundation is proud to partner with this incredible group of schools and educational organizations to help them realize their literacy goals and get more kids excited about reading.” 

To date, the Indigo Love of Reading Foundation has reached over one million students, donating over $35 million in funding to schools from coast to coast. It includes those in economically disadvantaged communities with limited library budgets.

A full list of this year’s recipients can be found here.

Madison Downey is Indigo’s Communications Manager and a passionate reader. She also leads communications for Indigo’s Sustainability and Diversity and Inclusion initiatives.