X̱wi7x̱wa 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) X̱wi7x̱wa 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.
To visit the X̱wi7x̱wa Library’s website, click here.