Like many municipalities across Canada, the City of Vancouver has been engaged in the work of reconciliation for several years now. Given the complex, multifaceted, and contested nature of reconciliation, it is important to critically examine how institutions are enacting their commitments to reconciliation. My study looks at the work of the Vancouver Public Library to explore how internal factors impact the civic institution's ability to address reconciliation. This case study provides insights that can inform reconciliation work within municipal departments as well as other urban public libraries. My study uses key informant interviews and document analysis to uncover organizational structures and practices that support or hinder reconciliation work. My findings suggest that to make meaningful progress on reconciliation, municipal institutions must focus on the difficult work of disrupting internal colonial bureaucratic structures that uphold settler colonial power differentials – unsettling the enduring colonial roots of municipal institutions and the damaging settler colonial ideologies and cultures that continue to play out through bureaucratic structures.
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Thesis advisor: Ferguson, Karen
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