DDSB reinstates “The Great Bear” to bookshelves after controversial decision to pull it

The Durham District School Board has quickly backpedalled on its decision to pull a book by Cree writer David A Robertson from its shelves. The school board removed “The Great Bear” after allegedly receiving complaints about the book and sent a notice to school principals indicate that the books “do not align” with DDSB’s Indigenous Education policies. The decision and lack of clarity around the reason behind the book’s removal generated outrage from some members of the community, including Robertson, professors of children’s literature, and librarians. The school board trustees approved a motion for an in-depth report outlining the board’s policy on the removal of books, criteria for removing books, and information regarding the complaints. The Globe and Mail reported that DDSB returned “The Great Bear” and two other books to circulation in its libraries, and revealed that the concerns about the books were related to Indigenous stereotypes and discriminatory terminology. Robertson stated that he did not wish to discount any of the complaints, but that complaints should not have led to the book’s widespread removal. “There were better ways to do it,” said Robertson.

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