Spring/Summer 2021

Online Materials:

Language revitalization resources: Sharing through libraries

Alison Smedley

Many First Nations, Métis, and Inuit communities are actively growing their language revitalization efforts and collaborating to improve how Indigenous languages are used. The colonial history and genocide in Canada has damaged access to and use of the diversity of languages spoken and written here, and it is our collective responsibility to ensure that there is access to language efforts. With growing urban populations, and lower access to immersion language programs off reserve, this toolkit brings together resources that are available online, suggestions of how library services can support efforts, and highlights language materials held in select libraries. There is a responsibility on the part of libraries to connect with communities for guidance, and to hold and highlight both resources held locally and those that can be accessed digitally. The toolkit will demonstrate how libraries can address calls to action on language access and celebrate the revitalization successes of Indigenous Peoples, thus increasing awareness of the many active and vibrant languages used today.

Indigenous children’s picture books

Alyssa Pappalardo, Cassandra Norris, and Jody Bergerman

Indigenous children have a right to see themselves reflected in the books that they read. The impacts of the residential school system brought intergenerational trauma, assimilation, and loss of Traditional Knowledge as Indigenous children were forced to give up their cultural identity. As a result, the Indigenous Voice was lost. In 2015, the Truth & Reconciliation Commission called for the revitalization and preservation of Indigenous Ways of Knowing and Being, particularly among Indigenous children. Picture books are one way to strengthen and educate Indigenous children whilst reclaiming the Indigenous Voice which was lost during the residential school era. The following are children’s picture books written by Indigenous authors which provide Indigenous children an opportunity to strengthen their cultural identity, and help them create a positive self-image. Moreover, these picture books serve as tools to educate children on the importance of acceptance and relationality with one another despite our differences.

Indigenous video games

Candie Tanaka

Indigenous representation in video games has a history of being problematic because Indigenous People had little control over the narrative. More recently though, Indigenous video games by Indigenous creators have emerged and provided an opportunity for Indigenous Peoples to direct their own narratives using oral storytelling skills. Through comparative examples of Indigenous representation of early video games, to more recent games such as Never Alone, When Rivers Were Trails, and others,they are being used as tools of cultural expression and Indigenous sovereignty.

This website will provide online resources and information for public libraries interested in placing Indigenous video games into their collection as well as educational tools for Indigenous Peoples to get started in the creation of video games by detailing opportunities for education through the development of digital, decision making, coding, and design skills around storytelling.

Libraries and land acknowledgments: Make them personal, with meaningful connections, and follow through

Courtney Bremer

Land Acknowledgements are a beginning step in Reconciliation. However, as they have become more prominent in Settler events, schools, and government, there is still a debate as to their value in Reconciliation. This website discusses both sides of the debate, the concerns that they are just a step on an agenda to promoting awareness and a means to ensure Settlers cannot ignore the need to make bigger steps in the Reconciliation process. Additionally, for those creating, using, and programming about Land Acknowledgments, the website provides important aspects to include and go alongside your Land Acknowledgement.

A place to start: Indigenous resources for public library staff working in British Columbia

Erin Wilson, Mel Edgar, and Margarita Radzevich

As we work towards the decolonization of our public libraries, we must do so in collaboration with Indigenous communities. It is our responsibility to approach these relationships with respect for and knowledge of the current and historical realities of Indigenous Peoples, along with cognisance of Indigenous cultures, Knowledges, and protocols. This LibGuide equips public library staff with multimedia resources to help further the relationships and partnerships with Indigenous communities in respectful, educated, and culturally appropriate ways. The guide includes information regarding Land Rights, Arts and Culture, Booklists of Indigenous Stories by, for, and about First Nations, Métis and Inuit Peoples. It is our intention to have this guide serve as a starting point for public library staff who wish to create spaces, programs, and services for and by Indigenous Peoples in public libraries. Given the industry’s lack of substantive training, staff must rely on their own research to move towards an understanding of Indigenous communities. Our guide will help staff approach communities in an informed and respectful manner.

Manidoominensikaan: Beadwork as medicine

Gail Driedger

The objective of the Manidoominensikaan – Beadwork as Medicine website is a repository of resources focusing on Indigenous beading from across Turtle Island. The act of beading encourages people to find moments of reflection, reclaim culture, practice self-care, and honour the past. Beadwork has the capacity to share stories while connecting to the past, present, and future allowing libraries and library workers to use the site for inspiration in building collections, creating programs, designing displays, and connecting with Indigenous and non-Indigenous peoples in person and virtually through social media.

Digitizing Indigenous stories: Whose stories are they?

Marja Mack and Heather McMullin

What role can libraries play in preserving Indigenous Stories? Once Stories have been digitized, who do they belong to? There are many good reasons why Indigenous Peoples may want to put their Stories online but the reality is that for centuries, Indigenous Peoples have had their cultural treasures stolen by settler colonial powers, including libraries, so there are also good reasons for proceeding with caution. One major consideration is ownership: how do Canada’s copyright rules apply to Indigenous Knowledge?

Our website will consider how libraries can create successful partnerships with Indigenous Peoples who are interested in digitizing their Story collections, and who would like assistance from library and information workers. We will identify key considerations for culturally appropriate digitization, discuss copyright and ownership, and present examples of successful collaborations, as well as a list of suggested best practices.

Toolkit for integrating Indigenous children’s literature in public libraries

H. Isabelle Agnew

Language is essential to our communication as humans. Indigenous languages around the world, but particularly in Canada, are at danger of being lost. Public libraries can help counter this potential loss of language by integrating Indigenous children’s books in their children’s sections, particularly in the original Indigenous language. This toolkit seeks to provide background to the risk of Indigenous language loss, how public libraries can integrate Indigenous children’s literature in their children’s departments to help prevent language loss, and information on some Indigenous children’s books that are currently available in their original Indigenous language.

“Representational Belonging” in Memory Work

Jacqueline Sedore

Community-led archives and participatory archival description initiatives play an important role in accurately reflecting historical events and identities in archival records. These efforts have created space for “representational belonging” (Caswell, Cifor, Ramirez, 2016), ownership of culture, traditions, and knowledge for Indigenous Peoples. This poster, created for non-Indigenous archivists and memory workers, provides examples of important community-led and participatory archival initiatives, and highlights the impact of these practices on Indigenous Peoples. Included are important considerations for archivists, historians, and curators about our approach to memory work and calls to shift the traditionally settler-rooted retelling of history to a more accurate, whole picture. Users of this online poster are encouraged to visit the linked community-led and participatory projects highlighted here as a guide for such work.

Indigenous Ways of Knowing and Being in Environmental Education in Public Libraries

Leanne Hooper

What might it look like for public libraries to not only provide environmental education programming in response to the ALA core value ‘sustainability’, but to move beyond models of sustainability and enable participants to ‘read’ the natural environment beyond them? Public libraries have an opportunity to center Indigenous Ways of Knowing and Being in a variety of contexts including environmental education programming. Building relationships with local Indigenous communities enables public libraries to decolonize a variety of spaces, collections, and programs. Within environmental education understanding and incorporating Indigenous Ways of Knowing and Being including Relationality and Reciprocity will provide public libraries with holistic approaches to environmental education.

Trickster traditions: A collection of interactive story-games for exploring Indigenous storytelling

Mary Anderson

Utilizing the open resource program Twine, this collection is a ready-to-go, fun, and educational resource to learn about Trickster Tales and the way they’re told through Indigenous Storytelling. The sharing and transmission of Indigenous Sacred Stories is a complicated matter, struggling against the multitude of stolen or miscommunicated stories recorded without Indigenous Peoples’ permission. Centered around Napi, the trickster figure of the Indigenous Peoples of Southern Alberta, these story-games are adapted from Napi Legends (2017) told by the late Willie Whitefeathers, a Kainai Elder. The Indigenous trickster figure does not come one-size-fits-all, nor are they merely a narrative archetype to connote the “Indigenous”. Tricksters are Sacred cultural figures and heroes who represent and communicate the culture, laws, and histories of the Indigenous Peoples within the context of their specific locations.

Traditional Indigenous arts in Saskatchewan

Nicolle DeGagné

This online Google Site will feature information about selected Indigenous art forms practiced in Saskatchewan as well as information about artists that practice these arts. It will include recordings, interviews, links, and information about a selection of the artists’ publications, as well as a selection of available instructional materials for those accessing the resource to utilize. The resource is intended for educational purposes and will feature at least four Indigenous artists, and their unique art form.

Literacy pathways: A conversation with Diné educators

Phil Neilson

In this podcast conversation, two Diné educators share their journeys, experiences, and wisdom around youth literacy.  Together representing several decades of experience teaching English to middle and high school students in Arizona and New Mexico, Angela Barker and DeLyssa Begay now work together at Rehoboth Christian School, where Angela serves as librarian and DeLyssa teaches high school English and Social Studies.  The two women share their own experiences with becoming literate and then reflect on what they have learned about youth literacy as teachers.  Finally, they share some of the books and other resources that they have used and found helpful in their work.

Supporting Indigenous language revitalization: Recommendations for public libraries

Sarah Cairns, Lo Humeniuk, Melanie Forrest, and Michelle Volpe

Language is inextricably entwined with culture, identity, and ways of knowing and being. In settler Canada, however, many First Nations, Inuit, and Métis languages are endangered or sleeping, as a result of historic and ongoing factors including colonization, forced assimilation, and governmental policies. This resource endeavours to provide a foundational understanding of how public library boards, administrators, and staff—in consultation with Indigenous Elders and other community members—can concretely support the language revitalization initiatives of local Indigenous communities. Five overarching categories are used to organize recommendations, which are accompanied by background information, links to supporting resources, and examples in practice.

An online toolkit for Indigenizing controlled vocabulary and knowledge organization in library catalogs

Sarah Stettinger

Libraries are well known as institutions of colonialism. As institutions whose purposes are to curate, maintain, and preserve knowledge and information, great care and consideration must be placed in how knowledge is organized, and by extension, what knowledge is preserved. So then, it may seem contradictory to consider that these institutions do not record knowledge equally, yet due to their inherent settler colonial structures, historically that has been the case. There are perpetuated implications of superior ontologies and axiology’s in place when libraries, archives, and museums (LAMs) organize knowledge exclusively within settler colonial paradigms. The continued use of settler colonial concepts of history and knowledge reaffirm the sovereignty and the correctness of those concepts.

As such, many libraries have taken action to incorporate Indigenous Knowledges, Ontologies, and Taxonomies within libraries’ controlled vocabulary schemas, often by creating locally controlled vocabularies. These projects are monumental in task and require additional resources, consultations, advice, and collaboration.

This online resource will pull together as many of these relevant resources together in hopes of assisting future cataloging projects of this nature.

This toolkit with include:

  • Bibliography of articles related to Indigenous Knowledge, subject access, and similar initiatives
  • Web resources for vocabulary assistance
  • Opportunity to provide contact information for institutions undertaking Indigenous SH projects, in hopes of establishing network.

Land acknowledgements in public libraries: A resource for educating staff and patrons

Michelle Falk and Vanja Trivanovic

Public libraries can be a useful resource for educating the community about issues that affect Indigneous Peoples in what is now known as Canada, such as Land sovereignty. Along with providing a comprehensive and well-organized collection of Indigenous materials, public libraries can provide guidance on relationality with the Land and more-than-humans. The significance of Land acknowledgements in respecting these relationships as a step toward decolonization. This poster will provide information on how Treaties were formed and  how to construct a Land acknowledgement in a simple and respectful manner. It is intended to be used by both staff and patrons, and will include instruction on where to find information regarding local Land Treaties.