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Orientation and History of the International Indigenous Librarians’ Forum.
Libraries play a central role in the preservation of Indigenous knowledge by gathering in all possible sources of written and oral history about that Indigenous history, culture and language and have become a very important part of the reclamation of Indigenous culture, language, art and history while preserving this information in our communities continued use and enjoyment while facilitating intergenerational transfer of knowledge. New and innovative methods are being implemented at the University of Manitoba to overcome barriers, provide access and meet the unique needs of the Indigenous students and faculty thereby strengthen relationships with diverse groups and creating a culture of inclusion. Language and knowledge preservation collection development through collection development as well as promoting Indigenous knowledge and scholarship passing on Indigenous knowledge utilizes both modern and traditional ways of teaching and in essence becomes a “new canoe” used to carry Indigenous knowledge, language and culture to future generations.
Public, academic, school and special libraries across Saskatchewan undertake numerous initiatives to build stronger relationships with First Nation and Métis people to ensure libraries are more inclusive and receptive to the diverse information needs of Aboriginal people. Two provincial committees will co-present to highlight programs, resources, services and strategies that foster quality Aboriginal Library Services. Such strategies include consultations with First Nation and Métis organizations and communities, culturally relevant collection development and reference services, creating a welcoming atmosphere, professional development related to Aboriginal awareness and cultural sensitivity workshops, and Aboriginal-based programming. Many programming initiatives support the development of Aboriginal culture and language and include the Saskatchewan Aboriginal Storytelling (SAS) Project, a province-wide initiative held in February of each year (for the last ten years!). The SAS Project promotes First Nations and Métis oral traditions and celebrates all that libraries have to offer.
The Alexander Turnbull Library is a part of the National Library of New Zealand, and holds the world’s most extensive collection of documentary taonga Maori. Taonga is the term used to describe material deemed by New Zealand’s indigenous people, the Maori, to be of significant cultural and spiritual value.
The Tribunal that considers Treaty claims in New Zealand recently released its findings relating to the ownership of traditional Maori knowledge held within the Library. While supporting the Library’s continued ownership of this material and philosophy of open access, the Tribunal recommended mechanisms to guard against inappropriate use and commercial exploitation.
The presentation describes the Turnbull Library’s approach to facilitating access to indigenous Maori knowledge through archival/bibliographic descriptive practices and discovery tools, collaborative tribal agreements, specialist positions and digital initiatives. The presenters will also touch upon the relationship between our professional roles and that as members of our respective tribal communities.
Language is as important to a person’s, group and nation’s identity as is any other factor. For without Language the nuances of culture cannot be conveyed in an appropriate way. The loss of Language also creates a disjunction between the individual, traditional culture and the culture of the language spoken. For the Stolen Generations not only were their families stolen from them but their culture and Language. Libraries can play a role in reclaiming culture and Language, the Library of the Australian Institute of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Studies, AIATSIS, houses the Australian Indigenous Languages Collection, which is used by many of those trying to reclaim and revive their Language. In 2005 AIATSIS published the National Indigenous Languages Survey (NILS) Report 2005 that found that the situation of Australia’s Indigenous languages is grave and requires urgent action. Of the 145 indigenous languages still spoken in Australia, 110 are critically endangered. In 2011 AIATSIS conducted the second Australian National Indigenous Languages Survey (NILS2). This survey aimed to take a comprehensive snapshot of the state of Australia’s Indigenous languages, their number, status and vitality, and to gain some indication of their prospects.
It is a tradition during IILF that the indigenous delegates deliberate as Indigenous Librarians Council on an output related to that specific IILF. They will report on their effort during the last morning of this ILLF gathering. For examples of past outcomes, see http://www.trw.org.nz/iilf2009_outcomes.php.
This discussion will take place at the same time as the Indigenous Only Council. This year we have opened up the forum to non-indigenous librarians’ supporting indigenous communities. This session we will ask the participants to deliberate on an output related to this forum. Examples of past outcomes from the Indigenous Librarian’ Council can be found here: https://sites.google.
Library, archives, and museum (LAM) associations have entered into ongoing discussion on issues relating to traditional knowledge and its expressions. This interest is evidenced by development of documents and protocols/etiquette statements, incorporation of indigenous ways into professional education guidelines; and the emergence of Mukurtu, an ethically based tool.
The heart of these efforts is the complex intersection between cultural protocols of indigenous peoples and professional values in holding, collecting, providing access, and using indigenous material and intellectual content. The School of Information at The University of Texas at Austin is partnering with the American Indian Library Association through an IMLS collaborative planning grant to assess the degree of awareness of indigenous ways among educators and recent graduates of programs that prepare entry level professionals in LAM work settings. This will be a starting point in considering sharable curricular content for educators and strategies for tracking changing attitudes.
This paper looks at an ongoing research project that investigates how Māori services and resources are represented in public libraries in New Zealand. Using a bicultural evaluation tool, Phase one of the project investigated how well New Zealand public library websites catered for those wishing to access Māori materials and whether they were representative of Māori / bicultural interests. The paper will also describe Phase two and Phase three, which will involve an investigation as to whether public libraries have the capacity to deliver meaningful services to Māori clients; and what status mātauranga Māori (Māori knowledge) has in these institutions.