As we come to the end of Indigenous Peoples’ History Month, Technical Services and Xwi7xwa Library are pleased to announce a recent step undertaken in the Library’s effort to decolonize Indigenous subject headings. You may have noticed that many thousands of Xwi7xwa records previously containing the term “First Nations” now use the broader heading Aboriginal Canadians. For many years, Xwi7xwa Library’s own thesaurus has rejected the LCSH term “Indians of North America” in favour of local alternatives. As Sarah Dupont, Head of Xwi7xwa Library states, “When Aboriginal Peoples go looking to find representations of our many diverse knowledges in the Library collections, we should be able to search using terms we use to describe ourselves. We should not feel the sting of antiquated, colonial, and racist words that perpetuate negative connotations of us, especially when we and our Allies go to do the work of lifting academia and broader society out of these shadows through our scholarly efforts.” Adolfo Tarango, Head of Technical Services, adds, “While we know terminology that attempts to group Aboriginal Canadians is fraught with problems of historic, contextual, and personal challenges, new words to both represent them as a group and replace the most prevalent, problematic phrase Indians of North America were needed to signal a shift in how we think about our roles as professionals in the continued mis-treatment of ‘othered’ peoples.” Sue Andrews, Principle Cataloguer, adds, “Our choice of the new phrase, Aboriginal Canadians, has helped us to correct earlier interpretations and uses of the term “First Nations” in our records, and to instead provide a term that is more inclusive of the different groups that represent our rich heritage of First Nations, Métis and Inuit Peoples in Canada. By selecting a term used widely in Canadian contexts by Aboriginal Canadians themselves we uphold our principle of “cultural warrant” for our choices of terms in our FNHL thesaurus.”

We commit to being responsive to changing this term as needed, and look to our First Nations, Métis, and Inuit colleagues to advise us along this journey. Congratulations, Xwi7xwa and Technical Services!

Xwi7xwa congratulates Dr. Daniel Heath Justice for being awarded the UBC Killam Research Prize.

For more information, please see the award announcement.

 

This growing French language collection is one of the newest editions to Xwi7xwa Library. These resources are meant to support educators and students with integrating Aboriginal ways of knowing and learning within the mandate of the new BC curriculum. In its present state, the majority of the titles in this section are geared towards children and young adults. Many of the titles in the French language collection also discuss residential schools and their impacts. Original French language titles are available in addition to translated works.

Post authored by student librarian, Christina Wac.

The multi-disciplinary Cree artist Kent Monkman is well represented in the Xwi7xwa collection with the entirety of his video work: a collection of short films that span the past two decades and multiple film genres. Highlights of the video collection include Monkman’s debut, “A Nation is Coming,” and “A Taxonomy of the European Male,” which features his alter-ego, Miss Chief Eagle Testicles, as she travels Europe, interrogating the representation of Indigenous societies in classical European art. Monkman’s newest film, “Casualties of Modernity,” continues this examination of the art world, playfully looking at the history of modern art in the 20th century. Several films, such as “Seance” and Iskootao, document live performances pieces featuring Miss Chief Eagle Testicles.

Beyond his video work, the book “Two-Spirit Acts” collects the text of three of his performance pieces, along with work by other prominent Two-Spirit writers. The library also has examples of Monkman’s visual art through the exhibition catalogue “Kent Monkman: the Rise and Fall of Civilization.” Monkman’s talents extend to the realm of children’s literature with his bright illustrations of “A Coyote Columbus Story,” written by Thomas King.

Monkman’s exhibit, “Shame and Prejudice: A story of resilience,” was recently mounted at the University of Toronto as part of the 150 anniversary of Canada’s confederation projects. The exhibit will be touring over the next few years and is expected to come to the Museum of Anthropology at UBC in 2020.

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