UBC’s Xwi7xwa Library has collaborated with The Ray and Millie Silver Aboriginal Library in Abbotsford to make their own unique cataloging system for Aboriginal materials.

The Ray and Millie Silver Aboriginal Library has more than 2,000 materials for community members and children in the Abbotsford School District, but children and teachers in the district’s 46 schools have been unable to easily access materials in the library as not all of the materials were catalogued.

student reading

The beginnings of a journey

In December 2016, Loraleigh Epp, a library tech, started to reorganize and revamp the way the materials in the library were organized. Epp considered cataloguing the materials using the traditional Dewey Decimal system – common to public libraries. However, the system is challenging in the way it organizes and represents Aboriginal materials.

“We started the journey,” says Epp, “by doing research on the Brian Deer classification system, a unique cataloging system specifically designed for Aboriginal materials.” Canadian Kahnawake Mohawk librarian Brian Deer, one of the first Indigenous librarians in Canada, created the system in the 1970s to organize Indigenous materials. As part of her research, Epp discovered that UBC’s Xwi7xwa Library used a modified Brian Deer system in their library, so she contacted the librarians to get some insight.

UBC Librarians Ann Doyle, Sarah Dupont and Library Assistant Eleanore Wellwood welcomed Epp and showed her how they had modified the Deer system for materials at UBC.

“The Brian Deer classification system arranges items together on the shelves in a way that better reflects relationships from an Indigenous worldview,” says Sarah Dupont.

For example, the Musqueam First Nation and Sto:lo First Nation are geographically and culturally close, but if the materials are catalogued alphabetically, Musqueam and another nation, such as Mohawk, located in Ontario, would appear together on a shelf. When conducting research about Indigenous peoples, materials about close neighbors may contain content that is relevant to both groups. Musqueam and Sto:lo are both Coast Salish nations and have a stronger geographical tie of culture and language than with alphabetically close nation such as Mohawk. In this way, the Deer system makes things easier for users browsing the shelf, and it also aims to solve some of the problems created by cataloging with a colonial perspective.

 

Making materials more accessible

With help from Xwi7xwa, Epp was able to re-catalogue her materials and input them into the school district’s online catalogue at the same time. The materials are now accessible and searchable from any of the schools in the district, meaning children and teachers can find the materials easily.

Epp especially wanted to modify the system to reflect “how the public and staff would look for it.” For example, in the Brian Deer system, Indian Residential Schools is a heading under “Education.” Epp chose to pull Indian Residential Schools and the National Truth and Reconcilliation Commission into their own categories to better reflect how users might search for these materials, particularly teachers and the public.

Now that the library has been reorganized, community members and elders are using the materials for language literacy and education.

Currently the majority of community members using the library are elders, says Epp. “There are tears in their eyes when they see their language in a children’s book.”

Dr Silver and family

Dr. Ray Silver and some of his family members, at the opening of the library.

 

Next steps

The Mamele’awt Community Aboriginal Centre, which houses the library, is open to the public. People wishing to check out materials do not need a library card and the general public is encouraged to use the library.

Epp says improving the catalogue is an ongoing effort, and that the next step will be to improve the subject headings for materials. The library is also hoping to bring more community users into the space by offering programming, such as story times for young children.

 

ray silver

Dr. Ray Silver, Xéy’teleq

For more information on the Ray and Millie Silver Aboriginal Library, named for Dr. Ray Silver, Xéy’teleq, and his wife Millie Silver, visit their website, or the Mamele’awt Community Centre (3277 Gladwin Road, Abbotsford, B.C.).

For more information on how Xwi7xwa organizes their library materials, visit their website. Xwi7xwa librarians Ann Doyle, Kim Lawson and Sarah Dupont published a paper in 2015 discussing the organization of materials at Xwi7xwa:

 


The BC Breath of Life Archival Institute for First Nations Languages provides First Nations community language workers the opportunity to participate in a week-long Institute being hosted at the University of British Columbia from May 14-20, 2017, for the reclamation and revitalization of BC First Nations languages. Kim Lawson, Reference Librarian at the Xwi7xwa Library, speaks on the particular topic of archival research.

Modeled on the “Breath of Life” Language Restoration Workshops initiated in the mid-90s by the Advocates for Indigenous California Language Survival, our objective is to promote active collaboration among people with a wide range of perspectives on language and culture to explore archives and museum collections at UBC in order to “breathe life” back into the manuscripts and other resources there, with the overarching goal of contributing to the health and sustainability of BC’s First Nations languages for future generations. Participants will be grouped into research teams, based on language affiliations, bringing together First Nations community language workers (broadly defined to include Elders, language learners, teachers, curriculum developers, and others working towards language vitality) and university-based scholars with diverse skills that can contribute to finding and interpreting materials relevant to language and culture reclamation. Team members will actively work together to study resources housed in various collections at UBC that are directly relevant to their languages. Team members will mentor one another and share their expertise throughout the program, building not only research resources, but also relationships for potential on-going collaboration.

Video sponsored by the Irving K. Barber Learning Centre. Schools participate in the Aboriginal Enhancement Schools Network (AESN) on a voluntary and annual basis. AESN schools link their inquiry specifically to Aboriginal ways of knowing. The Spiral of Inquiry provides school teams with the structure for guiding their improvement and innovation work. Participating schools develop and submit an inquiry focus, collaborate with colleagues through regional meetings, and share case studies in a spirit of generosity and curiosity.

Speakers:

Lynne Tomlinson (Director of Instruction), SD 45, West Vancouver

Trish Catherine (Teacher), Ecole Ballenas Secondary SD 69, Qualicum

Paul Boyd (Teacher) WL Seaton Secondary, SD 22, Vernon

Marcus Toneatto (Principal), South Okanagan Secondary School, SD 53, Okanagan Similkameen

Mary Neto (Teacher), Smithers Secondary, SD 54, Bulkley Valley

Roberta Edzerza, (District Principal, Aboriginal Education) and Sandy Pond (Principal), Charles Hays Secondary, SD 53, Prince Rupert

Robert Taddei, (Teacher), Frank Hurt Secondary SD 36, Surrey

 

 

 

 

 

 

This session aims to identify ways to support and promote accurate information about Aboriginal people, identify how current library structures may be barriers to full inclusion for Aboriginal students and how to address them, and identify power issues at play in our own instructional practice and how to make positive changes. Panelists are asked to consider the following questions:

How do you help your community find themselves in your collection or in your course?
How do you Indigenize your instruction?


Panelists

Deborah Lee is a Cree, Mohawk and Métis librarian. She worked as a Reference Librarian at the National Library of Canada / Library and Archives Canada for seven years. In 2007, Deborah became the Indigenous Studies Portal Librarian at the University of Saskatchewan. She has been the Indigenous Studies Liaison and Aboriginal Engagement Librarian at UofS since 2011. Deborah has presented widely at local, national and international conferences, including ACRL in 2015.

Patricia Geddes is the Student Engagement and Community Outreach Librarian at Vancouver Island University. She is a Liaison Librarian for Aboriginal Education Services, First Nations Studies, and the Faculty of Academic and Career Preparation.

Jenna Walsh was born in Vancouver on unceded Coast Salish territory and grew up in an inner city neighbourhood with a diverse Aboriginal population. At the University of British Columbia, her Interdisciplinary BA focused on global Indigeneity, and she did the First Nations Curriculum Concentration program for her MLIS.

Kim Lawson is Heiltsuk with English/ Danish ancestry. She is one of the authors of the “Protocols for Native American Archival Materials,” was the Archivist/ Librarian at The Union of BC Indian Chiefs Resource Centre, has an MLIS from UBC and is learning to speak Heiltsuk.

Camille Callison is a member of the Tahltan First Nation and the Indigenous Services Librarian & Liaison Librarian for Anthropology, Native Studies and Social Work at the University of Manitoba, Member of the UM Indigenous Advisory Circle (IAC) and has presented extensively on Indigenous Library & Archives issues.

Moderator

Sarah Dupont’s ancestry is Metis, French, and British. She is from Prince George, BC and is the Aboriginal Engagement Librarian at UBC Library, where she works in the Xwi7xwa Library and Irving K Barber Learning Centre. Her liaison areas include Indigenous Education and Indigenous Social Work. Sarah is the project manager for Indigitization, a UBC program to support First Nations digitization and preservation of their community resources.


Select Books and Articles Available at UBC Library

Doerksen, K., Karen Doerksen, & Carla Martin. (03/01/2016). Partnership: A loose coupling: Aboriginal participation in library education – A selective literature review The Partnership, provincial and territorial library association of Canada c/o Ontario Library Associ. doi:10.21083/partnership.v10i2.3337 [Link]

Face, M., & Hollens, D. (2004). A Digital Library to Serve a Region: The Bioregion and First Nations Collections of the Southern Oregon Digital Archives. Reference & User Services Quarterly, 44(2), 116-121. [Link]

Kelly, B., & Barbara Kelly. (01/01/2011). Partnership: Reflecting the lives of aboriginal women in canadian public library collection development The Partnership, provincial and territorial library association of Canada c/o Ontario Library Associ. [Link]


UBC Library Research Guides

Aboriginal Publishers, Distributors & News Media

First Nations & Indigenous Studies

Indigenous Librarianship

 

 

 

Acknowledgement: The Irving K. Barber Learning Centre is pleased to contribute to the promotion of this unique opportunity.  We acknowledge the Haida Gwaii Higher Education Society’s website as the source for most of this content.

The Haida Gwaii Higher Education Society is an enterprising non-profit organization that develops and delivers transformative education inspired by Haida Gwaii. In partnership with leading universities, we offer students immersive, experiential learning opportunities in rural, resource-dependent communities in transition. Here the Haida Nation, island communities, and provincial and federal governments are working through complex joint management models towards reconciliation and sustainability.

Drawing on Haida Gwaii’s legacy of innovation and leadership, HGHES offers a range of programming including undergraduate semesters, executive education and professional development courses, research opportunities, public lectures and workshops, and more.

The Haida Gwaii Semesters include the following areas of focus:

  1. Natural Resource Science
  2. Natural Resource Studies
  3. Reconciliation Studies
  4. Marine Planning

Please visit http://hghes.ca/haida-gwaii-semesters/ for more information, including the application process, tuition, fees and FAQs

The Haida Gwaii Higher Education Society embraces a place-based approach; we see the social and ecological systems of Haida Gwaii as vibrant natural classrooms for our students to engage with, grounding course content in living, local case studies. We believe in working together and facilitating a rich collaboration between academics and local knowledge holders, supporting a meaningful learning exchange and the development of a broad perspective.

  • As issues around the globe become increasingly complex, If students are from UBC, there is an agreement in place to facilitate registration.
  • For non-UBC students there is an opportunity to earn UBC credits and transfer them back to the student’s home institution.

 


“Housing the knowledge of tangata whenua (indigenous people)” focuses on how information professionals can build respectful collections.  Cultural organisations house most of the written historical information of tangata whenua (Indigenous people), however, not many organizations have partnerships with Indigenous peoples. Anahera Morehu (University of Auckland) will present insights from her journeys in facilitating the forming of partnerships or relationships. Through partnerships, information managers are able to discern and create guidelines that support organisations in better understanding what “indigenous traditional knowledge” is in an information profession context.

Anahera brings a discussion about developing guidelines for Indigenous traditional knowledge held in your organisations – libraries, archives, museums and other cultural institutions. As the National Coordinator for the Mātauranga Māori within New Zealand Libraries, Anahera will present a programme that provides an insight into the world view from the indigenous people of Aotearoa (New Zealand).

Bio

Anahera Morehu is the Library Manager for Arts, Māori and Pacific at the University of Auckland. She presented at the International Federation of Library Associations and Institutions (IFLA) World Congress in 2011, at a time when indigenous traditional knowledge was making its initial stance within the constructs of information management. She travels and presents at many indigenous fora where she is able, and honoured, to be the National Coordinator for the Mātauranga Māori within NZ Libraries. Anahera is past Tumuaki of Te Rōpū Whakahau, convenor for the Library and Informtion Association of New Zealand Aotearoa (LIANZA) conference 2014, current LIANZA Hikuwai Regional Councillor, and a member of LIANZA Council.


Relevant Books and Articles from UBC Library

Bauer, W., Parker, W., Evans, T. K., & MyiLibrary. (1993; 2003; 2012). Maori (1st ed.). New York; London: Routledge. doi:10.4324/9780203403723 [Link]

Morehu, A. P. (2012). Organization of Indigenous Knowledge Plenary Session. Indigenous Knowledges: Local Priorities, Global Contexts. University of Bristish Columbia, Vancouver. [Link]

Morehu, A.P., Hobson, J. (2005). Hokinga ki te kainga. Proceedings of the 5th International Indigenous Librarians Forum: Brisbane, Australia, June 4-7, 2007.  Ed. Alana Garwood-Houng for the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Library, Information and Resource Network (ATSILIRN). [Link]

Mutu, M. (2014). Māori issues. The Contemporary Pacific, 26(1), 208-214. [Link]


UBC Library Research Guides

Library, Archival & Information Science

Aboriginal Studies

Indigitization

The Irving K. Barber Learning Centre is pleased to award funding to nine new projects as part of the Indigitization: Aboriginal Audio Digitization & Preservation Program (AADP) this summer.

Since 2013, the Indigitization: Aboriginal Audio Digitization and Preservation Program (AADP) has provided grants to B.C. Aboriginal organizations in supporting the conservation, preservation, and access of Indigenous community information resources. The six month program provides equipment, training and funding support to convert audio cassette tapes to digital formats. 

This multi-faceted program provides resources for the digital conversion of at risk audio cassette materials, to support cultural preservation and revitalization efforts. Over the next six months, the following communities will be undertaking their respective projects under the guidance of program staff:

Participant Project Title
Tsilhqot’in National Government Preservation of Tsilhqot’in Intangible Heritage: Digitizing and Enhancing Taped Audio Interviews and Gatherings from the 1960s to 2002
Musqueam Indian Band Musqueam Governance Digitization Project
Haida Gwaii Museum Haida Gwaii Museum – Digitization of Audio Tapes
Xaad Kihlgaa Hl Suu.u Society (XKHS) / Haida Language Society Xaad Kil Digitization Project
Treaty 8 Tribal Association Understanding Traditional Land Use of the Peace Region through Elders Oral History Stories
Heiltsuk Cultural Education Centre Indigitization Phase II – Towards a Digital Infrastructure
Stswecem’c Xgat’tem First Nation Stswecem’c Xgat’tem First Nation Digitization – Tape Preservation Project
Hul’qumi’num Treaty Group Hul’qumi’num Treaty Group (HTG) Audio Digitization & Preservation Project 2015
Wuikinuxv Nation Wuikinuxv Tape Digitization Project

The AADP looks forward to welcoming representatives from each of these communities to UBC for an intensive, week-long training program later this month. Congratulations to all the recipients!

For more information on the Indigitization program, please visit the website or contact Sarah Dupont, Aboriginal Engagement Librarian.

 

About Indigitization

Indigitization is a collaborative project between the Irving K. Barber Learning Centre (IKBLC), the First Nations Technology Council (FNTC), and three First Nations communities: Heiltsuk, Ktunaxa, and ‘Namgis. Other contributors include UBC’s Museum of Anthropology (MOA), School for Library, Archival, and Information Studies (SLAIS), and the First Nations House of Learning (FNHL).

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