“Librarians and library staff shall develop an understanding of their own personal and cultural values and beliefs as a first step in appreciating the importance of multicultural identities in the lives of the people they work with and serve.”
NPR Morning Edition, 12 January 2016. “A ‘Wisdom Keeper' Draws From A Deep Well of Navajo Culture.” Available at: http://www.npr.org/sections/ed/2016/01/12/462141655/a-wisdom-keeper-draws-from-a-deep-well-of-navajo-culture?utm_source=facebook.com&utm_medium=social&utm_campaign=morningedition&utm_term=nprnews&utm_content=20160112Accessed on 13 January 2016.
In his book, Look to the Mountain: An Ecology of Indigenous Education (Skyland, NC: Kivaki Press, 1997), Dr. Gregory Cajete describes American Indian teaching and learning as a series of orienting actions: “preparing, asking, seeking, making, understanding, sharing, and celebrating” (p. 23). He also discusses the place of being, or understanding oneself and one’s culture. Peter Larsen and I wrote an article on how this model helped us to create instructional material for a tribal college.
Roy, Loriene and Peter Larsen. 2002. “Oksale: An Indigenous Approach to Creating a Virtual Library of Education Resources,” D-Lib Magazine 8 (3).
Peter created this illustration of Cajete’s model, again, substituting being for preparing.
“In everyday life, individual indigenous people are often asked to identify themselves. Sometimes this is part of tribal protocol at gatherings of other Native people. Sometimes this takes place at other work-related settings or social settings where “who are your people?” is a probing opening point. When protocol calls on Native people to announce their affiliation, this action is taken as part of an exchange where the underlying motive is to welcome, recognize, and accept. The motives vary in other settings from general audience members wondering about a person’s authority to curiosity.
To illustrate, let me reflect on familiar self-introductions. Like many Native people, I prefer to be recognized as a member of my specific tribal nation. If I were asked to introduce myself in a gathering of indigenous peoples, I would identify myself as Anishinabe, a member of the Minnesota Chippewa Tribe, enrolled on the White Earth Reservation. Through our father, we are likely members of the Bear Clan. I would further explain that my father was Mississippi Band and that my mother is Pembina band and, if needed, I would provide their names. This introduction would serve not only to identify myself in the lineage of my people, but would also respect and honor those whose connections led me to my life and survivance. Such an introduction is not only genealogical; it is also spiritual in nature, as it not only pronounces my blood lines, but also connects me to the beliefs of my Anishinabeg people. Still, I often need a shortened introduction, one that serves in academic settings and briefly acknowledges my ethnicity and worldview.”
Source: Roy, Loriene. Forthcoming. “Who is Indigenous?” In Indigenous Notions of Ownership and Libraries, Archives and Museums, edited by Loriene Roy, Gretchen LeCheminant, and Camille Callison. Munich: De Gruyter Saur.