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D4L DIversity Module

Focus on Diversity & Pedagogy in the Online Environment

What Do you Bring to the Learning Scenario?

Readings and Activities

1 Cultural Awareness

Standard 1 of the ALA/ACRL “Diversity Standards” addresses “Cultural awareness of self and others.” The text reads: 

“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.”

2 Listen to a Story

Please listen to the story of how a Navajo teacher’s approach to working with youth is reflective of her indigenous worldview:

NPR Morning Edition, 12 January 2016. “A ‘Wisdom Keeper' Draws From A Deep Well of Navajo Culture.” Available at: on 13 January 2016.

3 Cultural Worldview

As an Indigenous woman, my work is greatly impacted by my cultural worldview. Let me illustrate this in two ways: 

  1. in presenting Cajete’s “orientation processes”; and 
  2. by introducing my biography as published in an article in the journal, AlterNative. 

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). 

Available at: Accessed on 13 January 2016. (view as a PDF)

Peter created this illustration of Cajete’s model, again, substituting being for preparing.

Circular model with arrows showing a cycle of being, asking, seeking, making, having, sharing, and celebrating

4 Protocol

Indigenous peoples follow protocol, or etiquette. Protocol includes how one presents oneself to others. Here are a couple of paragraphs I wrote that describe how to apply protocol in introducing oneself: 

“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.

5 Influence of Culture on Work

I wrote an article on how my culture influences my work for an international journal. The article isattached here as a PDF

Roy, Loriene. 2014. “Leading a Fulfilled Life as an Indigenous Academic,” AlterNative 10 (3): 303-310.

This project is administered by the South Central Regional Library Council with funding from the Institue for Museum and Library Services.