Tag Archives: indigenous services

Freedom of misinformation – LIANZA 2023

Rob Cruickshank (LIANZA Standing Committee panel chair)
Leslie Weir (Librarian and Archivist of Canada)
Māia Abraham (Christchurch City Libraries)
Distinguished Professor Steven Ratuva (University of Canterbury)
Associate Professor Spencer Lilley (Victoria University of Wellington)

> What’s the extent of the problem of misinformation in our society today and the effect on Indigenous people?
Leslie: In Canada, 150000 children attended “Indian Residential Schools” – many never returned home and of these the death of many was never recorded. Misinformation of the time shut down people trying to get the story out and erased the history. Now reckoning with this history and need to work to make sure it’s recognised.
Māia: In Aotearoa we’ve been dealing with misinformation around Te Tiriti o Waitangi. It’s come in through the history of Western education in New Zealand as Hana O’Regan discussed (in an earlier keynote: she noted that eg in the 1930s the ministry of education overrode teachers’ recommendations and kept Māori language out of the curriculum on the grounds that it would actually be good for them to lose it).
Steven: The role of politics and the media. Example of the “Voice” referendum in Australia, and of dicussion of “co-governance” recently in New Zealand. All draws from pre-existing prejudices and misinformation about the hierarchy of humanity. Knowledge is not neutral – it has to do with power. Indexing can be used to reinforce prejudiced worldviews. Advertising is another forum where very little is truthful – and lots of fast food ads are targeted towards Māori and Pasifika using stereotypes – maybe not consciously/intentionally but it’s embedded in the subconscious.
Spencer: Looking at critical information literacy skills. Eg Elsdon Best taking information from Tuhoe informants, filtering it through a Western lens, and applying it as if it were something Māori believed as a whole. Expecting all Māori to think the same, have the same tikanga etc is its own kind of misinformation. A lot of misinformation issues today are around trust.

> What can we of librarians do about this given we have a responsibility to provide access to information?
Leslie: We hold all the original treaties, records of the residential schools etc. Currently tend to work nation to nation considering the question of data sovereignty as (like iwi and hapū in Aotearoa) there’s no one size fits all.
Māia: It’s a personal responsibility, thinking about our responsibility as librarians. Consider who has the rights to the information. Be intentional about who we’re hiring/training to work with the collections. Think about your organisation history. Libraries ultimately are a Western way of collecting and organising information though this doesn’t mean Māori information can’t exist there.
Steven: ‘Harm’ can mean different things to different people. Sometimes get students to research something they disagree with. Commodification of knowledge – publication as a way to move up the academic ladder. Elsevier profits $3.3billion off of researcher work and then we have to pay to access it again. Ethics gets thrown out the window by commercialisation.
Spencer: Lots of work going on in the open access space. But need to ensure that metadata for publications beats the algorithms. Need to get OA content ranking higher than content from the traditional systems. Need people to get content from multiple sources and do their own thinking instead of going to an AI generator.
Steven: Scopus algorithms aren’t friendly to Indigenous knowledge – they keep out Indigenous journals, almost seems intentionals. Researchers forced to get their metrics up in order to be promoted but hard for Indigenous researchers to do this when their journals aren’t indexed.

> What can libraries do practically?
Leslie: We need to contextualise material – work with communities to identify advisories/context that needs to go on material. Especially if material may contain traumatic content. May need support services.
Māia: No one size fits all. Work with the people around you to come up with a solution – don’t wait for a solution to fall into your lap – and to implement it.
Steven: Can’t start censoring books (different people would pick different books to ban, and there’d be an outcry). But could have a team exploring which books would create the most harm – and identify rather than burn them.
Spencer: Comes back to education – of people working in our institutions so we’re aware of our own collections, and be aware to use skills to educate others. Be allies of Māori and Pasifika staff and communities. Libraries have always been a strong advocate of freedom of information, need to drive this home in our collection development policies.

Ways of seeing: collections, stories, language and place #ndf2012

Ways of seeing: collections, stories, language and place
Eleanor Whitworth, Arts Victoria
Culture Victoria has worked closely with indigenous communities to share indigenous cultural material and stories. The indigenous culture theme is one of the most visited sections on the Culture Victoria website. When we implemented the ‘browse our content by location’ search function, we thought carefully about the implications for representing indigenous content.
Language is not a sole determiner of personal heritage, but it is a significant one. Unlike New Zealand, where Māori is an official language, Australia currently has around 150 indigenous languages; none are official, and most are under threat. As Aboriginal communities identify connection to country and culture via language group, mapping our indigenous material to a single point that referenced a Western place name would have been grossly insufficient.
This presentation will cover our partnership with the Koorie Heritage Trust to map our content to the widely recognised 38 language regions in Victoria, including the decisions we made on representing borders and dealing with multiple spellings. The presentation will also provide examples of the power of cultural collections to foster connection and collaboration between museums and traditional owners; support intangible heritage; and link objects with stories and place.

Starts asking “Where are you from?” and plays clip YouTube clip Jimmy Little Yorta Yorta man

Eleanor would answer with a point; Jimmy with an area. She’d see the country as divided into large chunks and needs a point to give specificity; he’d see it as collection of language areas: http://www.abc.net.au/indigenous/map/

Culture Victoria has collections and stories. Group stories under broad themes; link stories; search stories by location.

Collaboration with Koorie Heritage Trust. Each artwork accompanied by story, noting storyteller and language group. Language groups are strong identifiers for place so logical to extend browse-by-location function to include language groups. Used Gazetteer of Australian Placenames to help mapping – pragmatic but not always optimal as pinpoints area by geographic centre. Language groups aren’t point, they’re areas.

Problem #1: borders. This project is a “Victoria” project but this isn’t how indigenous people would see the area. Decided to include 38 groups that broadly overlap state of Victoria.

Problem #2: borders. How to determine areas of language groups? They change! Looked at three maps – interesting that over time they seem to become less detailed. Decided not to show visible borders – seemed best way to acknowledge fluidity. But still needed to determine for purposes of database/searching. Used maps, created polygons to overlay on map. Sometimes had to go by eye. Sent lat/long data to someone to create the polygon on the map. Some regions overlap a little, or a lot. Checked, refined.

Also had to consider spelling variants – phonetic interpretations. Some identify with one or another so system had to cope with all.

At the moment can only search by location but hope to add search by language group.

Did this exercise because had something to attach to the mapping: the stories.

Look at the stories on the website (eg the possum skin cloaks – which skins were from New Zealand as illegal to kill possums in Australia whereas encouraged here…)

Q: Can you tell us about the consultation you did?
A: Koorie Heritage Trust is made up largely of Aboriginal people – close relationship with communities. Lots of discussion about shapes as very sensitive, but mostly driven by community.

Q: Very Western structured presentation on website cf traditional storytelling cycle.
A: Some limits due to funding. But it’s the content that’s the cycle – the story circles around. This conference has raised questions of how you present data, present linking systems, in an interface that’s fluid and flexible – emerging technologies. Definitely aim to increase interactivity.

[ETA 11/7/2014: Slides and notes are blogged at Culture Victoria.]

From "We Shall Remain" to "Operation teen book drop"

new national indigenous library services initiatives
Loriene Roy and Scott Smith
abstract (pdf); We Shall Remain librarians’ website

Once American Indians were the whole of the now-USA population; now 0.1%.
Urban/homeland split due to 1950s/60s policy of relocation. Health, higher education, economics, traditions are compromised.

Initiatives to support libraries; this presentation is a status on these two projects.

“We Shall Remain”
Film is a rich media to show experience. Indigenous have been depicted in film for decades but are rarely involved in the production itself. “We Shall Remain” is a PBS show, the largest “American Experience” series produced. Aired in 5 90-minute episodes: After the Mayflower (depicting especially Wampanoag, Pequot, Nipmuc, Narragansett), Tecumseh’s Vision (Shawnee), Trail of Tears (Cherokee), Geronimo (Chiricahua Apache), Wounded Knee (Oglala Lakota and Native peoples from tribes across the country). The last was able to draw on rich media coverage from the time.

Project also included a mentoring programme for Native film producers, and a website linked to many films created. Grants for states and cities to collaborate with local organisations to create public events, programming and to deepen public understanding of Native history.

Event kit for libraries gives ideas about how to organise culturally appropriate discussions. Storytelling events, reading circle (“The Plague of Doves”), exploring stereotypes, art contests and projects, discussion forums, film festival, guideleines for evaluating media resources (many preexisting guides for selecting books on Native topics; this is the first for evaluating film) – shipped to 15,000 public libraries. Won an award for design and communication. PDF copy available at We Shall Remain librarians’ website. Two Facebook groups.

The “We Shall Remain” title image of the teepee and flag (“Nespelem”, a photo by Bob Charlo of the Kalispel Nation, was taken at the annual powow on the Colville Reservation in Nespelem, WA in 1992): “To me it represents that we – Native people – are still here and still vibrant. We are not a conquered people. We are a contributing people.” — Bob Charlo

Highest number of states with events were Arizona, Texas, and Utah. Most popular were lectures/discussions (often about topics re the TV programmes), screenings (of previews or episodes (esp Trail of Tears) or local films by Native producers/authors, displays of books/photographs/other featuring Native history and/or authors, sometimes collaborating with local organisations); then performance and hands-on activities (weaving, basketry, games, musical and dramatic performances, crocheting afghans donated to local hospital).

Operation Teen Book Drop
Donation of 8,000 YA books to hospitalised teens in 2008-09 by publishers, organised by readergirlz, Guys Lit Wire, and YALSA. April 15th 2010 will take YA books to teens attending tribal schools on reservations. So far 27 schools registered – about 5000 teens. Featuring Lurline Waliana McGregor, Sherman Alexie, Joseph Bushac (sp?) – other names mentioned include Dean Koontz.

Coordinating national publicity plan to tribal newsletters and library community.

Will have live chat at readergirlz.com. Raising funds online.

Successes are result of collaboration, promotion, and planning.

Q: Why would schools not want to be involved?
A: Might have assumed would get a different title per student – instead it’s one title for the whole community so they might feel it’s too much work for a single title. Another issue is that publishers are saying “Take the books now” so storage space is an issue. Trying to locate local liaisons to help with work.

Q: Will it screen in New Zealand?
A: Needs to be picked up by tv; but can buy on PBS.