It’s the Little Things: Practicing Decolonization Danielle Marie Bitz May 2, 2019
Discussion questions • What is decolonization? • Why do we care?
Why do we Care? Our professional code of ethics; it’s our job to care.
1. Access to Information The core mission of librarians and other information workers is to ensure access to information for all for personal development, education, cultural enrichment, leisure, economic activity and informed participation in and enhancement of democracy. Librarians and other information workers reject the denial and restriction of access to information and ideas most particularly through censorship whether by states, governments, or religious or civil society institutions. --CFLA-FCAB Code of Ethics
2. Responsibilities towards individuals and society In order to promote inclusion and eradicate discrimination, librarians and other information workers ensure that the right of accessing information is not denied and that equitable services are provided for everyone whatever their age, citizenship, political belief, physical or mental ability, gender identity, heritage, education, income, immigration and asylum-seeking status, marital status, origin, race, religion or sexual orientation. Librarians and other information workers respect language minorities of a country and their right to access information in their own language. --CFLA-FCAB Code of Ethics
5. Neutrality, personal integrity and professional skills Librarians and other information workers are strictly committed to neutrality and an unbiased stance regarding collection, access and service. Neutrality results in the most balanced collection and the most balanced access to information achievable. Librarians and other information workers strive for excellence in the profession by maintaining and enhancing their knowledge and skills. They aim at the highest standards of service quality and thus promote the positive reputation of the profession. --CFLA-FCAB Code of Ethics
Decolonization: “Decolonization requires non-Indigenous Canadians to recognize and accept the reality of Canada’s colonial history, accept how that history paralyzed Indigenous Peoples, and how it continues to subjugate Indigenous Peoples. Decolonization requires non-Indigenous individuals, governments, institutions and organizations to create the space and support for Indigenous Peoples to reclaim all that was taken from them.” --Bob Joseph
Indigenization: Indigenization requires non-Indigenous people to be aware of Indigenous worldviews and to respect that those worldviews are equal to other views. Indigenization is about incorporating Indigenous worldviews, knowledge and perspectives into the education system, right from primary grades to universities. --Bob Joseph.
“It must be acknowledged that there is not a homogenous Indigenous worldview, and that each Indigenous nation or community will have their own worldview. There may be similarities and common points but it is a frequently made assumption that they are all the same. Therefore, when an organization, say a school district, makes a commitment to indigenize their curriculum they need consult with the Indigenous community on whose land the schools stand for input on how to incorporate their knowledge and ways of doing into the curriculum. Both decolonization and indigenization require the cooperation of Indigenous and non-Indigenous people, governments, organizations and institutions.” --Bob Joseph.
Begin by understanding: 1) Decolonization is an iterative process 2) Decolonization makes space for Indigenization which is localized and land based and requires ongoing guidance and participation from the Indigenous community 3) There will be conflict, we have to learn to work through it with an eye to why we are doing this
What can we do, as individuals, right now? 1) Consult 2) Select Content 3) Contextualize 4) Stay Current
Consult Seek out community partnerships Participate in diverse hiring Invite Indigenous participants to all events Seek Feedback
Select Content Displays Reading clubs Children’s and YA Programming Reference Interviews
Contextualize Language matters: Myth/Legend vs Story Resources written by Indigenous people vs those about them Reading lists prepared by Indigenous Scholars Local and nation-specific information
Stay Current Read Indigenous literature, non-fiction, journalism, poetry, and criticism Follow Indigenous social media Listen to Indigenous Podcasts & Radio Shows Take the Indigenous Canada MOOC (University of Alberta) Watch Indigenous-made films Attend local, Indigenous-led events
In closing Yes, all of this will take extra time and effort. The colonial project invested over 500 hundred years of time and effort in the enforcement of colonial perspectives and the suppression of Indigenous cultures. We are trying to undo that in a generation.
Bibliography Canadian Federation of Library Associations. (2016, August 2). Indigenous Matters Committee. Retrieved April 21, 2019, from Canadian Federation of Library Associations website:http://cfla-fcab.ca/en/about/committees/indigenous_matters_committee/ Canadian Federation of Library Associations. (2018). CFLA-FCAB Code of Ethics. Retrieved fromhttp://cfla-fcab.ca/wp-content/uploads/2018/12/Code-of-ethics.pdf Canadian Federation of Library Associations, Truth and Reconciliation Committee. (n.d.). Truth and Reconciliation Report and Recommendations. Retrieved fromhttp://cfla-fcab.ca/en/indigenous/trc_report/ Davis, L., Denis, J., & Sinclair, R. (2017). Pathways of settler decolonization. Settler Colonial Studies, 7(4), 393–397.https://doi.org/10.1080/2201473X.2016.1243085 International Federation of Library Associations. (2012, August). IFLA Code of Ethics for Librarians and other Information Workers (full version). Retrieved April 29, 2019, from IFLA website:https://www.ifla.org/publications/node/11092 Joseph, B. (2017, March 29). A Brief Definition of Decolonization and Indigenization. Retrieved from Working Effectively with Indigenous Peoples website:https://www.ictinc.ca/blog/a-brief-definition-of-decolonization-and-indigenization Reese, D. (2019, March 9). American Indians in Children’s Literature (AICL): Are you planning to do a Land Acknowledgement? Retrieved March 10, 2019, from American Indians in Children’s Literature (AICL) website:https://americanindiansinchildrensliterature.blogspot.com/2019/03/are-you-planning-to-do-land.html