Indigenous and Aboriginal Peoples Resources

Many of you have read about my Indigenous Peoples subject heading project or my post  Native Peoples v. Indigenous Peoples v. Aboriginals…are any of the terms really any good? I am thrilled to finally let you know that this project is nearing its completion and the changes and creation of authorities have been implemented.   At least, the completion as it stands today (terminology is alawys changing and evolving).  Throughout this project, we questioned our knowledge on these subjects and went to various resources to assist us in our decision making.  Many of you also played a role by providing me with feedback and your own opinion.

There has been some resistance regarding the fact that I made the decision to deviate from accepted or proper authorities.  But, my question was, proper to whom?  Do the First Nations of Canada really want to be called “Indians of North America — Canada”?  Do the Mi’kmaq really want to be represented by the term Micmac?  We feel very good about what we’ve accomplished in our catalogue and that we’ve moved one step closer to properly representing a culturally diverse and thriving Peoples in Canada. 

So, for many of you who are also looking into resources to help out with projects in your own library, I’d like to recommend the AILA’s Subject Access and Classification Committee’s wiki.

Also, a blog that recently came to my attention is Loriene Roy’s From All Directions.



Filed under Access Issues, Authority Work, Subject Headings

2 responses to “Indigenous and Aboriginal Peoples Resources

  1. For our library, we decided to use “First Nations” for materials dealing with more than one nation. For materials dealing with one nation only, we assign the name of the nation as the subject heading (e.g., Cree, not Cree Indians). We do not use the term “Indians of North America”.

    We’re currently exploring assigning the names of nations as they are referred to by those nations. So, for example, instead of Ojibwa, we would use Anishinaabe. As there are various spellings of Anishinaabe, authority control is VERY important.

    What we’re doing may not be popular within the library community (when you think about sharing records), but our primary audience is First Nations, and we want to be respectful and inclusive.

    This is several years in the works now, and we’re proud of what we’ve done so far…though it is an ongoing process. A very important thing to do is to draft up a publicly accessible document that makes your “preferred terms” known. I think that this is essential for the public to become familiar with your catalogue and subject headings.

  2. Laurel Tarulli

    Hey Reegan,
    Your work in this area is very interesting and I completely agree with what you’re saying. I think that our work may, eventually, lead to a change in the accepted authorities. And, as you say, authority control is vital – including providing all of the proper see or see also references (especially because we’re deviating away from LC)

    We are also using First Nations as a broader term representing more than one nation, using the specific name of the nation when an item is about one in particular. We still use Indians of North America to represent “American Indians” because they are not referred to as First Nations in the States. And, in fact, held a lot of discussions about this – the difference between terminology and usage between the US and Canada. We didn’t want to assign a Canadian term or spelling to a specific nation in the US.

    As you have also probably encountered, changing these headings to properly reflect a nation’s peoples also involves changing a lot of other headings such as “communities” vs. “reservations” and “Indian art” vs. “First Nations art” and so on.

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