Tag Archives: First Nation

Update on First Nations Subject Headings

With LAC’s decision to hold back on making a decision about the use of First Nations subject headings, I am still attempting to provide proper access to these names in my own work as a cataloguer. Recently, one of my staff members brought to my attention a work on the *Malecite* First Nation. They are a People geographically located primarily in New Brunswick, with one band located in Maine.

The proper LC authority for this First Nation is “Malecite Indians”. As always, this is a struggle between following LC, and reflecting the cultural differences in terminology and use in Canada. In this case, given that they are primarily located in Canada, I knew immediately we had to alter the authority to reflect that they are a First Nation, removing the term “Indian”. For a refresher on the work I have done in this area, you can view these past posts.

My research, however, indicated that the spelling of Malecite was not necessarily accurate. While Malecite appears to be the English spelling, the more commonly used spellings are Maliseet and Malisit (which is the Mi’Kmaq term). Also under consideration (or at least for inclusion as “see” references in the authority) was their own name for themselves, Wolastoqiyik, as well as the two other names, St. John’s Indians (term used in old literature) and Etchemin (French name).

So, I began to do some digging.

Not only did I visit every Malecite First Nation website that I could find, I read up on the history of these People (including Canadian government and museum resources/documents). However, one of the most interesting websites that I ran across was Daniel Paul’s website. Daniel Paul has focused an incredible amount of his career on the history and terminology of the First Nations of Canada, and more specifically, the Maritimes. What an amazing resource! The information on his website, in addition to all of the firsthand accounts and information from the Malecite First Nation sites that I had discovered assisted me in making, what I hope, is an informed decision in the proper usage name (terminology/spelling) for the Malecite.

In the end, I decided that Maliseet is actually the most commonly used and accepted spelling. While it is arguable that I should adopt Wolastoqiyik as the proper authority or leave the LC authority as is, I had to consider access to the general public (in Canada), and not just our First Nations communities. And, from what I found in my research, Maliseet rather than Wolastoqiyik is used more frequently among all groups of communities/peoples (First Nations included).

This is now our authority for Maliseet First Nation. It is not complete, as you notice if you compare LC’s authority, with our newly created authority. We have to add additional 450s and 550s, but at least it now reflects what, in Canada, is perhaps a better term for this First Nation.
Authority screen shots comparison


Filed under Access Issues, Authority Work

Aboriginal Peoples in Canada – LAC’s Canadian Subject Headings Announcement

August 2009 – Announcement from Library and Archives Canada (LAC)

Library and Archives Canada (LAC) initiated a review in 2007 of the terminology used in Canadian Subject Headings (CSH) to identify Aboriginal peoples in Canada. A LAC proposal to change these headings was posted on several discussion lists for comment. To recap, the proposal was to change the existing headings “Indians of North America” to “First Nations”, “Native peoples” to “Aboriginal peoples” and headings for individual peoples such as “Sarcee Indians” to simply “Sarcee”.

The feedback we have received since then from some 35 institutions or individuals indicates a recognition of the inadequacies and outdatedness of many of the existing headings. However, some users of CSH expressed concern about systems difficulties for them when Library of Congress Subject Headings (LCSH) and CSH terms differ for the same concepts, as they would if LAC were to go ahead with the proposed changes. There was also some concern raised about the choice of the proposed new headings, and a lack of consensus on better terminology.

LAC has studied the feedback to the proposal thoroughly, and also consulted with the editors of LCSH and RVM as to future directions in those lists, considering that terminology differs in Canada and the United States. Based on these factors, LAC has decided not to go ahead for now with the changes as proposed. We will instead make a start by considering changing headings for specific Aboriginal peoples on a case by case basis, to see what we can do to improve access. We would be pleased to hear specific suggestions for terminology changes in line with this direction.

Since the overall problems with subject headings for Aboriginal peoples remain, LAC is not closing the file on this question. However, we believe the modest approach outlined above will serve to make a start at improving access in the short run.

This anouncement, released by David Farris of LAC, made the rounds on the listservs early last week. If you belong to AUTOCAT, in particular, there was quite a bit of discussion on this post.

I was disappointed with LAC’s statement, hoping that all of Canada would have the national library to look to for direction. But I’m hopeful for the future. In the meantime, our own library has taken this project on and, to our way of thinking, improved access to our First Nation/Aboriginal Peoples collections. This is the content from my post on AUTOCAT with respect to LAC’s announcement:

Several years ago, we changed our SH’s to reflect the needs of our local community, and, in general, the Canadian public. When we proposed our changes, I sent the information to LAC and while they were very interested, they weren’t ready at that time to take any steps. I believe going ahead with these changes may have labeled us “Radical Cataloguers” but we had to decide whether it was better to continue using inaccurate terms created by the US, or Canadian terms that more appropriately represent our unique culture and Peoples.

As with any heading, I think labeling is tricky as self-identifying terms change over time. However, we felt that if our national library was not in a position to make the change, we are. We’re the first library in Canada to do this. Crazy? Maybe, but better to take a step in the right direction, make mistakes and learn from them. At least our communities see that we are trying and are very appreciative.

If you want to take a look at the terms we have now implemented and are using (and my thoughts on the topic),check out these posts:
Native Peoples v. Indigenous Peoples v. Aboriginals…are any of the terms really any good?

Indigenous Peopls v. Native Peoples Cataloguing Guidelines
**As a follow-up to this article, we have now implemented the use of First Nations in our catalogue

Indigenous and Aboriginal Peoples Resources

And, if you want to see the use of these terms in action, you can search Halifax Public Libraries’ catalogue.


Filed under Access Issues, Subject Headings

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

HPL’s Indigenous Peoples v. Native Peoples Cataloguing Guidelines

I’ve had several responses regarding my post Native Peoples v. Indigenous Peoples, etc. As such, I decided to post the cataloguing “cheat sheet” that we developed at HPL to help with cataloguing these items. It may not be perfect, but I feel we are moving in the right direction. I look forward to any feedback you may have. It’s a tricky cataloguing issue, and one that I think has been neglected by many libraries.

If you have any questions regarding how we came to the conclusions and usages below, please feel free to post a comment or contact me via email.


Indians of North America v. Aboriginal Peoples
Use and Terminology for Cataloguing Purposes
Laurel Tarulli – Halifax Public Libraries
July, 2007

Aboriginal Peoples
Use for works that are collectively discussing the three groups known as Inuit, Metis and Indians. This subject heading is only applied when collectively discussing the three groups of Canada.

Indigenous Peoples
Use for works collectively discussing Aboriginal peoples from outside North America or when collectively discussing Aboriginals of Canada, Indians from all of the Americas, and/or collectively discussing Aboriginals from other countries in a global context. Basically, general works that discuss Aboriginal Peoples from around the world will receive this subject heading.

4 or More Rule – if the work discusses four or more Aboriginal or First Peoples in an international context, add the subject heading “Indigenous Peoples”.

3 or Less Rule – if the work discusses three or less Aboriginal or First Peoples in an international context, add the individual groups only.

Example: A book on the Inuit in Canada, Aborigines in Australia and Maori in New Zealand would be given the subject headings:
Aboriginal Australians
Maori (New Zealand People).
It would not be given the subject heading “Indigenous Peoples”

Indians of North America
As a stand alone subject heading, it implies Indians from the United States

4 or More Rule – If four or more tribes are included in the work, use “Indians of North America – [Geographic Subdivision]. Do not add tribe names.
Example: Collective works on the Stoney, Blackfoot, Blood, Kainai and Siksika Nations should receive the SH “Indians of North America – Alberta”

3 or Less Rule – If three or less tribes are discussed in a work, use the names of tribes only. Do not add the subject heading “Indians of North America – [Georgephic Subdivsion]”.

For collective works about Indian tribes from both the US and Canada – use:
Indians of North America – Canada
Indians of North America

If it is a general work on Indians from all over the Americas, see the rule under the subject heading “Indigenous Peoples”

EXCEPTION: Tribes names are only subdivided geographically when discussing modern issues about a tribe in a specific geographic place. For example, a book specifically on the economic conditions of Micmac Indians in Nova Scotia only would use:
Micmac – Economic Conditions – Nova Scotia

If it was about the economic conditions of Micmac Indians in the Maritimes, it would use:
Micmac – Economic Conditions

This is because the Micmac are only found in the Maritimes

CHILDREN’S BOOKS are the exception to these rules. Always add the BT Indians of North America to children’s works. Apply geographic subdivisions when applicable. If possible, also add narrower term (ie. Tribe name).

MUSIC – Use Broader Term with broad geographic subdivisions
Examples: Inuit – Canada – Music
Indians of North America – Canada – Music
Indians of North America – Music (implies United States)

MUSIC – When adding a specific tribe name, add it to the record in addition to the broad term.
Example: [Tribe Name] – Music
Indians of North America – Canada – Music and/or
East Coast Music

DO NOT USE this subject heading.
For the purpose of describing works about Indians, see the subject headings listed above or use one of the following:
Indians of North America
Indians of South America
Indians of Mexico
Indians of Central America
Indians of the West Indies

Examples of this change in our catalogue:
BEFORE: Indian, youth — Canada
AFTER: Indians of North America – Youth – Canada

If the work is discussing Indians outside of the Western Hemisphere or Indians internationally, use “Indigenous Peoples”.

Native Peoples
DO NOT USE this subject heading.

Once the subject headings discussed in the previous pages are being used correctly and bib records with “Native Peoples” and “Indians” as subject headings have been assigned access points in accordance with the new rules set out above, we will begin the next phase of our project.

Implementation of New Subject Headings:

First Nations
This subject heading should be used when describing groups of “Indians” or “Indian bands” in Canada. It should eventually replace our use of the subject heading “Indians of North America” when describing Indians in Canada.

The SH First Nations should be given to any work that deals with those people recognized as Aboriginal Peoples but who are not Inuit or Metis (ie. Only add “First Nations” if the work is about Indians). The term “First Nations” is only applicable to Indians in Canada.

Once implemented, the SH First Nations should be applied using the same rules as Indians of North America. Try to use the tribe name. If the work is about an area, use First Nations—[Geographic Subdivision]. If the work is discussing Indians of Canada, use “First Nations” with no subdivision. In all cases, Children’s materials should use the BT First Nations.

We will continue to use Indians of North America with regard to works about Indians in the United States.

Mi’kmaw or Mi’kmaq
We are waiting for a decision on the proper spelling of this name. We will then replace all records with the subject heading Micmac to the appropriate term.


Filed under Authority Work, Subject Headings