Skip to main content

Indigenous-specific collections development; Indigenous librarianship



Indigenous knowledge and library practices require cultural sensitivity and respectful, authentic collaboration to build, manage, and preserve collections that honor heritage. This program will discuss  best practices, ethical considerations, and the complexities of Indigenous librarianship. The goal is to impart the knowledge and skills necessary to ensure the appropriate representation and protection of Indigenous voices, perspectives, and traditional knowledge in library collections. Learn how to understand intellectual property rights and community-based practices, and how a culturally sensitive approach fosters respect, inclusivity and productive collaboration.

Confirmed speakers include Michelle Chouteau (Cheyenne / Arapaho), Collections Manager & Registrar, First Americans Museum, Melissa Stoner (Diné)Native American Studies Librarian, UC Berkeley and Allison Waukau (Menominee/Navajo), President, American Indian Library Association and Tribal Liaison & Native Relations Coordinator, Metropolitan Council of the Twin Cities. The Education Program Committee lead and moderator for this program is Katherine Witzig (Choctaw), Library Administrative Assistant, Oklahoma City University.  Katherine is also a NISO Plus 2024 Scholarship Awardee.

Event Sessions


Melissa Stoner

Native American Studies Librarian
University of California - Berkeley

Katherine Witzig

Chair, Okahoma Library Association Committee of Tribal Libraries
and MILS, University of Ilinois Urgana-Champaign

Allison Waukau

President, American Indian Library Association
Community Engagement, Hennepin County Library

This event was moderated by Katherine Witzig, (Choctaw), Library Administrative Assistant, Oklahoma City University, and NISO Plus 2024 Scholarship Winner.

In anticipation of this event, the following questions were posed to the panel as a basis for discussion…

What does the term “Indigenous librarianship” signify for you?

What is the value of this category of librarianship in the current information landscape?

What issues concerning access have you come across in your professional journey? (e.g. minimal representation in collections, indiscriminate access to culturally sensitive information and objects, etc.)

How did you, as an Indigenous collection user and/or as an Indigenous information professional, address the issue?

What recommendations do you have now for addressing these issues?

Why is it so important to have Indigenous worldviews involved in cataloging and describing items?

How do you envision Indigenous perspectives altering current information standards?

How can institutions better steward their Native collections with minimal or no Native staff?

Related Information and Shared Resources:

American Indian Library Association: An affiliate of the American Library Association (ALA), the American Indian Library Association is a membership action group that addresses the library-related needs of American Indians and Alaska Natives

Hennepin County Library, American Indian Staff booklist

Indigenous Reads Rising: a celebration of Indigenous children’s literature of Native Nations, centering those within the United States and Canada.

IllumiNative: an unapologetically ambitious and innovative Native women-led organization, grounded in core Native values and community, and guided by research. Our mission is to build power for Native peoples by amplifying contemporary Native voices, stories, and issues to advance justice, equity, and self-determination. We utilize research, narrative and culture change strategies, movement-building, and organizing to disrupt the invisibility of Native peoples, re-educate Americans, and mobilize public support for key Native issues.

C4DISC, Toolkits for Equity: While a growing awareness of racial disparities has resulted in a groundswell of support for inclusivity in scholarly publishing, the resulting initiatives would be more effective if our professional associations were able to provide training materials to help transform our workplaces and organizational cultures.


Publications to Support Teaching of Native Content: The Understand Native Minnesota campaign released two new, groundbreaking publications in January 2024 to support the teaching of Native American content in Minnesota schools. Both publications stem from recommendations in the campaign’s 2022 Restoring Our Place report, which assessed teaching resources on Native American subject matter used in Minnesota classrooms and recommended improvements.

American Indians in Children's Literature (AICL): Established in 2006 by Dr. Debbie Reese of Nambé Pueblo, American Indians in Children's Literature (AICL) provides critical analysis of Indigenous peoples in children's and young adult books. Dr. Jean Mendoza joined AICL as a co-editor in 2016.

From Indiana University, [United States, Montana, Northern Cheyenne Indians, 1897-1898] [sound recording] / collected by George Bird Grinnell.

Metadata Related to Indigenous Peoples of the Americas survey: The Program for Cooperative Cataloging (PCC) has recently formed the Task Group for Metadata Related to Indigenous Peoples of the Americas which has been charged with identifying and evaluating vocabularies to describe Indigenous groups as alternatives to Library of Congress Subject Headings (LCSH) and promote their use. The group seeks to collaborate with groups working with library metadata related to Indigenous Peoples and to advise LC in its revision of Indigenous terminology.

Saginaw Chippewa Tribal Libraries

Association of Tribal Archives, Libraries, and Museums: ATALM is an international non-profit organization that maintains a network of support for Indigenous programs, provides culturally relevant programming and services, encourages collaboration among tribal and non-tribal cultural institutions, and articulates contemporary issues related to developing and sustaining the cultural sovereignty of Native Nations.

Native Land Digital: Native Land Digital strives to create and foster conversations about the history of colonialism, Indigenous ways of knowing, and settler-Indigenous relations, through educational resources such as our map and Territory Acknowledgement Guide.

Additional Information

NISO assumes organizations register as a group. The model assumes that an unlimited number of staff will be watching the live broadcast in a single location, but also includes access to an archived recording of the event for those who may have timing conflicts. 

Educational program contacts and registrants receive sign-on instructions via email three business days prior to the virtual event. If you have not received your instructions by the day before an event, please contact NISO headquarters for assistance via email ( 

Registrants for an event may cancel participation and receive a refund (less $30.00) if the notice of cancellation is received at NISO HQ ( one full week prior to the event date. If received less than 7 days before, no refund will be provided. 

Links to the archived recording of the broadcast are distributed to registrants 24-48 business hours following the close of the live event. Access to that recording is intended for internal use of fellow staff at the registrant’s organization or institution. Shared resources are posted to the NISO event page.