Decolonizing the Library: Resources


During the course of their work and self education, members of the Decolonizing the Library Working Group came across a number of great books, articles, videos, and podcasts. The titles and links recommended here are just a starting point for folks interested in this work.

Looking for a quick place to start? See this reading list from Indigenize Your Reading List, a micro-learning event presented by Ashley Edwards (Indigenous Curriculum Resource Centre term Librarian) in May 2020, hosted by the Maskwacis Cultural College.

For more, search our Catalogue by author, title, or keyword.


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Empire of wild, Cherie Dimaline (Métis) 
"... a propulsive, stunning and sensuous novel inspired by the traditional Métis story of the Rogarou--a werewolf-like creature that haunts the roads and woods of Métis communities." 

Son of a trickster, Eden Robinson (Haisla and Heiltsuk)
"Everyone knows a guy like Jared: the burnout kid in high school who sells weed cookies and has a scary mom who's often wasted and wielding some kind of weapon."

The back of the turtle, Thomas King (Cherokee)
"The reserve is deserted after an environmental disaster killed the population, including Gabriel's family and the local wildlife. Gabriel, a brilliant scientist working for DowSanto, created GreenSweep and indirectly led to the crisis."

Take us to your chief, Drew Hayden Taylor (Ojibway)
"Drawing inspiration from science fiction legends like Arthur C. Clarke, Isaac Asimov and Ray Bradbury, Drew Hayden Taylor frames classic science-fiction tropes in an Aboriginal perspective."

Split tooth, Tanya Tagaq (Inuk)
"Veering back and forth between the grittiest features of a small arctic town, the electrifying proximity of the world of animals, and ravishing world of myth, Tanya Tagaq explores a world where the distinctions between good and evil, animal and human, victim and transgressor, real and imagined lose their meaning, but the guiding power of love remains."

Jonny Appleseed, Joshua Whitehead (Oji-Cree)
"Off the reserve and trying to find ways to live and love in the big city, Jonny Appleseed, a young Two-Spirit/Indigiqueer, becomes a cybersex worker who fetishizes himself in order to make a living."

The break, Katherena Vermette (Métis) 
"Stella, a young Métis mother, lives with her family by the Break, an isolated strip of land on the edge of their small Canadian town. Glancing out of her window one winter's evening Stella spots someone in trouble; horrified, she calls the police. But when they arrive, no one is there, scuff marks in the compacted snow the only sign anything may have happened."

Tilly : a story of hope and resilience, Monique Gray Smith (Cree and Lakota)
"Tilly has always known she’s part Lakota on her dad’s side. She’s grown up with the traditional teachings of her grandma, relishing the life lessons of her beloved mentor. But it isn’t until an angry man shouts something on the street that Tilly realizes her mom is Aboriginal, too—a Cree woman taken from her own parents as a baby."

Those who dwell below, Aviaq Johnston (Inuk)
"A coming-of-age story that follows a young shaman named Pitu as he learns to use his powers and ultimately finds himself lost in the world of the spirits."

Celia's song, Lee Maracle (Stó:lō)
"Mink is a witness, a shape shifter, compelled to follow the story that has ensnared Celia and her village, on the West coast of Vancouver Island in Nuu’chalnulth territory. Celia is a seer who - despite being convinced she's a little "off" - must heal her village with the assistance of her sister, her mother and father, and her nephews."


Mitewacimowina : indigenous science fiction and speculative storytelling 

The exile book of Native Canadian fiction and drama

Love beyond body, space, and time : an Indigenous LGBT sci-fi anthology

This place; 150 years retold


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NDN coping mechanisms : notes from the field, Billy-Ray Belcourt (Cree)

Rising with a distant dawn, David Groulx (Ojibwe)

How to dress a fish, Abigail Chabitnoy (Aleut)

Indianland, Lesley Belleau (Anishinaabe)

Nature poem, Tommy Pico (Kumeyaay)

The pemmican eaters : poems, Marilyn Dumont (Cree/Métis)

Peace in duress, Janet Rogers (Mohawk/Tuscarora)



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on information privilege, by char booth (2014)
A blog post by librarian Char Booth, explaining the complexities of information privilege, paywalls, and libraries.

DeLesslin. 12 Dec 2017. 
Twitter thread discussing the practice of providing misinformation to researchers of Indigenous communities.

A brief definition of decolonization and indigenization, by Indigenous Corporate Training (2017, March 29) 

Indigenous Foundations; Developed by the First Nations Studies Program at UBC
Provides an introduction on topics such as politics, history, culture, Residential Schools, 60's Scoop, and key court cases.

National centre for truth and reconciliation. University of Manitoba. 
Archive for records collected and created by the Truth and Reconciliation Commission.

Residential schools: the devastating impact on Canada’s Indigenous Peoples and the Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s findings and calls for action by M. Florence.

Kuei, my friend: A conversation on race and reconciliation, N.K. Fontaine (Innu) & D.E. Bechard.
Letters between Innu poet Natasha Fontaine and novelist Deni Bechard sharing stories and insights on reconciliation, language, and culture.

Why Indigenous literature matters by Daniel Heath Justice (Cherokee).
Examines Indigenous literature, discussing themes, the value of storytelling, and the various forms literature takes.  

21 things you may not know about the Indian Act: Helping Canadians make reconciliation with Indigenous peoples a reality by Bob Joseph (Kwakwaka'wakw).
Uses plain language to explain 21 aspects of the Indian Act. 

The inconvenient Indian: A curious account of Native people in North America by Thomas King (Cherokee). 
"Rich with dark and light, pain and magic, The Inconvenient Indian distills the insights gleaned from Thomas King's critical and personal meditation on what it means to be "Indian" in North America, weaving the curiously circular tale of the relationship between non-Natives and Natives in the centuries since the two first encountered each other." from Penguin Random House 

Unsettling Canada: A national wake-up call by Arthur Manual (Secwepemc) & Grand Chief Ron M. Derrickson (Syilx).
"Together the Secwepemc activist intellectual and the Syilx (Okanagan) businessman bring a fresh perspective and new ideas to Canada’s most glaring piece of unfinished business: the place of Indigenous peoples within the country’s political and economic space." from Between the Lines

 In this together: fifteen stories of truth & reconciliation edited by Danielle Metcalfe-Chenail.
"The indigenous authors collected here use personal stories to show how colonization forced their people into assimilation. The resulting loss of identity is a pervasive theme in the book, but so is the power inherent in the act of reclamation." from Quill & Quire. 

Dancing on our turtle’s back: Stories of Nishnaabeg re-creation, resurgence and a new emergence by Leanne Betasamosake Simpson (Michi Saagiig Nishnaabeg).
"Simpson explores philosophies and pathways of regeneration, resurgence, and a new emergence through the Nishnaabeg language, Creation Stories, walks with Elders and children, celebrations and protests, and meditations on these experiences." from ARP Books.

Honouring the truth, reconciling for the future: Summary of the final report of the truth and reconciliation commission of Canada Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada.  

Indigenous writes: A guide to First Nations, Metis & Inuit issues in Canada. by Chelsea Vowel (Metis).
"In 31 essays, Chelsea explores the Indigenous experience from the time of contact to the present, through five categories – Terminology of Relationships; Culture and Identity; Myth-Busting; State Violence; and Land, Learning, Law, and Treaties." from Portage and Main Press.


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Decolonizing education: Nourishing the learning spirit by Dr. Marie Battiste (Mi'kmaw).
"Drawing on treaties, international law, the work of other Indigenous scholars, and especially personal experiences, Marie Battiste documents the nature of Eurocentric models of education, and their devastating impacts on Indigenous knowledge." from UBC Press.

Teaching each other: Nehinuw concepts & Indigenous pedagogies by L.M. Goulet & K.N. Goulet (Metis-Cree).
"Linda Goulet and Keith Goulet provide an alternative framework for teachers working with Indigenous students – one that moves beyond acknowledging Indigenous culture to one that actually strengthens Indigenous identity." from UBC Press.

Decolonizing methodologies: Research and Indigenous peoples by Linda Tuhiwai Smith (Maori). 
"To the colonized, the term 'research' is conflated with European colonialism; the ways in which academic research has been implicated in the throes of imperialism remains a painful memory. This essential volume explores intersections of imperialism and research - specifically, the ways in which imperialism is embedded in disciplines of knowledge and tradition as 'regimes of truth.'" from University Chicago Press.

Research is ceremony: Indigenous research methods by Shawn Wilson (Opaskwayak Cree).
"Relationships don’t just shape Indigenous reality, they are our reality. Indigenous researchers develop relationships with ideas in order to achieve enlightenment in the ceremony that is Indigenous research. Indigenous research is the ceremony of maintaining accountability to these relationships." from Fernwood Publishing

Resources for library workers

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Disrupting whiteness in librarians and librarianship: A reading list
From the University of Wisconsin-Madison Libraries, "this bibliography contains citations and links (when available) to resources focused on race, racism, and disrupting whiteness and white supremacy in libraries. Particular emphasis is placed on the field of library and information science and librarianship as a profession." 


Challenging colonial spaces: Reconciliation and decolonizing work in Canadian archives by Krista McCracken 

Archives as good medicine: Rediscovering our ancestors and understanding the root causes of intergenerational trauma [poster] by Jesse Thistle (Metis).


Rez dogs and Open Access by Jessie Loyer (Cree-Metis).
Keynote for Can we Decolonize Open? An Open Access Week Event at KPU Richmond, held on October 22, 2019. 

Traditional knowledge (TK) labels 
Similar to Creative Commons, TK Labels "are a tool for Indigenous communities to add existing local protocols for access and use to recorded cultural heritage that is digitally circulating outside community contexts."


A library matter of genocide: The Library of Congress and the historiography of the Native American holocaust by Michael Dudley 

The language of cataloguing: Deconstructing and decolonizing systems of organization in libraries by Crystal Vaughan 

A case study in Indigenous classification: Revisiting and reviving the Brian Deer Scheme by Alissa Cherry and Keshav Mukunda

Implementing the Brian Deer Classification Scheme for Aanischaaukamikw Cree Cultural Institute by Annie Bosum and Ashley Dunne

Adapting the Brian Deer Classification System for Aanischaaukamikw Cree Cultural Institute by Raegan Swanson

Indigenous library workers and LIS education

Reflections on resistance, decolonization, and the historical trauma of libraries and academia by Nicola Andrews (Maori). 

Negotiating indigeneity: Fostering indigenous knowledge within LIS curricula by Nicola Andrews (Maori) & Jessica Humphries (Metis and Kalinago).

Indigenous Librarianship in Encyclopedia of Library and Information Sciences 

Truth and reconciliation report and recommendations Canadian Federation of Library Associations / Federation Canadienne des Associations de Bibliotheques 

Aboriginal and visible minority librarians: Oral histories from Canada edited by Deborah Lee (nēhiyaw (Plains Cree), Métis, and Kanienkehaka (Mohawk)) & Mahaalakshmi Kumaran   

Tribal Libraries, Archives, and Museums: Preserving Our Language, Memory, and Lifeways edited by Loriene Roy (Anishinabe) & Anjali Bhasin

Ownership and access

Indigenous Notions of Ownership and Libraries, Archives, and Museums edited by Camille Callison (Tahltan), Loreine Roy (Anishinabe), and Gretchen Alice LeCheminant 

Vision and metaphors for First Nations information management by Kim Lawson (Heiltsuk)


Indigenous Information Literacy: nêhiyaw Kinship Enabling Self-Care in Research by Jessie Loyer (Cree-Metis)

Library services to indigenous populations: Case studies. edited by Loriene Roy (Anishinabe) & Antonia Frydman

Aboriginal students in Canada: A case study of their academic information needs and library use by Deborah Lee (nēhiyaw (Plains Cree), Métis, and Kanienkehaka (Mohawk)).

Toward a more just library: Participatory design with Native American students by Scott W.H. Young & Celine Brownotter (Hunkpapa Lakota/Diné)

Special Collections



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Indigenous literatures, orality, and writing practices

Survivance, sovereignty, and story: teaching American Indian rhetorics by J.R. Anderson, R. Gubele, and L. King. 

“I give you back”: Indigenous women writing to survive.  by E. Archuleta

“Orality in literacy”: listening to indigenous writing by P. Dickinson 

Lips’ inking: Cree and Cree-Métis authors’ writings of the oral and what they might tell educators by S. Gingell 

Plateau Indian ways with words: the rhetorical tradition of the tribes of the inland Pacific Northwest by B. Monroe 

When our words return: writing, hearing, and remembering oral traditions of Alaska and the Yukon by P. Morrow & W. Schneider 

From conversation to oral composition: Supporting Indigenous students’ language for literacy by J. Scull & P. Bremner 

Beyond assimilation: Tribal colleges, basic writing, and the exigencies of settler colonialism by C. Toth

Resources for writing by and about Indigenous Peoples

Exchanges Between two rivers: Possibilities for teaching writing in the Northwest Territories by C.J. Catlin

Writing removal and resistance: Native American rhetoric in the composition classroom by D. Cole

Entangled subjects: Indigenous/Australian cross-cultures of talk, text, and modernity by M. Grossman 

Tone it down a bit!: Euphemism as a colonial device in Australian Indigenous studies by C. McGloin 

“I guess I do know a good story”: Re-envisioning writing process with Native American students and communities by C.R. Stanton & K. Sutton 

A principled uncertainty: Writing studies methods in contexts of Indigeneity by K. Thieme & S. Makmillen 

Elements of Indigenous style: a guide for writing by and about Indigenous peoples by Gregory Younging (Opaskwayak Cree)

Videos & podcasts

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Decolonize or indigenize?: Transitionising for the information profession [YouTube video] by Spencer Lilley (Maori)

Sorting Libraries Out symposium March 2019 @ SFU Vancouver 

WILU 2017 keynotes: Opening: Niigaanwewidam James Sinclair | Closing: Jessie Loyer @ University of Alberta

Indigenous literatures, social justice, and the decolonial library [YouTube video] ACRL/Choice webinars

Episode 4 - Indigenous librarianship No Librarians Allowed podcast with Tanya Ball (Métis)

Book women podcast
"This podcast is by and for Indigenous peoples who have an interest in editing, publishing, and writing Indigenous stories."

Decolonizing practices with Ta7talíya Michelle Nahanee Below the Radar podcast

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