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From Mazinbiige, Indigenous graphic novel collection. // Photo by Katie Chalmers-Brooks

From Mazinbiige, Indigenous graphic novel collection. // Photo: Katie Chalmers-Brooks

Sharing and celebrating Indigenous knowledge, memory and culture

August 4, 2015 — 

From August 4-7 Indigenous Knowledge keepers will come to the University of Manitoba to participate in the ninth International Indigenous Librarians Forum. Held every two years, this forum provides, as said in the first-ever forum held in New Zealand in 1999, a “focused exploration of the significant issues facing libraries and institutions that care for Indigenous and cultural information.”

Camille Callison, the Indigenous Service Liaison in the Elizabeth Dafoe Library at the U of M, is the year’s convenor and forum chair. She writes in her welcoming statement: “We, as unified Indigenous peoples who work with libraries and information, will ensure the appropriate care, development and management of the Indigenous knowledge of generations past, present and future.”

UM Today wanted to know more about this event, her role in Libraries, and about its Indigenous collections.

UM Today: What is your role with Libraries?

Camille Callison: As Indigenous Services Librarian, my position includes identifying and coordinating the delivery of library service to the Indigenous student patrons, promoting Indigenous scholarship through collection development and developing new programming aimed to aid in Aboriginal student retention.

How did you become interested in this role?

I saw a posting to be the first ever Indigenous Services Librarian at UM and knew it was the job for me

When did you start?

January 2012

What’s the most common request you receive? 

How do I find information about ____?

In your role, what can you do  or offer that not many people know about?

I think some faculty are not aware that the Liaison Librarian role can teach Library Orientation and do classroom instructions to their students at every level which will lessen the work load of faculty and improve student success a great deal.

What is the most interesting piece you’ve come across in the U of M Libraries?

That is a very difficult question as we have a fascinating collection, but I think I would have to say some of the Indigenous language materials located in Rare Books.

How many items are in the Indigenous collections?

From Mazinbiige, Indigenous graphic novel collection. // Photo by Katie Chalmers-Brooks

From Mazinbiige, Indigenous graphic novel collection. // Photo by Katie Chalmers-Brooks

The majority of the resources on Indigenous people are interspersed through the collection so it would be very difficult to estimate the number of items although the University of Manitoba Libraries has spent many years developing an extensive collection of Indigenous materials. There are no specific collections besides the Mazinbiige Indigenous Graphic Novel Collection at Elizabeth Dafoe Library and the Aboriginal Health Collection at Neil John Mclean Health Sciences Library.

What are you looking forward to most about the conference?

The Mauri Stone and the delegates arriving.

What do you hope to accomplish at the conference this year?

I am hoping that we keep the Vision and Purpose of International Indigenous Librarians’ Forum (IILF) alive and honour the theme Anikoo Gaagige Ganawendaasowin that the Elders have given us for the 9th IILF.

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