Thursday, November 17, 2005

Honoring Generations

Last night I wrote the semi-annual narrative report on Honoring Generations (HG), our IMLS funded scholarship program for Native students. Funded in the first round of Librarians for the Librarians for the Twenty-First Century Grants, HG provides financial support for six indigenous students to enter our program and complete their requirements for the MSIS degree. Four students are currently enrolled with one student awaiting final word on his admissions. We are communicating with a number of students, any one of whom may be our sixth HG student. We hope that our funding may be renewed since we continue to receive inquiries from prospective sudents around the country interested in entering our strong residence program.

Together, we have been able to develop a community of librarians who will be, in line with our program promise, the next generation of Native librarians. Rob Yazzie (Navajo/Slovenian) is leading the way as a cataloger and punk-rock musician. Sandy Littletree (Navajo/Shoshone), a certified teacher and our second Graduate Research Associate for HG, is our writer, organizer, and digital media artist. Elias Tzoc (Maya-K'Oiche fom Totonicapan, Guatemala) is our tri-lingual visionary who is poised to establish new centers of learning for Maya. Amy Ziegler (Yuchi Creek) is our academic archivist who will create inroads in providing access to and organizing historical collections.

We take our role as ambassadors to HG seriously. This involves communicating with community groups, participating in professional conferences, providing service on our own campus, and extending our message and learned lessons through print. Earlier this week, Elias Tzoc and I gave an invited talk to staff at the U.S. Treasury Department, Financial Management Service-Austin Financial Center. We provided information on our service-learning activities and on our Native cultures. Afterwards, staff gave us a guided tour of the facility, including a view of the machines that print and package all FEMA checks to support assistance programs for people affected by Hurricanes Katrina and Rita. Over the past year, HG sudents have
also presented at:
*the Popular Culture Association/American Culture Association Southwest/Texas regional meeting;
*the second national conference on tribal museums, libraries, and archives;
*the Fourth International Indigenous Librarians Forum;
*the Sequoyah Research Center Symposium.

HG students are preparing for several upcoming speaking engagements and organizing their own half-day conference here in Austin in March 2006. "Native Expressions" will be a public meeting featuring Native writers and digital media specialists. The HG students plan to attend ALA/Midwinter in San Antonio. There, they'll also meet Mike Martinez, Native iSchool graduate who completed his degree from UT-Austin under a Department of Education grant in the 1990s. He now directs an academic library in Georgia. The spring issue of "Public Libraries" will feature an article that PhD student Tony Cherian and I wrote on HG, highlighting our recruitment activities.

Reading (viewing and listening) Circle:

My favorite 15 year old recommends his favorite manga series, Bleach. The series features a young man named Ichigo, a soul reaper who conducts good souls to the soul society. Along the way, he and his friends fight hollows, evil ghosts/monsters. Bleach is funny and has good action. Books on Tape now distributes the Living Language study series. I picked up "Ultimate Japanese, Beginner-Intermediate" at the Hawaii Library Association annual conference last week. Many manga and anime fans are interested in Japanese language study and this set is a nice way to start a self-study program. Living Language now has a series for babies and toddlers called Baby's First Steps. Recordings are available in French, Italian, and Spanish.

I watched a documentary last evening, "Children of Brothels." A photographer from New York, Zana Briski, provides children of prostitutes in Calcutta with disposable cameras and lessons in photography. They take pride in their outstanding work, changing their lives and ours.