Thursday, December 29, 2005

Today we honor those who work to provide resources in Native languages.

We especially keep Salina Bookshelf in our minds and hearts. I learned today that Salina Bookshelf, publishers of material in Navajo and English language, lost three employees on 7 December unexpectedly in a car accident in northern Arizona. Thank you, megwitch, Salina Bookshelf, for your good work. We stand by you to support and honor your efforts. We're here to help.

Each year I receive a calendar from Mazinai'igan, the free newsletter from the Great Lakes Indian Fish & Wildlife Commission. This year's calendar features an image of ajijaak, crane, acknowledging the crane clan of the Anishininabeg (Ojibwe people). We soon will be leaving manidoo-giizisoons (December), the Little Spirit Moon.

The Winter 2005/2006 issue of Mazinai'igan mentions two new bi-lingual children's books available from the Bay Mills Indian Community (Ojibwe) in Michigan. I'll call the Bay Mills History and Archive Department (906-248-3241 ex. 4148 and 4149) to order my copies of these illustrated children's books.

Mazinai'igan is also a great resource for studying Anishinabemowin, the Anishinabe/Ojibwe language. This issue includes a map with geographic place names in the langage. Here you'll learn that the Misi ziibi (Mississippi River) is the "River spread out all over."

Thursday, December 22, 2005

The academic calendar presents annual events, starting with orientation for new students in August through commencement in May. This week officially marked the end of the semester with the electronic filing of grades. This meant grading pathfinders and tenure/promotion essays from students in the Social Science reference class and LSTA grant applications from students in the Public Libraries class. December also brings deadlines for IMLS grants; this year Dr. Lynn Westbrook and I co-wrote a proposal with the Austin Public Library and Corazon de Tejas Chapter of REFORMA as participating partners. PhD student Tony Cherian and I were also involved in preparing one of the white papers commissioned by IMLS funded "The Future of Librarians in the Workforce" study. My responsibilities to students continue as I start the process of writing reference letters for students seeking new positions, first professional positions, and scholarship applications. Amy Price joins me as my Teaching Assistant, adding to her duties as GRA for "If I Can Read, I Can Do Anything." She and I will soon begin the process of revising the online syllabi for both of my spring classes--Humanities Reference and Library Instruction and Information Literacy. This is the time to confirm deadlines for conference proposals and preparing applications for poster sessions and other juried events.

This is also the time for in-depth preparation for the ALISE annual conference and ALA/Midwinter. This year my ALA/MW preparation brings the unique responsibilities of preparing additional material for the ALA Presidential campaign. For example, it's somewhat a tradition that ALA Presidential candidates make the rounds of board meetings for ALA units. I've sent out requests to Divisions, Round Tables, and ethnic organizations affilitated with ALA whose meetings do not have hard conflicts with my usual ALA commitments. These events bring opportunities to hear unit concerns. For example, today I received a question about my perspectives on the proposed ALA dues increase.

First, let me think back on how I've voted in the past for dues increases. The agenda on my first day on Council at ALA/MW 1997 included a report on a new charge for exhibits-only passes. I voiced my opposition to requiring LIS students to pay for these passes, believing that a first good experience at an ALA conference leads to greater subsequent involvement in the profession. Now, nearly a decade later, Councilors will be discussing a dues increase that will affect all ALA members. provides information on this proposal, including a comparison of dues rates for sister-organizations. If approved by ALA Council, ALA membership will vote on the dues increase on the spring ballot.

Where do I stand? I'll vote for a dues increase but match my vote with a request that we look closely at the services that ALA is providing ALA members. ALA is asking more from its members. Is ALA providing its members with more services and with ample means to become involved? Look, for example, at ALA Round Tables. A dues increase means that individuals who service interests are tied most closely to those of the ALA Round Tables are paying more for that priviledge. I suggest that ALA honor this commitment by ensuring that Round Tables have equal opportunities to participate in the democratic process of serving on Council. As things now stand, each of the five Round Tables with the largest memberships can elect a Councilor to represent their interests to ALA Councilor. The other 12 Round Tables share a Councilor. It is unlikely that any one Councilor can represent the combined interests of Round Tables as varied as CLENERT, EMIERT, GLBTRT, IRRT, and LRRT. Furthermore, many Round Tables exceed the ALA memberships of ALA Chapters; Montana with its 147 ALA members has a strong Chapter Councilor, yet membership in each of the Round Table exceeds that of the ALA membership of the entire state of Montana. Students of American History recall the 18th rallying cry in the Colonies of No Taxation without Representation. Round Tables might echo this slogan with "No ALA Dues Increase without Representation."

Wednesday, December 14, 2005

Finding Your Passion: Ihi (passion) and the River City Youth Foundation

Dr. Greg Cajete wrote a landmark text on indigenous education titled "Look to the Mountain." He described an indigenous approach to achieving a fulfilled life, through understanding:
One's true face (character, potential identity)
One's true heart (soul, creative self, true passion)
One's foundation (true work, vocation).

I've attended several recent events that have revolved around the theme of passion--passion in expression, in celebration, and in finding fulfillment in the workplace.

The WIPCE conference in Aotearoa-New Zealand closed with a live performance event at the Waikato Stadium, an event called Ihi, the Maori word for passion. Billed as a celebration to "stimulate our pride and inspiration as indigenous people," the evening featured performers including Anika Moa, Whirimako Black (I have 3 of her CDs, including "Kura Huna" and "Honou Te Rongo/Cultivate Peace"), top reggae group (Katchafire), and Ash Puriri, billed as New Zealand's own Barry White.

Our School of Information's December Commencement event was held on Saturday, 10 December. Gretchen McCord Hoffmann, President of the Texas Library Association, gave the commencement address on the theme of "Live Your Passion." She spoke about finding your passion, sharing your passion, and keeping your passion ignited.

Today I spent several hours with the staff at the River City Youth Foundation, located in east Austin, it provides young people, ages 6 to 17, with a safe place to learn and grow. About 300 neighborhood youth attend computer lab sessons, participate in YTV (youth TV), and in other programs such as "I Can Be Me," a new program designed to reduce teen experimentation with drugs and the culture of violence. Over 500 attend RCYF events, such as the Greater Dover Springs March for Neighborhood Pride. One of my three doctoral students, Pedro Reynoso, will soon join the RCYF staff as a technology trainer. The location offers many opportunities for practicum, Capstone, and independent studies for iSchool students who might help organize data collection for ongoing program evaluation, grant writing, project management,Web site usability studies, and face-to-face training.
RCYF is a wonderful location where one can ignite the passion for professional service and see that spark continue in the lives of many young people.

Friday, December 09, 2005

Megwitch, thank you, Austin Community!

Members of the Student Circle running my ALA Presidential Campaign planned and coordinated a reception for me today at the Carver Branch of the Austin Public Library. Over 50 people attended, a wonderful turn-out given Austin's unusually cold temperature and the many conflicts associated with end-of-semester and holiday activities.

Chi megwitch, thank you very much, Cynthia Charles and staff at the Carver Branch. The attached image shows the mural on the south side of the library's building.

Chi megwitch, thank you very much, Beth Hallmark, iSchool student and my Campaign Manager. Beth sent the Evite to 100 invitees and drafted and sent the press release to local media.

Chi megwitch, thank you very much, Karla Cowes and her design/production company, Big Shot Productions. Karla created the campaign bumper stickers and balloons.

Chi megwitch, Frenezi, Afro-Caribbean band that includes three Austin Public Library
staff members. Find out more about the band at
Frenezi may be able to join us at our reception at ALA/Midwinter in San Antonio:
Saturday, 21 January, 8-10 p.m. in the Marriott Rivercenter. Gustavo Soto and I even sang a duet--John Lennon's "Imagine."

Chi megwitch to other members of the Student Circle--Angelica Delgado, Sandy
Littletree, Gustavo Soto, Elias Tzoc, Angela Kille, Amy Price--and to many alumns.

The reception provided a forum to announce my campaign platform issues:
workplace wellness;
extending the circle of literacy;
supporting LIS education through practice.

Reading and Viewing Circle

We celebrated the succesful reception by going to a movie, "Christmas in the
Clouds." This romantic comedy features Native actors,
including Wes Studi, Graham Greene, and Rita Coolidge.

Tuesday, December 06, 2005

"Whaiowhia te kete matauranga"
"Fill the basket with knowledge."

Tribal colleges in Aotearoa

Two Honoring Generations students and I recently attended the 7th World Indigenous Peoples Conference on Education (WIPCE)in Hamilton, on the North Island of Aotearoa ("land of the long white cloud")=New Zealand. WIPCE was sponsored by Te Wananga o Aotearoa (house of learning/the University of Aotearoa). One of three tribal colleges in Aotearoa, Te Wananga of Aotearoa celebrates its 25th anniversary in 2005. The purpose of this institution of higher learning describes the vision and aspirations of many indigenous peoples:

"to provide an education that best fits the aspirations of this generation, enhances the dreams of future generations, prepares for understanding the essence of past generations;

to equip our people with knowlege of their heritage, their language, their culture so they can handle the world at large with confidence and self-determination;

to empower one's potential for learning as a base for progress in the modern world;

to make contributions of consequence;

to care;

to make our world a better place."

This wananga provides preparation in fields such as early education, graphic design, and Web site development and also in sustainable business management, fiber-weaving, wood-carving, and nautical studies.

Where is librarian education in this circle of indigenous knowledge? Later I'll introduce another wananga, Te Wananga-o-Raukawa, home of the only Maori-based library degree program.

Reading Circle:

The wananga recently published a 63-page pamphlet, documenting its history since 1983:

Scribe Limited, Susan Cullen, and Wiki Henskes, Tihei Wananga 1983-2005: Our History. [Hamilton, Aotearoa=New Zealand:] Te Wananga o Aotearoa, [2005]. ISBN: 0-473-10360-5.

Sunday, December 04, 2005

Te Ropu Whakahau (TRW): Maori in Libraries & Information Management

In this blog entry I'll introduce the Maori national library association in Aoteaora-New Zealand. While only about ten years old, Te Ropu Whakahau is a model organization for advancing library services for an indigenous community.

TRW was first a SIG of LIANZA=Te Rau Herenga O Aotearoa (Library and Information Association of New Zealand-Aotearoa), ALA's equivalent in Aotearoa-New Zealand. In 1996, TRW incorporated as a separate organization with an executive council that meets six times a year. TRW members may also form regional associations. TRW has a formal agreement with LIANZA that seats two TRW members on the LIANZA council. (This would be the equivalent of ALA providing Council seats for members of affiliated ethnic library associations.) In turn, TRW provides LIANZA with services to help the national library association recognize and implement activities in agreement with the Treaty of Waitangi. TRW members conducted several early research studies (Te Ara Tika: Maori and Libraries; Te Ara Tika Guiding Voices: Maori Opinion on Libraries and Information Needs). Results of these studies led to the establishment of a Maori Subject Headings Steering Committee. A set of subject headings was officially launched at the annual LIANZA national conference in September 2005. TRW also is involved in Maori library education, participating in training/education provided through the Te Wananga o Raukawa, one of three tribal colleges in Aotearoa-New Zealand. TRW's third partnership is in providing a forum for international indigenous librarianship, launching the first of the international indigenous librarians forums in Auckland in 1999.

In addition to the Council meetings, TRW members organize an annual hui (gathering) and publish a quarterly newsletter. Additional information, includng TRW waiata (songs), is available on the TRW Web site.

TRW vision statement: "Waiho i e toipoto, kaua i te toiroa. Let us keep close not wide apart. To unite indigenous librarians with innovative, excellent leadership."

Reading Circle:

I recently read Kinky Friedman's "Kill Two Birds and Get Stoned." Friedman, mystery writer and former musician ("Kinky Friedman and the Texas Jewboys") is a 2006 Candidate for Texas governor. Unlike his other 16 novels, "Kill Two Birds" is best classified as a general fiction novel. A beatiful muse and her eccentric friend help Walter Snow break through a writer's block and make progress in writing The Great Armenian Novel. Kinky reminds us that "no one believes fiction even if it's the truth."

I also finished reading Keri Hulme's first collection of short stories, Te Kaihau; The Windeater, first published in 1986 and reprinted by Victoria University Press in 1996. Hulme received the 1985 Booker prize for her novel, the bone people. Stories feature contemporary Maori life. The afterward is a summary of the life of Maui, the Maori cultural hero.

Saturday, December 03, 2005

Tena koutou katoa! Welcome!

WIPCE 2005: World Indigenous Peoples Conference on Education
Hamilton, Aotearoa-New Zealand, 27 November - 1 December 2005
Theme: te toi roa (indigenous excellence)

Two of my graduate students in the Honoring Generations scholarship program and I recently attended WIPCE 2005 on the North Island of Aotearoa/New Zealand. Travel funds associated with the Honoring Generations grant funded our attendance. Having attended WIPCE 5 in 1999 in Hilo, Hawaii and WIPCE 6 in 2002 on the Stoney Reserve in Canada, I knew that this event would provide an opportunity for the students to participate at the international level and forge lifelong professional relationships. I'll devote the next few blog entries to covering selected topics presented at WIPCE, and introducing some members of our international community, as well as organizations such as the wananga (houses of learning or tribal colleges) and
Te Ropu Whakahau, the organization for Maori in Libraries and Information Management.

We participated in WIPCE in an academic sense by submitting a proposal, a full paper for the proceedings, and a formal presentation complete with PowerPoint slides. In addition, MSIS student Rob Yazzie and I conducted a 20-minute live telephone interview with radio personality/author/musician Stephanie Pohe for Radio Watea, Maori radio programming in the Auckland area. Rewarding as this participation is, the hallmarks of an indigenous gathering are the cultural and celebratory elements.

Following Maori protocols, WIPCE opened with a powhiri or welcoming ceremony, hosted on nearly Turangawaewae Marae, the meeting place along the Waikato river of the Maori queen, Te Arikinui, Dame Te Atairangikaahu. Those of you who have seen the movie, "Whale Rider," have some familarity with this ceremony, which involves karanga (ceremonial calls) to the arrival of manukiri (visitors and guests), whaikorero (oratory), and waiata (song). The powhiri at WIPCE was accompanied by the arrival of waka taua (war canoes) and haka (male dance team).

This opening--followed by haraki (lunch) and keynote addresses--established an arena of expectation and respect, ushering each participant into a sense of dedication to do his or best, commit to the future, and treat colleagues with respect. Isn't this what all professional meetings should aim to do?

Reading Circle

For more about Maori protocol see Hirini Moko Mead's 2003 title, "Tikanga Maori: Living by Maori Values," published by one of my favorite presses, Huia Publishers of Wellington. Who distributes these publications in the U.S.?