Power structures embedded in the metadata of library catalogs often reflect the same power structures embedded in western society, including white supremacy and racism. This problem is especially prominent in tribal college libraries, where students from tribal nations must routinely situate their information needs within the context of these oppressive ontologies. This compromising of Indigenous ways of knowing contradicts the mission of tribal colleges and undermines tribal sovereignty. Decolonization of the catalog—rebuilding vocabularies to honor Indigenous knowledge and culture—is critical. Learn how tribal college librarians confront this barrier and get ideas for connecting local metadata with user needs.
Hannah Buckland, Director of Library Services, Leech Lake Tribal College
Hannah Buckland is the Director of Library Services at Leech Lake Tribal College in northern Minnesota. In this role, she manages all aspects of a small joint-use academic/community library. She also serves as a member of the Minnesota Governor’s Task Force on Broadband, is a participant in YALSA’s Future Ready with the Library project, and represents MN’s tribal libraries on the Northern Lights Library Network Governing Board.