International Indigenous Librarians' Forum 1999 - 2009
compiled by Wendy Sinclair-Sparvier and Hinureina Mangan, November 2008
Background & Outcomes from Past Fora
The International Indigenous
Librarians' Forum (IILF) was formed to address ways to foster and
preserve language, traditions, culture and the values of indigenous
peoples from all over the world. The Forum creates an opportunity to
network and exchange ideas of best practices within libraries, museums,
archives and educational institutions. The results will be the
improvement of indigenous information, collection management and
services to indigenous clients. The Forum provides a global network for
sharing information and ideas.
The Mauri Stone
The mauri stone, created
especially for IILF, was carved by Bernard Makoare and formally blessed
by the Taranaki elder, the late Te Ru Koriri Wharehoka. The stone is
imbued with the mauri, or life principle, of the Forum and holds the
essence of discussions. It will continue to spiritually bind indigenous
peoples who attend each Forum. As such the mauri stone carries
indigenous aspirations for a positive future. The mauri stone is
presented to the hosting nation to hold in safekeeping, giving
continuity to the aims and aspirations of the Forum.
Hosting Nations, Forum Themes, Outcomes
- 1999 Aotearoa, New Zealand
Affirming the Knowledge & Values of Indigenous Peoples in the Age of Information
Created the vision:
"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" (Te Rōpū Whakahau, 2001, p. 94).
- 2001 Sweden
Continuing to Affirm the Knowledge & Values of Indigenous Peoples in the Age of Information
(International Indigenous Librarians' Forum 2001, 2002, p. 15)
- The indigenous librarians of this forum recognise the
importance of language in relation to cultural identity and will
inspire progress within our professions, whilst advocating for
self-determination and control of indigenous knowledge.
- This forum proposes that international guidelines and protocols be
developed to guide libraries, archives and other information providers
to assure that culturally responsive practices for indigenous people
are implemented in their environment, services, programme, collections
- We as indigenous librarians seek to form alliances with other
international indigenous bodies committed to nurturing indigenous youth.
- We as indigenous librarians affirm our commitment to utilise our
collective skills, values and expertise in both cultural and
professional spheres to strengthen indigenous youth.
- As indigenous librarians, we state that the use of intellectual and
cultural property in any medium, especially in light of the global
instantaneous impact of the electronic environment, without the
approval of all appropriate indigenous authorities is unacceptable.
- 2003 United States of America
Closer to the Fire, Ensuring Culturally Appropriate Library Practices
Created the manifesto:
- International indigenous librarians believe all
library information providers are a force for cultural and intellectual
survival of indigenous people and that there exists a need for
policies, procedures and practices within libraries, museums, archives
and educational institutions that acknowledge the value of indigenous
culture. Further, that these institutions should adopt culturally
responsive guidelines to assure appropriate information services are
- International indigenous librarians support partnerships with
library and information agencies in order to assure global initiatives
are undertaken with emphasize the value of adopting culturally
responsive guidelines for use by all library information providers.
To implement these guidelines librarians and information providers
- mobilize and bring together those who can translate guidelines into action
- convince library information providers of the need for these guidelines
- assure that culturally responsive guidelines become policy and standard practice
- Issues faced by indigenous people are much broader than matters of
policies, practices, and guidelines, however. Initiatives to exert
control over their intellectual and cultural property, to retain
language, to preserve cultural practices are equally important goals
shared in common. Therefore, the need to understand these issues in
relationship to library information services, the following set of
- traditional knowledge is the intellectual property of indigenous peoples
- protection of their cultural heritage is the right of indigenous peoples
- the primary rights of the owners of a culture must be recognized by
library information providers, which should adopt strategies proposed
in Aboriginal and Torres Straits Islander Protocols for Libraries,
Archives and Information Services.
- International cooperation is essential for finding solutions faced
by indigenous people. The International Indigenous Librarians' Forum
should be established as a permanent Forum creating a global network
for sharing information, ideas and practices.
(Ongley, 2005, p. 10). Attachments to the manifesto include: Culturally
Responsive Guidelines for Alaska Public Libraries; Aboriginal and
Torres Straits Islander Protocols for Libraries, Archives and
Information Services; and the Mataatua Declaration on Cultural and
Intellectual Property Rights of Indigenous Peoples.
- 2005 Canada
The Keepers of Knowledge
Created an action plan and rephrased the manifesto:
Delegates to the 4th International Indigenous Librarians' Forum will
contribute their energies to the following efforts over the next two
- They will develop a Forum planning document to assist planners of future International Indigenous Librarians' Forums.
- They will develop a strategy for continuing to include indigenous information workers from around the world in Forum gatherings.
- They will collaborate with International Federation of Library
Associations and Institutions' (IFLA) initiatives related to indigenous
- They will take steps to document the history of the International Indigenous Librarians Forum.
- They will work to review and, if appropriate, revise the initial
documents arising from previous Forums, including the Vision, Goals,
Representatives to each conference would bring with them to the next
conference books about the indigenous peoples of the country that they
represent. These books would be presented to the host country committee
at the conference. The host country would choose which library(s) these
books would go to in the host country. For example: Representatives
from Alaska could bring with them books about their indigenous cultures
to donate to the Australian host committee. This would help to enrich
the understanding of those cultures in Australia.
Conference representatives could acquire books through direct purchase,
grants, tribal, corporate or personal donations or donations from the
- 2007 Australia
Culture, Knowledge, Future
The Forum objectives:
- To identify ways to improve library services for indigenous peoples
- To discuss best practices for library services for diverse indigenous populations
- To affirm the history, knowledge and values of indigenous populations
- To promote partnerships to create a global network for sharing information, ideas and practices
- To promote Aboriginal culture and heritage as an important
foundation for promoting and protecting cultural lifestyles and values
- To incorporate strategies to encourage participation for the Aboriginal community in their libraries
- 2009 Aotearoa New Zealand
Mākū Anō e Hanga Tōku Nei Whare - Determining our Future
Outcomes to be determined by delegates.
Indigenous Librarians' Forum 2001: Report from a seminar at Ajtte,
Swedish Mountain and Sami Museum September 5-8, 2001. (2002). Jokkmokk, Sweden: Ajtee.
Ongley, D. (Ed.). (2005). International Indigenous Librarians' Forum III proceedings 2003. United States of America: American Indian Library Association.
Sullivan, R. (Ed.). (2001). International Indigenous Librarians' Forum proceedings. Auckland, New Zealand: Te Rōpū Whakahau.
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