home NEWS ACCI at IILF! (The 9th International Indigenous Librarians Forum 2015) by Annie Bosum, ACCI Librarian

ACCI at IILF! (The 9th International Indigenous Librarians Forum 2015) by Annie Bosum, ACCI Librarian

I participated
as a poster presenter at the 9th International
Indigenous Librarians Forum
held at the University of Manitoba in Winnipeg,
August 4-7, 2015.  The delegates came
from many places around the world: New Zealand, Australia, Vancouver, Saskatchewan,
Quebec, and Ontario, to name a few.  

One of the buildings, University of Manitoba

DAY 1: Upon
arrival, after a long journey from Ouje-Bougoumou, I was whisked away into the
outskirts of Winnipeg, which was about an hour and half drive, to Turtle Lodge
in the Sagkeeg First Nation village. Elder
David Courchene Jr., led the group in a ceremony involving teachings, songs,
and drumming. Later on we were invited
to the welcome reception in the Marshall McLuhan Hall on the University of
Manitoba campus. Among the speakers to welcome and entertain us were Mary-Jo
Romaniuk, University of Manitoba Librarian; Deborah Young, Executive Leader of
Indigenous Education and Dovie Thomason who did a reading from her book – as a
writer myself, this was the highlight of the evening for me—a wonderful performance

Conference Emcee Carl Stone with local Elders

DAY 2: Participants were invited to a Sunrise
Ceremony on the grounds of the University of Manitoba. Following breakfast; Carl Stone, the Emcee
for the conference, welcomed and introduced the delegates and the Elders and
engaged everyone in the Knowledge Keepers’ and Traditional Peoples’ Sharing Circle. The keynote speaker during lunch was Ry
Moran, Director of the National Centre for Truth and Reconciliation

Me in front of my poster !

During the break we set up our
Poster presentations: there was genuine interest in the poster that I had
prepared; questions were asked about our adaptation of the Brian Deer
Classification scheme and found the steps we took in implementing it very
interesting. One of the participants suggested that we put our catalogue of the
changes we made to the Brian Deer Classification scheme online for others to

Conference Area where presentations took place

Other presenters/exhibitors
were also present in the poster exhibition room: UBC Library; Pemmican
Publications; Fernwood Publishing; Goodminds.com (Jeff Burnham);the Manitoba
First Nations Education Resource Centre and writer/author Larry Lovie, whom I
bought a book from to add to the ACCI library, about Residential Schools. Throughout the day there were many presenters
from other libraries, museums, and resource centers.

The closing
keynote speakers were Elders Dave Courchene Jr., Gary Robson and Florence
Paynter. That evening we were given the option of dining out in the downtown
area of Winnipeg with fellow conference participants.  I got an invitation from the team from UBC, it
was a great, enjoyable meal…an evening that felt like I had met up with old

Later on, we
were separated into groups for a tour of the Canadian Museum of Human Rights
that focused on traditional culture.  I
enjoyed our lesson from the beaver and the turtle, and I got to see the huge Metis
octopus bag! You can watch the video on youtubehttps://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SodbjHdLvFoaboutthe mounting of this
bag- highly interesting!

Museum of Human Rights
Huge octopus bag on display

DAY 3: Unfortunately, I missed Brian Deer when he
joined the conference via Skype (due to illness he could not attend the
IILF). According to those who were able
to attend, he was very humble, and mentioned that he was not comfortable taking
copy-right ownership to the Brian Deer Classification Scheme.

In the late afternoon
the conference shifted its focus toward the non-indigenous delegates where
discussions evolved on the theme “How to be an Effective Ally”, led by Monique
Woroniak.  A bus was scheduled to take the
delegates to the First Folkorama pavilion which featured a Folkorama VIP Tour. 

DAY 4:  We took a bus to downtown Winnipeg to visit
the Manitoba Indigenous Cultural Centre and the Peoples’ Library:http://www.mices.com.We were given a quick walk-through the
two story building and visited the library, which holds approximately 10 000
books, periodicals, and audio visual material. 
I was surprised by the large number of resources contained in a small
space, they did mention that they had an extra archival area downstairs as

Manitoba Indigenous Cultural Centre and the Peoples’ Library

We then took
the bus to the University of Winnipeg where we were given a tour of their
Archives; Brett Lougheed gave us a brief presentation about the Two-Spirited

Tour of archives, University of Manitoba

We visited the Centre for
Rupert Land Studies Collection with a presentation by Roland Bohr. As he spoke
to us, I couldn’t help but notice all the interesting books in that tiny room!  I wished I was also able to do the tour to
see the Library’s Indigenous Collection! 
Our lunch was great – Veal stew and bannock.  The keynote speakers were Wab Kinew of the Indigenous
Advisory Circle and Jacqueline Romanow, Chair of Indigenous Studies, who gave
welcoming addresses as well as informative presentations about the University
of Winnipeg and their student body.  After
lunch we walked to the Millennium Library to visit the Children’s resource
area.  I really liked the animal prints
on the floor, the ceiling panels of the sky and trees and the artwork done by
children who were asked to express their visions of “community”!

Millennium Library
Detail of decor in Millennium Library
Children’s Area in Millennium Library
Decor in Millennium Library

We returned to
the University of Manitoba around 3 o’clock, and were asked to divide in two
concurrent session groups with indigenous delegates in one and the other with the
non-native delegates.  It was interesting
to hear the indigenous point of view and closing remarks and to watch the
delegates take part in the smudging and the passing around of the ‘grandfather

The most important thing that stuck
in my mind is hearing the Elders remind us how not to just think of ourselves
as librarians but as knowledge and wisdom keepers and to view ourselves as the
gate keepers of language and culture! What beautiful words spoken by a man of
genuine wisdom!

That evening
we had the gala dinner and closing ceremonies. 
Delegates were presented with gifts for their presentations and a
proposal for the 10th IILF was set to take place in New Zealand next
year-I hope I can attend! 

An Ojibway
woman led the delegates into a fun sing-along-in Cree, it was interesting that
I understood the language!  The
entertainment ended with lively fiddle dancing, throat singing, singing by local
indigenous and non-native musicians.  

What a fun, great
conclusion to a well-organized conference!