ALA intellectual freedom conference program focuses on Native American perspectives and libraries

Contact: Nanette Perez

ALA Office for Intellectual Freedom
For Immediate Release

April 4, 2006

ALA intellectual freedom conference program focuses on Native American perspectives and libraries

CHICAGO — The exclusion of Native American perspectives from mainstream American culture is the topic of an intellectual freedom program, “Acknowledging Native Perspectives on the American Experience,” to be presented during the American Library Association (ALA) Annual Conference in New Orleans, June 22–28.

The program will look at ways in which libraries and librarians can preserve and promote access to Native American historic and contemporary perspectives that have often been excluded from mainstream American scholarship and culture. It will address the self-perpetuating cycle of bias that has dismissed Native American viewpoints, perpetuated stereotypes, and diminished Native Americans’ place in America’s history and heritage.

The program is sponsored by the Intellectual Freedom Round Table of the American Library Association, in collaboration with the American Indian Library Association and the ALA Office for Literacy and Outreach Services Subcommittee on Library Services to American Indians.

Four speakers will discuss the legal, educational, social and cultural perspectives of Native Americans: Arlene Nanquin, a member of the Council of Elders of the Pointe-au-Chien Tribe, Terrebonne Parish, La.; Richie Plass, a musician, poet, traditional dancer, activist, and a member of the Menominee Stockbridge/Munsee Tribe who lives on the Oneida Reservation, Wis.; Christine Rose, the executive director of Students and Teachers Against Racism (STAR) and Changing Winds Seminars, from Fairfield, Conn.; and Rennard Strickland, of Osage and Cherokee heritage, the Philip H. Knight Professor of Law at the University of Oregon Law School, Eugene, Ore.

Following the speakers, a panel of four Native American librarians will discuss how libraries are working to respond to Native American issues through their collections, programs and services. The panelists include: Naomi Caldwell, enrolled member of the Ramapough Lenape Nation, assistant professor, Graduate School of Library and Information Science, University of Rhode Island; Carlene Engstrom, Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribe, director of the D’Arcy McNickle Library at Salish Kootenai College, Flathead Reservation, Mont.; Maria Escalante, director of Library Services at the College of the Menominee Nation, Keshena, Wis.; and Richenda Wilkinson, multicultural librarian, Oregon State University, Corvallis, Ore.

The program will be held at 1:30 p.m. on Saturday, June 24, 2006, in the Morial Convention Center, New Orleans.