- ALA Annual Conference 2022

Celebrating Indigenous Storytelling

I was eager to attend the United States Board on Books for Young People (USBBY) session at #alaac22. While pursuing my LIS degree, I have sought knowledge about indigenous librarianship, so Celebrate Indigenous Storytelling: Books from across the Northern Border hosted by USBBY was appealing to me. Neil Christopher and Louise Flaherty with Inhabit Media conveyed their commitment to producing stories in Inuktut, English and French. Over 80% are created by indigenous authors. Maps were shown to help us learn that the community of Iqaluit is located on the island of Baffin in the Arctic Circle. 

It was inspiring to hear from one of the authors, Monica Ittusardjuat, to learn of her passion for sharing the stories of her people. Inhabit publishes baby books, children’s stories, YA, and adult titles to celebrate the contemporary lives of the indigenous peoples of their community. Neil and Louise shared the variety of stories – those which speak to their people’s connection with nature and wildlife (traditional knowledge and science from indigenous perspective) accessible graphic novels, and arctic survival stories. Their partnership with the Department of Education began with teacher training programs and when there were no indigenous materials available, they decided to create it themselves. Inhabit Education now has hundreds of trade books, thousands of educational materials, and media resources to use to strengthen their language.

Whether you work directly with an indigenous community or strive to share the variety of indigenous cultures with your patrons, there is a growing body of work that is tribal specific. This was also voiced by Caldecott award-winning illustrator Michaela Goade in the ALSC President’s Program: Boundaries Be Gone! Using Stories to Intersect and Connect.  She spoke of her collaboration with the author of We Are Water Protectors to ensure that she was representing author Carole Lindstrom’s narration authentically as Goade is a member of the Tlingit and Haida tribes, and Lindstrom is Ojibwe. Together, they told the story of the Dakota Access Pipeline protests at Standing Rock.


Guest Conference blogger Melinda Sandkam (she/her/hers) is a recent graduate of the University of Tennessee Knoxville School of Information. She is actively searching for a position in public libraries as her passion is to serve the community. She was a guest blogger for #PLA2022 virtually and is excited to be attending her first live ALA conference since Midwinter 2020 in Philadelphia. She is looking forward to meeting other ALSC members at the Friday event. Her favorite snack is anything with dark chocolate including hot chocolate!

Please note that as a guest post, the views expressed here do not represent the official position of ALA or ALSC.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.