In January 2016, IFLA confirmed and welcomed the new Indigenous Matters Section. The section known also as “IM” is section number 50, and sits within Division III, Library Services.
In October 2015, there were 41 registered members of the section; this number is expected to grow and it is an exciting time to be part of Indigenous Matters in IFLA. Founding members of the Section include IFLA members who are associations, institutions, and individuals: Australia, Canada, Greenland, Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Sweden, Uganda, and the United States.
Originally established as a special interest group (SIG) in December 2008, the SIG evolved out of IFLA Past President Alex Bryne’s Presidential Task Force on Indigenous Matters, a focus on library services for the traditional owners of the land. The first Convenor of the SIG was Loriene Roy (USA) from 2008-2013. Te Paea Paringatai (NZ) later took on the role from 2013-January 2016, hosting independent indigenous matters open sessions and business meetings at each annual WLIC and leading the SIG into the next stage of development as an IFLA Section.
The Section’s main purpose is to support the provision of culturally responsive and effective services to indigenous communities throughout the world. Its main objectives are to promote international cooperation in the fields of library, culture, knowledge and information services to indigenous communities that meet their intergenerational, community, cultural and language needs, and to encourage indigenous leadership within the sector, exchange of experience, education and training and research in all aspects of this subject. The Section seeks to connect, collaborate and work in cooperation with other IFLA Sections; national indigenous library, culture, knowledge and information associations/groups; as well as the International Indigenous Librarians’ Forum (IILF).
“The Section will be a foundation for all people who are passionate about indigenous language and culture, and its place in the modern library, culture, knowledge, and information society. We need the help of practitioners, libraries, galleries, archives, museums, government agencies, corporations, universities, schools, pre-schools, indigenous groups and organisations and as many supporters as possible,” said Ms Paringatai.
To assist transition and until the Standing Committee for the Section is elected in August 2017, Te Paea Paringatai (NZ) is the Acting Chair, and she is joined by Cellia Joe-Olsen (NZ) who is Acting Secretary.
Members will register for the IM Section during 2016 so that a normal election procedure will be started in October 2016 for a full Standing Committee to begin operating from August 2017. In August 2017 the Standing Committee will elect its Officers as per the usual procedure.
It is likely that the Section will aim to elect 10 Standing Committee members in the first round, then a further 10 to start in 2019; this may change depending on how many nominations are received in the first round.
A copy of the Section’s Action Plan, Objectives and Purpose is available under Files on the Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/groups/66990630010/