Good Libraries, poor memories


Boozhoo (Ojibwe for greetings),

Anishaabe poet, Professor Denise Sweet, speaking at the Wisconsin Library Association noted that a tribal elder had once told a European American librarian that they had \"GOOD LIBRARIES but POOR MEMORIES while the opposite was true for his people.\" Oral cultures have both advantages and disadvantages as compared to print and now media cultures.

This put me in mind of my article, The Catalog as Community,\" to be published in the magazine Library Computing and posted on my web site at the HAPLR web site indicated below.
Professor Denise Sweet, provided an overview of recent American Indian authors and writing, emphasizing the importance of listening to the tribal voice. Professor Sweet is Humanistic Studies and Chair, American Indian Studies, UW-Green Bay.

At the WLA conference, she gave an inspiring presentation titled: No More Pretend Indians: Empathic Approaches to Teaching Tribal Literatures and Histories. She urged librarians to tap the wisdom of the elders and the storytellers among Indian peoples - Indian not native American or other variations was her preference.

Librarians in the western world have traditionally looked to print and physical catalogs as our stock in trade. We have relied more on objects than interactions in constructing our libraries. The very non-physical nature of the Internet and web based catalogs have forced us to re-examine our preconceptions. In the process, we must bring humans back into the process and realize that it has always been true that the COMMUNITY is the best catalog.

Professor Sweet also showed us the CD-ROM program called MAAWANJI\'IDING - Ojibwe Histories and Narratives from Wisconsin. See information on the wonderful resource at The very organization of the CD-ROM - circular and colorful - is a great antidote to those of us that do linear thinking, especially folks like me that practially think in spreadsheet rows and columns.

\"Wiinindib\" means knowledge \"makak(oons)\" is a (small) container or box... Wiinindibmakakoons - (Little box of knowledge, or Little Brain-Box) is the Ojibwe word that the elders group at Lac Courte Oreilles gave the Laptop computer, during field production work and review in 1994.

Anishaabe Poet Sweet taught us a story about a horse that dies of shame because it is not ridden true to its nature. I am pondering still the profound difference between shamed/not shamed and guilty/not guilty.

Take a Google moment please, searching on the following in Google will, I promise, take you to a good place: anang mazin-ichigan

Here\'s to good memories AND good libraries. Thank you Professor Sweet.

Thomas J. Hennen Jr.

[email protected]

Voice: 262-886-1625

Fax: 262-886-5424

6014 Spring Street

Racine, WI 53406

\"Share knowledge, seek wisdom.\"

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