The Indigenous team of Multnomah County Library

In 2021 the library formed an Indigenous team to provide better representation of Indigenous people in the library. The Indigenous team strives to offer multi-generational programs and better access to resources. They also create displays that value elders, youth, storytelling, tradition and activism.

Six members of the Indigenous team inside a library standing with each other smiling

Indigenous Outreach Specialist Eva Red Bird shares that “The United States has over 570 federally recognized tribes and Portland has the ninth largest urban Native population in the country. Portland was once a federal relocation site and many Native people also moved here during WWII to work in what was once Vanport (like my family).”

Team members represent tribes from different parts of the world. You can find Indigenous team members at Central Library and mid county library locations.

“I want the library to feel like a community center and a space where everyone is welcomed. Historically, libraries were places where people might have felt intimidated about coming to. I think it's a beautiful thing for our Native community to come into branches and see Indigenous staff who are approachable and to see materials on the shelves that reflect our cultures in a positive way,” shares Eva.

The library’s Indigenous team spends time in library locations and out in the community at events.

“We are prioritizing outreach efforts at Native community events to learn more about how the library can meet people's interests and needs,” shares Ekatrina Sotomayor, Indigenous Program Specialist with the library’s School Corps Division. 

To learn more take a look at the American Indian and Alaska Native Culture Card which provides an overview of topics that are important to many Indigenous communities in the U.S., such as cultural customs, spirituality and regional differences.  

Cultural groups