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.
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. If you see us at an event, please come talk to us about what is possible!”
To mark Native American Heritage Month this year, the team will highlight the strength of Native Nations. Displays will celebrate the legacies and ongoing contributions of Indigenous Peoples in the Americas.
To learn more about the diverse history of American Indian and Alaskan Native Peoples, check out Tribal Nations & the United States: An Introduction from the National Congress of American Indians. American Indian and Alaska Native Culture Card also provides an overview of topics that are important to many Indigenous communities in the U.S., such as cultural customs, spirituality and regional differences.
Check out these books and resources to learn more about diverse Indigenous authors, cultures, history and lived experience:
- Books about Indigenous Joy and Resistance
- Senate Bill 13: Tribal History/Shared History Resources
- Critical Orientations to Indigenous Studies Booklist
- New Native and Indigenous Picture, Middle Grade, and YA Books 2022
- Oregon Native American/Indian Tribes
- Since Time Immemorial: Native American Heritage Month
During Native American Heritage Month, Libby and Overdrive will feature three select titles with no holds and unlimited checkouts:
- A Snake Falls to Earth by Darcy Little Badger (Nov 2-16)
- Red Paint by Sasha taqʷšəblu LaPointe (Nov 17-23)
- Braiding Sweetgrass by Robin Wall Kimmerer (Nov 24-30)
Learn more on the library's website.