Colonialism in Libraries
The Disparities of Categories and the Organization of Materials
Keywords:Indigenous, Decolonization, Library, Education, Knowledge
Western notions of education were forcibly enacted on Indigenous peoples during colonization, and the organization of materials has not changed in over a century; libraries have become an epicenter of colonial thought, harbouring the continuation of harmful stereotypes of Indigenous peoples in Canada. This paper delves into a deeper understanding of the history regarding education and the organization of educational materials. Further, drawing on specific examples, there will be an examination of the ways in which our current library system (this includes public and private libraries) maintains colonial regimes of assimilation. Because current library categorial systems favour white, colonial, and/or settler authors, Indigenous stories are often lost in the fiction section; issues of authenticity have also become problematic for Indigenous authors and storytellers as traditional stories have been stolen and retold by settler scholars without proper acknowledgment and consent. The Xwi7xwa library on UBC’s Vancouver campus has offered a decolonization of Western education, and foregrounds a way of learning that provides equality, understanding, and decolonized thought; it offers an approach to unlearn colonial knowledge systems that in turn, aids in creating an equitable platform for all learners.
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