Integrating Information Literacies with Indigenous Paradigms

JURY, Hemi (2019) Integrating Information Literacies with Indigenous Paradigms. Paper presented at: IFLA WLIC 2019 - Athens, Greece - Libraries: dialogue for change in Session 207 - Information Literacy with Library Theory and Research.

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Language: English (Original)
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Integrating Information Literacies with Indigenous Paradigms

In this paper I will examine how information literacies might better support the indigenous world view of the Māori people. In Aotearoa, New Zealand the written word was acknowledged by the Māori people as a means of enhancing prestige, authority and control, status and influence, power and charisma. This technology saw the creation of ‘He Whakaputanga - a Declaration of Independence’ (1835) by the Chiefs of the Māori people, Te Tiriti o Waitangi - The Treaty of Waitangi (1840) a partnership between Māori people and the English Crown, and a host of scholarly writings about every aspect of Māori life, customs and lore. In the modern era, information literacy plays a vital role in negotiations between the two treaty partners. Treaty claims and their subsequent settlement are dependent on the ability of iwi Māori (Māori nations) to provide historical evidence of their customary rights. The Governments’ negotiators must also verify this evidence and both parties must agree on the final settlement. Post settlement requirements include a letter of introduction by the Minister for Treaty of Waitangi Negotiations. The letter is sent to libraries, archives, museums, galleries and other information repositories and urges that any items or artifacts deemed relevant to iwi Māori are identified and made accessible or available. My work place, the Archive of Māori & Pacific Sound (formerly known as the Archive of Māori and Pacific Music), was contacted in this manner and in accordance with the request, a research project was conducted, and along the way, an understanding of the role that information literacies play in the settlement of iwi Māori claims with the Government has developed. Traditional Māori information literacies are embedded and woven in sites, carved meeting houses, traditional canoes, oral histories, song, dance, ritual recitations, tattoos and art forms, clothing and personal adornments. Many of these formats are identified by modern approaches to information literacies like the Māori Subject Headings. However, what happens when the searchable terms that relate to a place, an event, a specific group of people or an entire knowledge base are only partially recorded or not recorded at all? How could we conduct a search that is part of an integrated system that links artifacts and items, to other artefacts and items in a manner that reflects a different world view? A system that gives context and meaning beyond its ability to be stored, catalogued and accessed? Māori have a form of introduction that establishes identity and heritage. It is called a ‘pepeha’ and I propose to discuss utilising pepeha as a method of integrating indigenous literacy into the metadata created by institutions. It is intended that this paper identifies indigenous research issues and the role that our individual and collective institutions can play in promotion and integration of culturally appropriate responses to indigenous paradigms.

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