School of Library and Information Studies

LIS 598 Indigenous Contexts for Library and Information Studies in Canada

LIS 598 Indigenous Contexts for Library and Information Studies in Canada

Course Outline
Fall 2018


Instructors:          Kayla Lar-Son & Tanya Ball
Contact :    &
Office Hours:     
By appointment


Calendar Description:

An introduction to to Indigenous principles, practices, and Indigenous methodologies for library and information studies in Canada and for application in a variety of settings. Elective course.

Course Objectives

To provide students with an understanding of colonialism in a Canadian library and information context and how this has affected relationships with Indigenous peoples and Indigenous professionals.

To acquaint students with Indigenous perspectives on library and information studies in both historical and modern contexts.

To engage students in Indigenous methodologies and how they may complement western orientated research, scholarship, and its applicants in various practices and settings.

To expose students to explorations of how Indigenous knowledges differ from western knowledge and implications for library and information institutions and the people who work in them.

To provide students with an understanding of intersectionalities between Indigenous peoples and other diverse populations, and how this affects library and information services and practices.

Measurable Student Learning Outcomes (SLOs):

Through in-class activities and assignments, students will be able to articulate basic concepts and terminology relating to Indigenous peoples in the context of library, archives, and information settings.

Through exposure to advocacy, reconciliatory action, and leadership perspectives supporting a place for Indigenous populations in library and information settings and discourses, students will be able to appreciate both theoretical and practical service-oriented issues and concerns, including evaluation of policies, collections, programs, and services.

Although primarily focusing on library, and some archival  practices and theories, students will become familiar with Indigenous pedagogies and methodologies, and with emerging trends in the field of Indigenous Studies.

Through written papers and assignments, students will demonstrate awareness of both opportunities and threats to the development of Indigenous librarianship as a discipline, students will articulate an increased knowledge about Indigenous librarianship in multiple contexts relating to library, archives, and information settings.


Introduction to Indigenous peoples and their history in Canada, Indigenous knowledges and oral histories, history of as well as contemporary library and information services for Indigenous peoples in a range of settings, TRC initiatives, local to international advocacy, lived experiences of Indigenous professionals, decolonizing metadata and description, community engagement and grassroots activism, Indigenous content in literature/multimedia, intersectionality and Indigenous practices, land-based learning, community based research, and Indigenous research methodologies, and strategies for searching for Indigenous content.


Lectures, readings, in-class discussions, small group discussions, group work, classroom facilitation, in-class activities, guest speakers, assignments, resource sharing, and sharing circles.

Course relationships:

Pre- or corequisite: LIS 501.

Required Texts:

Students will not be required to purchase a textbook for this course. All required course readings will be accessible through the University of Alberta Libraries.

Optional/Additional Recommended Reading:

For those students who would like optional additional information on Indigenous peoples in Canada, their histories, unique cultures, governance systems, and an overview of colonial oppression and resistance we recommend Indigenous writes: a guide to First Nations, Métis & Inuit issues in Canada by Chelsea Vowel. An online copy is available through the University of Alberta Libraries.

  1. Vowel, C. Indigenous writes: a guide to First Nations, Métis & Inuit issues in Canada. Winnipeg: Highwater Press.
  2. Younging, G. (2018). Elements of Indigenous Style: A guide for writing by and about Indigenous Peoples. Brush Education.
  3. Andersen C., O’Brien J. (2017). Sources and methods in indigenous studies. Abingdon, Oxon: Routledge.
  4. Fraser, C., and Komarnisky, S. “150 Acts of Reconciliation”. Active History

Inclusive Language & Equity:

The Faculty of Education is committed to providing an environment of equality and respect for all people within the university community, and to educating faculty, staff and students in developing teaching and learning contexts that are welcoming to all. The Faculty recommends that students and staff use inclusive language to create a classroom atmosphere in which students’ experiences and views are treated with equal respect and value in relation to their gender, racial background, sexual orientation, and ethnic backgrounds. Students who require accommodations in this course due to a disability affecting mobility, vision, hearing, learning, or mental or physical health are advised to discuss their needs with Student Accessibility Services.

Academic Integrity:

The University of Alberta is committed to the highest standards of academic integrity and honesty. Students are expected to be familiar with these standards regarding academic honesty and to uphold the policies of the University in this respect. Students are particularly urged to familiarize themselves with the provisions of the Code of Student Behaviour and avoid any behaviour which could potentially result in suspicions of cheating, plagiarism, misrepresentation of facts and/or participation in an offence. Academic dishonesty is a serious offence and can result in suspension or expulsion from the University.

Students should consult the “Truth-In-Education” handbook regarding the definitions of plagiarism and its consequences when detected.

Students should also be mindful of the SLIS Copyright Policy.

Policy about course outlines can be found in Section 23.4(2) of the University Calendar.