Policies and Guidelines

Indigenous Collections


ᓂᓂᓯᑕᐍᔨᐦᑌᓈᐣ ᐆᒪ ᐊᐢᑭᐩ ᑳᑖᑭᐢᑳᑕᒫᐦᐠ ᓂᑯᑤᓯᐠ ᑭᐦᒋᐊᓱᑕᒫᑐᐏᐣ ᑳᐃᑕᒥᐦᐠ ᐆᑕ ᐁᑮᐅᑕᐢᑲᓀᓯᒋᐠ ᒥᐦᒉᐟ ᐃᔨᓂᐘᐠ, ᐆᑕ ᑮᒫᐘᒋᐦᐃᑐᐘᐠ ᑭᐦᒉᔨᐦᑐᐏᐣ ᐁᑿ ᑭᐢᑌᔨᒧᐏᐣ ᓂᒥᔮᓈᓇᐠ ᐅᑖᒋᒧᐏᓂᐚᐘ, ᐅᐲᑭᐢᑵᐏᓂᐚᐘ, ᐅᓯᐦᒋᑫᐏᓂᐚᐘ ᐁᑿ ᐃᓯᐦᑖᐏᓂᐚᐤ ᐆᑭ ᑲᐦᑭᔭᐤ ᐃᔩᓂᐘᐠ

We acknowledge that the land on which we gather in Treaty Six Territory is the traditional gathering place for many Indigenous people. We honour and respect the history, languages, ceremonies and culture of the First Nations, Métis and Inuit who call this territory home.


This document is supplemental to the MacEwan University Library Collection Development Policy. It is intended to guide library selectors and others with respect to the acquisition of works by Indigenous authors, artists, musicians, filmmakers, creators, and academics. It also guides selection of works about Indigenous peoples in Canada. In addition, this document is an effort to respond to the Canadian Federation of Library Associations Truth and Reconciliation Report and Recommendations relating to library collections. To augment our collection of Indigenous resources the library will endeavour to:

  • Proactively seek works written or created by Indigenous peoples in Canada
  • Acquire resources that reflect the diversity of information by and about Indigenous peoples
  • Increase access to Indigenous knowledge, and information about cultures, peoples, histories, Indigenous-settler relations, and related issues
  • Acquire works that support the MacEwan University curriculum

Scope of the Collection

The library will collect a variety of works by, for, and about Indigenous peoples in Canada. Works collected may include but are not limited to:

  • Books, including children’s and young adult books
  • Memoirs
  • Community based gray literature
  • Local histories
  • Artists books
  • Zines
  • Graphic novels
  • Videos (including streamed)
  • Audio (CD’s, streamed, etc.)

Out-of-print materials may be acquired when appropriate, and materials available solely online may be copied and bound for the print collection, in alignment with fair dealing principals. The library will accept or solicit works suggested by community Elders and Knowledge Keepers as appropriate.


Subscriptions to individual scholarly journals titles will be acquired based on curricular connection. National, regional, and local community-based periodicals will be considered for subscription in the context of providing a balanced perspective. In most cases, digital subscriptions will be preferred over print, however exceptions are possible in the case of popular or art-focused titles.

Geographic Focus

The primary geographic focus of the collection will be works by, for, and about Indigenous peoples whose traditional lands are encompassed by Treaties 6, 7, 8 and 10 (Appendix 1), commonly known as Alberta. Works by, for, or about Indigenous peoples living in other treaty areas, including Treaties 1, 2, 3, 4, the Nisga’a Treaty, and many other treaties currently under negotiation (in areas commonly known as British Columbia, Saskatchewan, and Manitoba) will be acquired selectively

Works containing content by, for, and about Indigenous peoples in other areas of Canada may also be acquired selectively, as will materials from the northern United States that focus on Indigenous nations situated by the international border. Materials that focus on Indigenous peoples in Central and South America, Europe, Australia, and New Zealand will be added to the collection when the topical focus supports the curriculum.

Language Focus

Materials in Cree and other Indigenous languages that support the curriculum will be collected selectively. Language-learning materials not directly tied to curriculum, in Cree and other languages such as Dene, Stoney and Anishinaabe*, also may be added to the collection as available or when a need is expressed by members of the campus community.

*Note: as there is no official consensus on whether Indigenous languages should be capitalized, they are capitalized here as a sign of respect.

Collaborative Collections Development

The library will collaborate with its consortia partners and library vendors to increase the availability of online resources, in particular databases, ebooks, electronic open access theses or dissertations, or digital primary historical resources by and about Indigenous peoples in Canada.

Retention Guidelines

The library endeavours to retain materials of historical value. Retention procedures will follow the guidelines outlined in the primary Collection Development Policy under Subject-based Exceptions – History. Materials that have not circulated for a minimum of ten years may be considered for deselection.

While the library acknowledges the true history between Indigenous peoples and settler Canadians, some materials that reflect the values and beliefs of previous generations may remain in the collection to facilitate historical research and an examination of shifting societal values. However, any outdated materials representing Indigenous peoples located in the Children’s Collection may be relocated to the Main Collection. It is recognized that some titles in the library’s collection may contain stories or other content that is not appropriate for sharing with settler Canadians. The library may consider removal of these materials, with the guidance of community leaders and Knowledge Keepers. These and all other library materials can be challenged according to the steps outlined in the Collection Development Procedures.

Truth and Reconciliation Commission Calls to Action

The library will work in collaboration with our Indigenous Centre, kihêw waciston, towards realization of the recommendations of the Canadian Federation of Library Associations Truth and Reconciliation Report and Recommendations. In particular, and in the spirit of Recommendation Five, the library and its employees acknowledge their responsibility to help eliminate, replace, or revise outdated and racist mechanisms for cataloguing and classifying works by, for, and about Indigenous peoples (e.g. Library of Congress Subject Headings). This includes a commitment to collaborating with consortia partners, notably the NEOS Library Consortium, towards this end.


This document will be reviewed one year after implementation and thereafter every three years or as needed.


Authored by Roxy Garstad, Collections Librarian, and Sandy Stift, Associate Dean of Libraries, in consultation with kihêw waciston and the MacEwan Indigenous Advisory Council.

Endorsed by Library Faculty Council: June 17, 2019

Review Date:

Appendix 1: Treaty Map

Appendix 1 Treaty Map Image
Southern Chiefs' Organization. (n.d.). Crown-Aboriginal Treaties in Canada, 1763-2005. Retrieved April 18, 2019, from http://scoinc.mb.ca/about/treaties/​

Reference Documents

Canadian Federation of Library Associations Indigenous Matters Committee. (n.d.). CFLA-FCAB Truth & Reconciliation Committee Recommendations. Retrieved April 18, 2019, from http://cfla-fcab.ca/en/about/committees/indigenous_matters_committee/