The National Library of Medicine Traveling Exhibition Program includes the very popular Native Voices: Native Peoples’ Concepts of Health and Illness. This exhibit is currently traveling the country as part of a partnership between the National Library of Medicine (NLM) and the American Library Association (ALA). In 2017 three libraries in the Pacific Northwest Region hosted the exhibit:
Eva English, Library Director of Aaniiih Nakoda College Library, described what their institution planned around the exhibit:
Aaniiih Nakoda College received the Native Voices: Native People’s Concepts of Health and Illness exhibit on June 21, and held our opening program on Wednesday, June 28 from 10 AM to 12 Noon. Aaniiih Nakoda College (ANC) American Indian Studies Director, Sean Chandler, gave the opening prayer and blessing. ANC Dean of Academic Affairs, Carmen Taylor, gave a welcome address. Dr. Liz McClain spoke about inequities in health care as related to the Zortman/Landusky/Pegasus mine. Mary Anne Hansen, Professor/Reference Librarian, Sheila Bonnand, Instructional Services Librarian, both of MSU-Bozeman Libraries, spoke about and demonstrated how to utilize information from various websites and LaVerne Parker Parker spoke about “Diversity, Equity and Inclusion in Healthcare”. 17 people were in attendance. We were able to broadcast the speakers via Facebook Live which had 167 views and reached 403 people.
Our second speaker event was held Wednesday, July 19, with Nursing Professor, Billie Jo Brown as the keynote speaker. She spoke about “Bringing Nursing and Education Home.” We were once again able to make this talk available through the Library’s Facebook Page by “going live” to allow more people to view the presentation. 71 people viewed the video and it reached 207. The Exhibit was shown at the ANC Library through July 28.
Through the exhibit we were able to partner with several other organizations including MSU-Extension who provided snacks for our events, MSU-Bozeman Libraries who provided speakers and transportation, and Fort Belknap Diabetes Prevention, who encouraged their participants to attend the presentations.
Aaron LaFromboise, Library Director of Medicine Spring Library of Blackfeet Community College, conveyed what her library planned:
Medicine Spring Library hosted the Native Voices exhibit from August 16 – September 28, 2017. Several of the Blackfeet Community College classes took advantage of the exhibit to learn more about health in other Native communities. The exhibit was housed near the back of the library, but our patrons were enticed to learn more with a kiosk placed near the front entrance. We fielded many questions and invited our patrons to make their way back to the full exhibit. We had four events associated with the exhibition.
Opening Reception – with Montana State University Librarians facilitating a discussion on finding health resources.
Other events included a session on Advocating for Your Health, and The Benefits of Growing Your Own Food. In our session on Advocating for your Health, local hospital and clinic staff talked about how to be prepared for appointments, and how to keep track of symptoms to help doctors with diagnosis. In the Benefits of Growing Your Own Food session, we discussed the physical benefits of gardening, and the added benefit of locally grown food.
The final day of the exhibit coincided with the Blackfeet Community College’s annual Days of the Piikani. On this day, our tribe also hosted a Confederacy meeting (the Blackfeet are a part of an international confederacy of tribes, Blackfeet, Kainai, Sitsika, and Piegan). We invited our Canadian relatives to an open house, in which the Native Voices served as an attraction at the college.
Thank you to both Eva and Aaron for so graciously contributing to this blog posting regarding the Native Voices exhibit.
The Native Voices exhibit will be visiting two more sites in Montana in 2018. We hope to hear from them about the activities planned and the community impact. We encourage libraries and other organizations in our region to consider hosting a NLM traveling exhibit. A webinar, where libraries reported their experiences, is also available to provide more information.
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