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NLM and ALA Partnership Brings Native Voices Exhibit to Libraries in PNR Region

Posted by on September 23rd, 2016 Posted in: News from Network Members, News From NNLM PNR

Native Voices logo

A year ago last fall, the American Library Association (ALA) and the National Library of Medicine (NLM) partnered to bring the NLM traveling exhibition, Native Voices: Native Peoples’ Concepts of Health and Illness to academic, public, and tribal libraries in the United States and other Native-serving cultural institutions beginning in 2016 through 2020.  Libraries and institutions were encouraged to apply for this opportunity and the awardees were announced late in 2015. Here, in the Pacific Northwest Region, several libraries received notice that they were selected. In fact, libraries in all five states are represented.

In 2016 three libraries were hosts to Native Voices and include libraries at Clark College, Fort Peck Community College, and North Seattle College. Library staff from each of these libraries have written a short summary of the activities planned around the exhibit as well as the benefits to the library community.


James E Shanley Tribal Library, Fort Peck Community College, Poplar, MT
Hosted exhibit from Feb. 3 – March 16, 2016

Anita Scheetz wrote,

The exhibit opened on February 4th but we held the native blessing and smudged the building and the exhibit on February 18. As part of the Native Voices grant, we were asked to do two health related programs but since we had the exhibit for an extended length of time we decided to do one each week in the month of March. The most popular of these events was the Native plants program.

  • March 3 Lois Red Elk  “Native Plants and Medicines”
  • March 10 Loy Sprague “Mind Body Medicine: Mindfulness and Stress Reduction”
  • March 17 Dr. Christine Holler-Dinsmore will present “Science, Faith, Family, Friends and Healing”
  • March 24 Beth Brown Morgan “Essential Oils: Uses in Health”
  • March 30 Teresa Rorvik “Pitfalls of Fad Diets”

There have been lots of people reading the posters and checking out the iPads.  I don’t have exact numbers but almost everyone who comes in stops and looks at the banners.


Cannell Library, Clark College, Vancouver, WA
Hosted exhibit from Feb. 3 – March 16, 2016

Laura Nagel wrote,

Clark College Libraries enjoyed hosting the Native Voices exhibit and had good feedback from the campus and the community—people really seemed to appreciate that we were highlighting these issues and creating more awareness about Native health and wellness. Below is a summary of events:

  • Opening Ceremony: Tuesday, February 9
    • Students, staff, faculty, and community members came to Cannell Library to celebrate the opening of the exhibit.Sam Robinson, a Chinook tribal elder, gave a blessing and sang some songs along with student Channa Smith, president of the Native American Culture Club of Clark College.
  • Student of Color Luncheon: Tuesday, February 16
    • A Multicultural Student Affairs event we partnered with. The speakers for the event were Cheyenne and Arapaho artists Brent Learnedand George Levi, creators of the One November Morning exhibit of artwork depicting the day of the Sand Creek Massacre. Channa Smith was also announced as the first DREAM CATCHER Scholarship recipient.
  • Documentary onOne November Morning: Friday, February 19
    • Descendants of the Sand Creek Massacre of November 29, 1864 created an exhibit of artwork depicting the day of the massacre. More than 150 Cheyenne and Arapaho people were viciously massacred at Sand Creek, CO. Brent Learnedand George Levi presented a documentary about the massacre, spoke about the process of creating their exhibit, and held a discussion. This event was sponsored by the Native American Culture Club of Clark College.
  • 30 Clicks: Wednesday, February 24
    • Librarian Laura Nagel presented this 30-minute workshop showing digital storytelling and digital humanities projects that focus on the connections between wellness, illness, and cultural life for Native peoples.
  • Art Walk-Cannell Library, Archer Gallery, Clark County Historical Museum: Friday, March 4
  • Closing Ceremony: Wednesday, March 9
    • Sam Robinson returned to share photos and speak about the healing journey of canoeing.

Photos from some of these events can be found on the Clark College Libraries flickr album: https://www.flickr.com/photos/clarkcollegelibraries/albums/72157663391131834


North Seattle College Library, North Seattle College, Seattle, WA
Hosted exhibit from March 30 – May 11, 2016

Camila Jenkin wrote,

“Native Voices and New Partnerships”
Welcoming the Native Voices exhibit to North Seattle College strengthened relationships between the Library and campus partners while sowing enthusiasm for future projects.  Guest speakers, students, campus club members and library staff all gathered together to hear about North Seattle College’s context in the history of the surrounding land and community while celebrating the new perspectives on our campus.
The opening ceremony was started off by Dr. Annette Squetimkin Anquoe, who sang a blessing and introduced the themes of the exhibit.  Following her was a guest speaker from the University of Washington School of Medicine, NormaAlicia Pino, who spoke eloquently about understanding the context and history of the Seattle land where we live.  To wrap up the ceremony joyfully, Deyo Esquivel led a singing and dancing session where audience members were invited to participate.
Thanks to the generosity of the ALA and NLM, we ended up deciding to use our $250 grant to purchase titles from the Native Voices recommended reading list to bolster our collection of books by Indigenous writers.  Hosting Native Voices has drawn parts of our campus together in ways usually uncommon, and the titles we will purchase will continue that effort for many years.

We want to thank all the libraries who hosted Native Voices and for their contributions to this Dragonfly post. The Native Voices exhibit explores the interconnectedness of wellness, illness and cultural life for Native Americans, Alaska Natives, and Native Hawaiians. The online version of the Native Voices  includes interviews, lesson plans, a timeline of Native Peoples’ health that chronicles the survival and resurgence of traditional ways to promote well-being, and career-planning and educational resources.  In 2017 the exhibit will be at Aaniiih Nakoda College Library in Harlem, MT and Medicine Spring Library at Blackfeet Community College in Browning, MT.

Image of the author ABOUT Carolyn Martin
Carolyn Martin is the Consumer Health Coordinator for the NNLM Pacific Northwest Region. She works with various libraries and community organizations to increase health literacy in their communities.

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Developed resources reported in this program are supported by the National Library of Medicine (NLM), National Institutes of Health (NIH) under cooperative agreement number UG4LM012343 with the University of Washington.

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