June 8

Cataloging Indigenous Resources: Alternatives to Dewey

Dewey unveiled his cataloguing system in 1876 and although it has seen many modifications over the years it still reflects the influences of it’s designer in a number of areas.

The ‘correct’ placement of resources that support the weaving of Aboriginal content in our new B.C. curriculum appeared limiting and somewhat divisive. In short, I would struggle to direct an Aboriginal student, curious about their living culture, to the 971 history section, sandwiched and segregated, somewhere between World War II and the Aztecs. Optics matter.

Despite my efforts at sorting and labelling, placing Indigenous Creation Stories next to Little Red Riding Hood in 398.2 Folklore and Fairytales seemed equally as jarring.

After consultation with Surrey colleagues Kim Perry; Teacher, Lynne Powell; Helping Teacher, Lise Tilden; Aboriginal Education, and helpful direction from Heidi Wood; Aboriginal Helping Teacher, I rearranged and re-catalogued to reflect what seems to be more respectful placements whilst still preserving the integrity of a workable comprehensive library.

Here are the highlights:

Creation Stories

These are considered to be non-fiction. When I am asked for a Space unit, I am pulling How the Raven Stole the Sun as well, so 523.7 is a logical choice. Similarly, How The Robin got it’s Red Breast goes in the bird section, Cloudwalker on the environment shelf, Mayuk with the bears.

Elder Stories

Includes stories that reflect true events or story of an Elder or the author. I have included here traditional stories as well as more contemporary works. The contemporary First Nations titles pictured below were designated Dewey 970 History of North America. I have placed them in Courage 179 and Wisdom 170.


Stories that are for entertainment or a teaching have been placed in Fiction. Some of the Txamsen Stories for example. However, some of these were not in a format or reading level that would work at our school in the picture book section. They are now in 813 Fiction.

 The labels are not ideal but they are easily identifiable. Titles that are not First Nations but are Metis or Inuit have a solid red label. Students are able to find these at a glance. Eventually,  I will have these labels only on authentic Aboriginal texts. I am still working through these.

The 970s

The biggest shift was the exodus out of the history section and involved moving all the non-fiction two shelves over. It seemed to me that even a book delineated as describing past traditions was, in fact, describing current traditions. It wasn’t history. I evaluated every book, weeded a few, and placed the rest in 305.897.

The 305s  – my favourite section – ‘Groups of People’ – the section we all fit in, in one way or another.

I am sure as we use this system, it will morph and evolve, resulting in an organization that perhaps more accurately reflects the community the collection serves.

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June 5

Indigenous Resources to Support Personal and Social Core Competencies

Vanier staff explored how Indigenous resources might support Social Emotional Learning Core Competencies in B.C.’s new curriculum. Focus was on Personal Awareness and Responsibility and Social Responsibility.

Titles were selected as authentic Indigenous sources or are resources selected and shared by the District Aboriginal Department. This is not intended to be an exhaustive list but rather to provide a window into how Indigenous titles may be used to reach school-wide SEL goals.

Indigenous perspectives have also been outlined as well as a final section on further supportive digital resources.1. Personal Awareness and Responsibility: Self-Determination

Students who are personally aware and responsible have a sense of personal efficacy and growing confidence in a variety of situations. They value themselves, their ideas, and their accomplishments. They are able to express their needs and seek help when they need it, to find purpose and motivation and act on it, and to advocate for themselves.

I can show a sense of accomplishment and joy. I can celebrate my efforts and accomplishments. I can advocate for myself and my ideas. I can imagine and work toward change in myself and world. I can take the initiative to inform myself about controversial issues.


When We Were Alone by David Alexander Robertson. 2016 Facing hardship and showing strength. Learning how to retain and advocate for one’s sense of identity.
Eaglet’s World by Evelyn White Minshull. 2014 Feeling proud of your accomplishments.
Red Parka Mary by Peter Eyvindson 2015 Celebrate efforts to overcome fears
The Moccasins by Earl Einarson. 2004

Come and Learn with Me – Cheyenne Jumbo

Feeling proud of your heritage
Under One Sun – Nelson 2017

What Do You Share?

We Help Each Other

I Do Good Things

(other titles available)

Being mindful to create change.
Spirit Bear by Jennifer Harrington 2014 Celebrating accomplishments. Determination to get back home.
Mwakwa Talks to the Loon by Dale Auger 2008 Change / growth in self. The qualities of service and humility.
Which Way Should I Go? By Sylvia Olsen Being mindful, Making good choices.
Little Bear’s Vision Quest by Sylvia Olsen Sense of change in self – thoughtless to thoughtful
Everybody Needs A Rock by Byrd Baylor Finding Connections between self and nature and use that knowledge to create personal meaning and change
What’s the Most Beautiful Thing about Horses? by Richard Van Camp / Georges Littlechild What’s the most beautiful thing you know about you?’
Raven Tales – 26 Graphic Novels Edited by D. Bouchard and D. Booth “These graphic novels are built on traditional stories that develop a sense of community, responsibility, respect and interconnectedness of life” Click here for individual story details.
Raven Tales – Teacher’s Guide Edited by D. Bouchard and D. Booth Recommended. Connects Raven Tales to First Nations cultures and other international and aboriginal cultures with similar stories. Story summaries. Delineated themes i.e. Living in Community, Respect…
Sometimes I Feel Like a Fox by Danielle Daniel Celebrating positive changes in emotions.
Dancing with the Cranes by Jeanette Armstrong / Ron Hall I can show a sense of joy. I can imagine and work toward change in myself and world.
Seven Sacred Teachings Niizhwaaswi gagiikwewin by D. Bouchard and Dr. J. Martin Humility, Honesty, Respect, Courage, Wisdom, Truth, Love
I Like Who I Am by Tara White Celebrating my efforts and accomplishments, advocating for myself. Identity.
Sweetest Kulu by Celina Kalluk Believe in Yourself, Love, Help others, Be gentle, Be creative, Find joy, Be empowered, Be patient, Be kind
Sharing Our World: Animals of the Native Northwest Coast by Garfinkel Publications Celebrating strengths and accomplishments
My Heart Fills with Happiness by M.G. Smith Showing joy
Yetsa’s Sweater by Sylvia Olsen Showing a sense of accomplishment and joy. Celebrating efforts and accomplishments.
Dipnetting with Dad by Willie Sellars Showing a sense of accomplishment and joy. Celebrating efforts and accomplishments. The rewards of not giving up.
Cloudwalker by Roy Henry Vickers and Robert Budd Not giving up despite challenges Persevering to overcome adversity
Orca Chief by Roy Henry Vickers and Robert Budd Sense of accomplishment in learning new skills
Set of seven books by Katherena Vermette The Seven Teachings Stories are inspired by the Seven Sacred Teachings of the Anishinaabe—love, wisdom, humility, courage, respect, honesty, and truth. These stories are set in urban landscapes, Indigenous children tell familiar stories about home, school, and community.
When I was Eight by Christy Jordan-Fenton Determination to read, goal setting, over-coming adversity, joy of reading, goal of reading.
Not My Girl by Christy Jordan-Fenton Recognition of change in self, Aspiring to belong, Change takes time.
Gray Wolf’s Search by Bruce Swanson Celebrating effort and accomplishment
Thunder Boy Jr. by S. Alexie Celebrating accomplishments and advocate for myself. Imagine and work toward change.
Dreaming In Indian: Contemporary Native American Voices. Edited by L. Charleyboy and M.B. Leatherdale A visual example to acknowledge the diverse identities in a contemporary current context.
The Secret of Your Name by D. Bouchard Showing a sense of accomplishment and joy. Advocating for my ideas. Celebrating my efforts.

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Category: Book Recommendations, Social Emotional Learning | Comments Off on Indigenous Resources to Support Personal and Social Core Competencies