News & Events - Press Releases

Native American Library Services
Enhancement Grant Announcement
September 2012

Alaska  |  California  |  Michigan  |  Montana  |  New Mexico  |  Oklahoma  |  Texas 


Organized Village of Kasaan - Ketchikan, AK
Congressional District: AK_01
Award Amount: $150,000

Contact: Mr. Jonathan Wunrow
Grants Management/Program Developer

The Organized Village of Kasaan will expand the resources of the Kasaan Cultural Learning Center and Library to create the most extensive collection of Kaigani (Alaska) Haida print, photographic, and video materials in the United States, which will serve as the centerpiece for Haida research and cultural programming. Using its expanded collection as a foundation, Kasaan will increase the number of Haida language and culture classes for community members hosted by the library; increase the level of cultural knowledge related to language, storytelling, carving, and beading among program participants; and improve the level of self-confidence in young people who will begin to participate regularly in Haida cultural and language activities.


Native Village of Port Graham - Port Graham, AK
Congressional District: AK_01
Award Amount: $25,382

Contact: Ms. Helen Morris
Manager, Language and Culutral Dept.

The Native Village of Port Graham will use its grant funds to begin identifying and inventorying material relating to Port Graham’s history held in a variety of Alaskan repositories and early visitors’ personal collections. The librarian will receive hands-on training in research and basic archival management at several Anchorage archives that hold materials of interest to Port Graham. A research consultant will work with the librarian to conduct at least two elder gatherings during the project, the first one focusing on the Smith Collection of photographs from the late 1920s and early 1930s, now held at the Pratt Museum in Homer, AK. The young people of the community will be invited to listen to the discussions of their elders. The sessions will also be recorded, transcribed, and added as a complement to the archival materials, providing a fresh look at the region’s local history from many personal perspectives.


Saint Paul Island - St. Paul, AK
Congressional District: AK_01
Award Amount: $149,984

Contact: Mrs. Aquilina Lestenkof
Director, Tanax^ -Unaag^im Maqax^singin

The Aleut Community of Saint Paul Island will develop a comprehensive website to help local and off-Island Unangan (Aleut) community members, as well as all others interested in their history, access information on Unangan traditional practices, language, family histories, art, and culture. Photographs; historical information; printed materials pertaining to Unangan topics; and instructional videos on traditional skills, such as kayak building and basketry, will all be accessible through the new website. Staff will establish clear guidelines on materials to be added to the site by conferring with a community-based website development committee as well as a copyright consultant. They will also develop a sustainability plan to ensure self-sufficiency after the end of the grant period.



Karuk Tribe of California - Happy Camp, CA
Congressional District: CA_02
Award Amount: $145,841

Contact: Ms. Helene Rouvier
People's Center Coordinator

The Karuk Tribe will enhance the professional skills of its library staff in order to increase comprehensive library services to its communities in Happy Camp and Orleans, CA. They will receive on-site training and participate in job shadowing at libraries in the region. Library staff will also particularly focus on community outreach and engagement by working closely with local schools to provide culturally appropriate materials and programs on Karuk history and culture. They will also plan monthly community events that will include storytelling, Native author visits, and cultural workshops. A consultant will assist in developing a library website that will provide online access to the tribe’s collection and library-related community news.


Bear River Band of the Rohnerville Rancheria - Loleta, CA
Congressional District: CA_01
Award Amount: $149,982

Contact: Ms. Erika Collins
Tribal Historic Preservation Officer

The Bear River Band of the Rohnerville Rancheria will be opening a new library in the recently completed Tish-Non Community Center. Grant funds will go toward furnishing the new space and providing comprehensive training for a new library assistant who will be mentored by the current library consultant. Collection development will double the children’s collection and add materials of general community interest as well. The new space will allow for increased programming, including afterschool tutoring during the week, biweekly storytelling in the special children’s area, and cultural activities such as bowmaking, beading, and basket weaving. Weekly language classes will take place in the library, drawing upon a network of Native speakers of neighboring tribal dialects for Bear River Band’s language revitalization program. After the grant period, the new staff person will become library manager and take over responsibility for library operations in a career position funded by the tribe.



Keweenaw Bay Indian Community - Baraga, MI
Congressional District: MI_01
Award Amount: $135,657

Contact: Ms. Amy St. Arnold
Education Director

This cooperative effort between Keweenaw Bay Indian Community (KBIC), the Ojibwa Community Library, the Office of Violence against Women (OVW), and the Department of Health and Human Services’ "Positively You" teen program will increase library services and materials for at-risk families, teens, and the community as a whole. For the first time, it will allow underserved populations to use library resources in the safe environment of the OVW Transitional Home. And, to enhance local teen participation in library activities, mentors like author and KBIC member Shirley Brozzo will work with teens on journaling and help create a book of cultural anecdotes and family stories for the community. The project will sponsor annual literacy nights, at which young writers and artists will showcase their work, which will then be compiled into a self-published "Empowering Futures" book celebrating their rich culture and personal creativity.


Pokagon Band of Potawatomi Indians - Dowagiac, MI
Congressional District: MI_06
Award Amount: $52,586

Contact: Ms. Marie Willis
Director of Education

The Pokagon Band of Potawatomi will enhance library services to its members by implementing job training services for citizens who want to improve their computer skills and work on career preparation. College planning, career development, and job search techniques will be provided through a comprehensive online program. Computer classes will be held on site for adults, complemented by childcare services with literacy activities for the kids. In addition, the library will add materials on Pokagon and Indian history and culture, expanding on its successful "The Pokagon Band: A Nation that Reads" program, and will implement a mail-delivery book club focusing on Indian topics with an online Book Club blog to encourage discussion among the members.



Chippewa Cree Indians of the Rocky Boy's Reservation - Box Elder, MT
Congressional District: MT_01
Award Amount: $149,193

Contact: Mrs. Helen Stamper Windy Boy
Librarian, Stone Child College

On behalf of the Chippewa Cree Tribe, the Rocky Boy Community Library at Stone Child College will provide enhanced technology for library users by adding new computers and providing e-readers for community use. It will develop a collection of audiovisual media and materials that will be available for instructional use in the college, area schools, and other tribal institutions. In addition, enhanced programming will include summer reading programs for youths, a book club for adults, and presentations by Native American authors.


Fort Belknap Indian Community - Harlem, MT
Congressional District: MT_01
Award Amount: $142,070

Contact: Eva English
Library Director, Aaniiih Nakoda College

The Aaniiih Nakoda College Library will administer this grant on behalf of the Fort Belknap Indian Community with the goal of supporting Native language learning among young children on the Fort Belknap Indian Reservation. The library will work together with the Aaniiih Nakoda Cultural Grounding Committee to translate popular children’s stories into the languages of the Aaniiih (Gros Ventre, White Clay) and Nakoda (Assiniboine) Tribes. Staff will seek translation rights from the authors and/or publishers of twenty children’s books. The Cultural Grounding Committee members will translate the text. Then staff will create transparent labels using special Aaniiih and Nakoda fonts and affix them to the appropriate pages of each book. Reading sessions by Native speakers at the college library and tribal community centers will introduce the bilingual books to the public. In addition, copies of the books will be placed in all of the local public and school libraries as well as Head Start programs so language learning can continue and expand in the future.


Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes - Pablo, MT
Congressional District: MT_01
Award Amount: $117,283

Contact: Mr. Frederick Noel
Library Director

The Salish Kootenai College, on behalf of the Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes, and in response to a comprehensive community survey, will replace computer technology and furnishings in its library computer lab and implement new services, including online chat capabilities as well as phone texting and roaming reference services. The library will also offer a downloadable library catalog mobile phone app and a weekly blog highlighting materials in the tribal archive collection. Increased outreach and marketing will bring in new patrons and provide all users with online webcast tutorials on how to tap into the library’s resources. An online reference database will replace the outdated print reference collection. A local tribal historian will conduct quarterly Native American genealogy research workshops and the librarian will work closely with local schools to provide culturally appropriate materials for courses in Montana history and Native American studies.


Assiniboine and Sioux Tribes of the Fort Peck Indian Reservation - Poplar, MT
Congressional District: MT_01
Award Amount: $148,410

Contact: Ms. Anita Scheetz
Library Director, Fort Peck Community College

The Fort Peck Tribal Library at Fort Peck Community College will administer this grant on behalf of the Assiniboine & Sioux Tribes of the Fort Peck Reservation. With its new facility, the library has doubled in size and will be able to offer increased services to students and community members alike. After extensive weeding, the collection will be refreshed with current materials, especially in science and health. The new community computer lab will provide computer skills classes and wireless Internet access as well as digital media services to all patrons through Montana Library2Go. Community-focused programs will provide cultural, creative, and science activities to encourage parents and children to spend time together away from other distractions. Workshops on making moccasins, flute playing, powwow dancing, and storytelling will allow participants to learn traditional skills. The grant will also support the already successful adult reading group and the Books for Babies program that are held regularly in the library.


New Mexico

Pueblo of Jemez - Jemez Pueblo, NM
Congressional District: NM_03
Award Amount: $143,008

Contact: Ms. Tamara Sandia

With this grant, the community library in the Pueblo of Jemez will continue to help preserve the Towa language and Jemez Pueblo culture, traditions, and knowledge and to act as a strong community partner in meeting the educational needs of Jemez children, teens, adults, and elders. Library staff will acquire cultural resource materials, make them accessible to community members, and use them as a foundation for cultural workshops and for creating original books in Towa that tell stories about local Jemez "heroes" and history. In addition, preschool children and their parents will participate in programs that promote literacy and school-readiness. In response to other growing needs, the library staff will also focus on special training topics for jobseekers and create an environment that will encourage teens to visit the library not only for study, but for leisure reading as well.



Chickasaw Nation - Ada, OK
Congressional District: OK_04
Award Amount: $18,438

Contact: Ms. Regina Berna
Director, Museums and Historic Sites

On behalf of the Chickasaw Nation, the Holisso Research Center (HRC) will create the "Chickasaw Nation Cultural Connection," an online repository of significant archival documents, records, maps, and photographs from the Chickasaw Nation Cultural Center and other tribal archive collections. Original Indian Territory land-allotment maps from the late 1880s, original chattel mortgages, land deeds, and photographs from Chickasaw Nation boarding schools will be digitized. Staff will create metadata, upload the materials to the HRC website, and provide a resource catalog that will make almost half of the Nation’s archival collection available online for the first time to tribal members and researchers alike.



Ysleta Del Sur Pueblo of Texas - El Paso, TX
Congressional District: TX_16
Award Amount: $116,434

Contact: Mr. Christopher Gomez
Tribal Empowerment Program Director

The Ysleta del Sur Pueblo Empowerment Department’s Library and Education Center will create "Literacy Circles" for children enrolled in the Center’s Afterschool Program to instill the love of reading and to improve overall academic performance. The Literacy Circles will use a combination of library staff and trained tutors to facilitate guided reading for children grouped by reading level, age, and grade. Staff will work closely with local schools and an independent evaluator to ensure that the program is on track and creating positive results. Annual literacy fairs will provide parents with information on how to engage their children in literacy activities and encourage them to enjoy reading together as a family at home.