Located on the second floor of Zimmerman Library, the Indigenous Nations Library Program is a service point for the University of New Mexico community that empowers Indigenous students.
The space provides a safe learning environment, culturally relevant information services, Indigenous scholarship opportunities and social gatherings, according to the INLP webpage.
Janice Kowemy (Laguna) — who manages the space for INLP — offers research assistance and resources on Indigenous topics.
“INLP is a space where people can feel comfortable and learn about Indigenous scholarship, the issues Indigenous communities face today and also utilize what’s available in our collection for their research, as well as advance their Indigenous studies,” Kowemy said.
Kowemy said that all Indigenous students are eligible for the “Michael and Enokena Olson Memorial Scholarship” which awards two students $250 each semester.
The program’s educational materials are a select assortment from Zimmerman Library’s catalog.
Every month, INLP offers an array of themes related to Indigenous research to highlight different topics – most recently centering harvesting and the World War II code talkers. This is in an effort to focus on resources in bigger collections so students know what is available to them, Kowemy said.
“We have a small section of periodicals of Native American newspapers. We have the back issues of those, like the Cherokee Daily Times, Navajo Times and Jicarilla Apache,” Kowemy said.
INLP also hosts a variety of activities as part of their community outreach, such as poetry slams, making gingerbread houses, cupcake decorating and their Indigenous food series which introduces people to dishes from Indigenous communities.
“I think one of the main things is the student workers here who come from various tribes. They offer a lot of their support and creativity as well. They are also involved on campus so it brings a lot of student groups here to utilize the space,” Kowemy said.
In the program’s space, there are multiple murals created in collaboration with Indigenous artists from the collective Ansulala, Native American Studies students/professional artists and former INLP Outreach Librarian Mary Alice Tsosie (Dine'). The art is meant to symbolize planting seeds of knowledge, according to the INLP webpage.
The hands illustrated throughout are meant to represent “human intervention” as well as the acknowledgment that human beings are a part of the Earth’s sustainability.
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The water designs symbolize all 19 Pueblo Nations in New Mexico, as well as their interconnectedness.
“This is a one of a kind program in a university setting,” Kowemy said. “I’ve gone to various conferences and talked about (the program) and people are interested in starting their own program similar to this at their academic library. We are hoping it will get out there and that people will model what we’ve been doing here.”
Kelsa Mendoza is the copy chief at the Daily Lobo. She can be reached at email@example.com or on Twitter at @kelsar4in.
Kelsa Mendoza is the copy editor at the Daily Lobo. She can be reached firstname.lastname@example.org on Twitter at @kelsar4in.