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Institute of Museum and Library Services awards nearly $240,000 to Saginaw Chippewa Indian Tribe

The Saginaw Chippewa Tribal Library sits at 7070 E. Broadway Rd. on Feb. 26, 2020.

The Institute of Museum and Library Services, a federal agency dedicated to advancing and supporting libraries and museums, awarded the Saginaw Chippewa Indian Tribe $238,420 to further the tribe's pursuit of knowledge.

The grant is given to libraries to support projects that “enhance the quality of library and archive services nationwide.”

It will allow tribal libraries to “decolonize and Indigenize library services,” tribal librarian Anne Heideman said in a press release. She hopes to fix flaws in both the Dewey Decimal System and the Library of Congress indexes because they “don’t view Indigenous people as human.”

In the Dewey Decimal System, Christian creation stories are stored in the 200s where other religious texts are, while Indigenous creation stories are stored in 398 with the fairy tales, Heideman said. The library plans to reorganize the books with a “community-approved” method.

The tribe wants the library to infuse more Indigenous culture into the libraries to drive up membership and attendance, Public Relations Director Frank Cloutier said.

“We’re taking every opportunity to make sure we have an accessible, user-friendly library for not only our membership and other Native Americans, but a community as a whole,” Cloutier said. “We’re looking at this as an opportunity to further share our culture and traditional values.”