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International Indigenous Librarians' Forum (IILF) Guide

In 1997, Te Rōpū Whakahau, a leading national body that represents Māori engaged in Libraries, Culture, Knowledge, Information, Communication and Systems Technology in Aotearoa/New Zealand, began planning the first International Indigenous Librarians' Forum (IILF). Over the course of two years, Māori representatives met with American Indian Library Association (AILA) representatives to discuss creating the first international collaboration between information professionals of Indigenous heritage. As a result of these discussions, the first Forum was held in Auckland, Aotearoa/New Zealand, 1-4 November 1999.

The event has taken place every two years since then, with the exception of 2021 due to the COVID-19 pandemic. IILF has also been held in Sweden, the United States, Canada, Australia, and Norway. Planners are individual Indigenous librarians or members of a national Indigenous librarian/archivists/language revitalization organization. IILF programs include presentations, discussions, work groups, and workshops with each IILF creating a key document such as a vision statement, value statements, manifesto, action plan or objectives. IILF is infused with cultural protocol and values from communication to welcoming ceremony, and celebratory closing activities. Each ILLF also includes ‘a day on the land,’ affirming the strong connection Indigenous peoples have with their places of origin. 

The most recent IILF took place in Hawaiʻi on the island of Oʻahu from 27-30 November 2023.

This resource is intended for Forum attendees to build on the Forum’s themes of Indigenous sovereignty and self-determination over how information is collected, managed, and shared. Many of the materials for this archive were provided by Loriene Roy. We welcome any past, present or future attendees of IILF to share memories and materials related to the Forum.

The Mauri Stone

The mauri stone was carved by Bernard Makoare and was formally blessed by the Taranaki elder, the late Te Ru Koriri Wharehoka. The mauri stone was created specifically for IILF, and is imbued with the mauri, or life principle, of the Forum. The mauri stone holds the essence of discussions, spiritually binding the attendees. At the conclusion of each IILF, the mauri stone is presented to the hosting nation to hold in safekeeping.

Many subsequent forums saw contributions to the mauri stone. The contributions are as follows:

2001: Wooden Case, Sámi, Sweden

2003: Beaded Band, Blackfoot, New Mexico

2005: Deer Hide, Cree, Saskatchewan

2007: Purple Lining, Aboriginal People, Australia

2011: Possum Skin, Aboriginal People, Australia

2013: Eagle feather with 8 silver beads, Lummi, Washington


Hosting Organizations



This guide was originally created by Amy Griffin (MSIS, University of Texas at Austin) for her final capstone project in 2023, with supervision from Hauʻolihiwahiwa Moniz and Kapena Shim, co-chairs of the 2023 IILF. This guide is intended to serve as a finding aid for the IILF digital archive.

Each year of the Forum is a new series. For the majority of these series, there were four sub-series: Pre-Conference Materials, Conference Materials, Post-Conference Materials, and Website Archive. The exceptions are those series which did not have enough materials to create a sub-series, or in the case of the 1999 IILF series, the Planning, 1997-1999 sub-series, which stands in place of Pre-Conference Materials.

Many of the materials were presented with no date or contextual information, and a hierarchical model was created to organize the materials within each sub-series. Materials that related to programming, attendees, presentations and cultural practices were deemed more useful, and are listed earlier in the aid. Subsequent materials were placed either in order of date or perceived linear creation. When possible, exact dates and creators of the materials are noted. 

The final series, Additional Resources, is a collection of publications, journal articles and newspaper articles written by IILF attendees or published by hosting organizations. These resources are cross-posted within their respective IILF year, and this final series is intended to serve as an easy reference point for patrons looking for publications regarding the Forum.