My literature analysis of research related to library service to Native American communities shows my understanding of the political and ethical aspects of information access, ownership, service, and communication, in that it questions how researchers and librarians understand these aspects themselves.
In the paper, I provide examples of instances when neither the researchers nor the librarians in the study recognized that they were acting contrary to the ethics, values, and foundational principals, for example, falling prey to “white savior complex” in serving patrons, making statements such as “Truly, there are folks who think I walk on water [because] of the help I give.” Here, the librarian has misunderstood the role of library and information professionals. Another defends actions perceived as racist by patrons and questions the accusation, rather than taking stock of behavior and adapting to patron feedback. In failing to do so, the librarian fails to understand the social, economic, and cultural policies and trends of significance to the library and information profession. The example of inviting Elders to storytime shows that the librarian doesn’t take the time to understand patron needs before assuming what they are and trying to fill them.
In recognizing these faults in the application of the political and ethical aspects of information access, I indicate that I must know what the appropriate applications of these aspects of access are. And in offering the suggestion that librarians pursue a different perspective toward service to Native American communities by seeking out barriers to access that are unique to Native communities instead of barriers that are common to populations with low usage rates, I demonstrate understanding of the social, public, economic, and cultural policies and trends of significance to the library and information profession.