Bristow Library Opens New Room Dedicated To Oklahoma Tribal History

A new genealogy room at the Bristow Library is giving people a chance to learn more about Oklahoma's tribal history.

Thursday, February 23rd 2023, 5:30 am



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A new genealogy room at the Bristow Library is giving people a chance to learn more about Oklahoma's tribal history.

The Choska Talfa Room has a variety of collections which translates to 'Place of the Post Oaks' in the Muscogee language and is what the Bristow area used to be called.

Library leaders say they hope this new room serves as a space where all of the state's history can be viewed.

The new room also features hands-on opportunities for people to do extensive research using microfilm.

Library leaders want the site to be a representation of indigenous historical work and resources with all 39 indigenous cultures represented.

Bristow Public Library Executive Director Heather Hutto says everything is organized by a "Fus Fixico" classification system, specifically for tribal and Oklahoma history.

“A lot of the controlled vocabularies and subject headings that are used predominantly throughout all libraries throughout the United States used very outdated and inappropriate terminology. It's not only offensive, but it does not promote equitable representation among social groups," said Hutto. "For us restructuring the room and devising the classification system not just creates more equitable representation in our collections but the system itself can grow in tandem.”

Hutto hopes the genealogy room can serve as a pilot for other libraries to launch similar collections. She is also hoping for feedback from tribal cultures with the newly created classification system and various collections they have.

“The Dewey Decimal System, which is what is used the most in public libraries in the state of Oklahoma. There is just 1 number for all of Oklahoma history and that is 976. Oklahoma history is far too broad in scope and far too nuanced to be equitably represented by 1 single call number,” Hutto said.

In the future, Hutto hopes the library can make some of its collection of documents more easily accessible to the public online.

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