Acknowledgement of Problematic Subject Headings

Concordia University of Edmonton Library recognizes that our catalogue and resource descriptions contain language that reflects the biases, norms, and perspectives of the time in which they were created. In particular, for resources about persons and groups, this language is often outdated and harmful.

These descriptions also incorporate controlled vocabularies, such as the Library of Congress Subject Headings, which include some headings (e.g., Indians of North America), that are offensive and inappropriate. We have historically used international standards for description, however, we are now working towards updating and changing these practices. Our goal is to provide descriptions that are accurate, appropriate, inclusive, respectful, and no longer cause harm.

We acknowledge the critical importance of community consultation in these efforts. As guests within the territory of the Treaty No. 6 Nations and the Métis Nation of Alberta (Region IV), we commit to working collaboratively with Indigenous peoples to make these necessary changes.


Concordia University of Edmonton Library would like to thank the NEOS Decolonizing Description Working Group for developing this statement and for advocating for the decolonization of our collection descriptions. We also give thanks to CUE’s Elders Advisory Council and CUE’s Indigenous Knowledge and Research Centre Manager, Danielle Powder, for their feedback and guidance on this statement.