A. Brian Deer

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A. Brian Deer
Alec Brian Deer

(1945-01-10)January 10, 1945[1]
Died (aged 74)[2]
EducationJohn Grant High School(1962)[3]
Sir George Williams(BSci, Math, 1966)
McGill(MLS, 1974)
Entrepreneur (Otiohkwa Video)
Scholar (2001-2012)[3]
Known forBrian Deer Classification System

Alec Brian Deer (1945 – January 12, 2019) was a Kahnawake Mohawk librarian known for the development of a library classification system for the National Indian Brotherhood that became known as the Brian Deer Classification System.[4] This classification system, which takes Indigenous knowledge structures into account, has been extended and adapted for use by other libraries in Canada.[5][6][7] Deer died on January 12, 2019 at the Royal-Victoria hospital in Montreal.[8]


After graduating from John Grant High School in 1962, Deer obtained a Bachelor of Science in Mathematics in 1966. Several years later, Deer pursued a Master of Library Science at McGill University which he completed in 1974.


Deer's work on classification has had wide impact on the practice of librarianship and on the theory of knowledge organization, especially as it relates to Indigenous peoples.[9] A. Brian Deer was one of the first Indigenous librarians in Canada.[9] He worked at the library of the National Indian Brotherhood (NIB) in Ottawa, Canada. Finding the system of classification in use problematic, and finding nothing in existence which could adequately organize the materials for use in an Indigenous context, he created a new system. Deer went on to work at the Union of British Columbia Indian Chiefs library, the Cultural Centre at Kahnawake, and the Mohawk Nation Office.[9][1]


Deer was also an active independent scholar, elder, teacher and community member. He wrote on issues related to Indigenous knowledge and culture and taught courses at Concordia University.[10][11] He also ran a video store at Kahnawake.[12]


  1. ^ a b Rowe, Daniel J. (2019-02-07). "Humble intellectual leaves unique legacy". The Eastern Door. Retrieved 2019-02-09.
  2. ^ "DEER Alec Brian 19452019, death notice, Canada". Canada Obituaries. 15 January 2019. Retrieved 9 February 2019.
  3. ^ a b "Alec Brian Deer: About". Facebook. Retrieved 2019-01-25.
  4. ^ Dupont, Sarah (2015). Indigenization of Knowledge Organization at the Xwi7xwa Library (Thesis). University of British Columbia.
  5. ^ Lee, Deborah; Kumaran, Mahalakshmi (2014-06-11). Aboriginal and Visible Minority Librarians: Oral Histories from Canada. Rowman & Littlefield. ISBN 9781442236820.
  6. ^ "Indigenous Knowledge Organization | Xwi7xwa Library". xwi7xwa.library.ubc.ca. Retrieved 2019-01-17.
  7. ^ "Aboriginal Library". Aboriginal Education. Retrieved 2019-01-17.
  8. ^ "Remembering the life of Alec DEER". montrealgazette.remembering.ca. Retrieved 2019-01-17.
  9. ^ a b c Cherry, Alissa (2015). "A Case Study in Indigenous Classification: Revisiting and Reviving the Brian Deer Scheme". Cataloging & Classification Quarterly. 53 (5–6): 548–567. doi:10.1080/01639374.2015.1008717.
  10. ^ "History 170 - Indigenous Peoples of North America - Prof. Alice Nash - Umass Amherst". people.umass.edu. Retrieved 2019-01-17.
  11. ^ Greer, Allan (2004-11-25). Mohawk Saint: Catherine Tekakwitha and the Jesuits. Oxford University Press. ISBN 9780198038993.
  12. ^ "Local video shop making big changes". kahnawakenews.com. Retrieved 2019-01-17.