Published on February 16, 2014
The Protocols for Native American Archival Materials Challenge and Opportunity
International Declarations • UNESCO Convention on the Means of Prohibiting and Preventing the Illicit Import, Export, and Transfer of Ownership and Cultural Property (1970) • United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (1994)
Australia • Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders Protocols for Libraries, Archives and Information Services (1995)
United States • Native American Graves Protection and Repatriation Act [NAGPRA] (1990)
Protocols for Native American Archival Materials • Developed by a group of 15 Native Americans, First Nation and Aboriginal information professionals, scholars and 4 non-native archivists at Northern Arizona University (2007) • Goal to develop best practices for culturally responsive care and use of American Indian archival material held by non-tribal organizations.
United States • Freedom of information is a basic right • Archives mission to collect and conserve cultural records
Native American Tribes • Knowledge is traditionally transmitted selectively within communities • Unique status as Sovereign Nations
Eurocentric Values Organized religions are widely recognized as sacred… • Knowledge found in religious texts: e.g. Torah, Bible, Qu’ran; • Items: e.g. rosaries, crucifixes, statues; • Rites: e.g. baptism, bris, Adhan …all these are mystical, but they are not private, not privileged, secret knowledge.
Indigenous Knowledge Systems Native communities would not willingly shared knowledge outside of their own people, let alone allow it to be on display, and freely accessible by the public in Western archives.
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