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 home >> collections & research services >> online collections >> event archive >> archive of past symposia >> saa pre-conference symposium 2006

Experience the Event

Society of American Archivists
Pre-Conference Symposium:
Ethnographic Archives, Communities of Origin, and Intangible Cultural Heritage

Wednesday, August 2, 2006

Co-sponsors:
American Folklife Center, Library of Congress
National Anthropological Archives & Human Studies Film Archives, Smithsonian Institution
Native American Archives Roundtable, Society of American Archivists

About the Symposium

This symposium was held in conjunction with the 2006 annual meetings of the Society of American Archivists. It explored issues related to managing, preserving, and providing access to ethnographic, multi-format collections, focusing on the special challenges posed by materials pertaining to Native American and indigenous communities. Experts, including archives and library professionals, community representatives, and fieldworkers, discussed the practical, political, and cultural challenges involved in curating such collections, and the implications of national and international protocols designed to safeguard intangible cultural property.

Discussion and keynote addresses in the morning were followed by an afternoon demonstration/workshop by the staff of the American Folklife Center, Library of Congress. The demonstration provided opportunities to learn about the preservation and processing of multi-format collections at one of the nation's premier ethnographic repositories. The symposium concluded with an open forum, where speakers discussed ways in which archival institutions, Native people, and fieldworkers have negotiated access restrictions or the repatriation of intangible cultural knowledge from federal, state, university, and tribal archives.

Participants attending this symposium:
  • Considered the issues that may arise when “repatriating” or disseminating intangible cultural heritage materials in collections;
  • Developed an appreciation for the complexity of the legal and ethical issues regarding indigenous cultural property;
  • Received recommended readings of additional resources on these legal and ethical issues;
  • Learned practical approaches to processing multi-format ethnographic collections or multi-format documentation of cultural events;
  • Discovered how digitization of ethnographic materials may pose additional challenges regarding access; and
  • Learned about international protocols designed to safeguard intangible cultural heritage.

Who should attend?

Archivists and librarians in tribal communities; archivists with cultural heritage materials in their collections; and all those interested in access to and processing of multi-format collections that include such materials. Attendance is limited to 50.

Schedule

9:00-10:15 am - National Museum of the American Indian (4th Floor), Smithsonian Institution

Speakers focused attention on the implications of legal mechanisms and other initiatives that have emerged in the wake of the Native American Graves Protection and Repatriation Act (NAGPRA), the federal law enacted in 1990. One such initiative is the Protocols for Native American Archival Materials, now being developed by a collective of Native and non-Native scholars. Speakers include Suzan Shown Harjo, Morningstar Institute; Jane Sledge, NMAI; Michael Brown, Williams College; and Karen Underhill, Northern Arizona University. The morning gathering at NMAI provided the background for specific case studies concerning Native American and other communities presented during the afternoon session.

11:00-12:30 pm- Mumford Room, Madison Building (6th floor), Library of Congress

A demonstration/workshop by AFC archival and processing staff provided opportunities for symposium registrants to learn about procedures and challenges in the care, preservation and maintenance of multi-format documentation at one of the nation's premier ethnographic repositories. AFC staff provided practical examples of how to treat and process a range of media and materials and discuss protocols and best practices for the benefit of attendees.

12:30-1:30 pm - Lunch

1:30-5:30 pm - Mumford Room, Madison Building (6th floor), Library of Congress

In consecutive panel sessions, speakers discussed ways in which archival institutions, Native people, and fieldworkers have negotiated access restrictions to or the return of intangible cultural knowledge from federal, state, university, and tribal archives. Case studies included examples drawn from the experiences of Native American archives/library professionals, community representatives, ethnographers, collections managers in federal cultural organizations, and others working to provide for the return of cultural documentation to local communities. Speakers for the first panel session included: Rob Leopold, NAA/HSFA; Ken Bilby, SI Associate; Margaret Mills, Ohio State University, and Linda Barwick, PARADISEC. The second panel session included: Jennifer Walele, State Department; David George-Shongo, SNI Archives and Native American Archives Roundtable; Susan Secakuku, Secakuku Consulting, Hopi, AZ; and Alvin Windy Boy, Sr. Tribal Historic Preservation Officer, Chippewa Cree Tribe. As this is an open forum, audience participation and discussion is invited and anticipated.

Speakers

  • Linda Barwick, Director, Pacific and Regional Archive for Digital Sources in Endangered Cultures, University of Sydney, Australia [read bio]
  • Ken Bilby, Smithsonian Institution Research Associate, Department of Anthropology; Guggenheim Fellow; Rhinebeck, New York[read bio]
  • Michael F. Brown, Lambert Professor of Anthropology, Williams College [read bio]
  • David George-Shongo, (Seneca), Tribal Archivist, Seneca Nation of Indians Archives; Chair, Native American Archives Roundtable (SAA) [read bio]
  • Margaret Kruesi, Cataloger, American Folklife Center, Library of Congress [read bio]
  • Robert Leopold, Director, National Anthropological Archives and Human Studies Film Archives, Smithsonian Institution [read bio]
  • Margaret Mills, Professor, Near Eastern Languages and Cultures, The Ohio State University [read bio]
  • Susan Secakuku, (Hopi), Secakuku Consulting, Second Mesa, Arizona [read bio]
  • Guha Shankar, Folklife Specialist, American Folklife Center, Library of Congress [read bio]
  • Suzan Shown Harjo, (Cheyenne & Hodulgee Muscogee), President, The Morning Star Institute [read bio]
  • Jane Sledge, Cultural Resources Center, National Museum of the American Indian, Smithsonian Institution [read bio]
  • Karen Underhill, Head, Special Collections and Archives Department, Cline Library, Northern Arizona University [read bio]
  • Jennifer O'Neal Walele, (The Confederated Tribes of Grand Ronde/Chinook), Historian, U.S. Department of State [read bio]
  • Alvin Windy Boy, Sr., (Chippewa Cree), Tribal Historic Preservation Officer, Chippewa Cree Tribe [read bio]

 

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