Labriola Center receives $1M from Mellon Foundation for ‘Firekeepers’ initiative

ASU center to use new funding to build archives partnerships with tribal nations in Arizona

Several years ago, when Alexander Soto (Tohono O’odham), director of the Labriola National American Indian Data Center at the ASU Library , facilitated community-driven archives workshops , the need to create a new model that allows tribal nations to actively engage in creating their archives became apparent.

“What I learned from community-driven archives is that our grandparents, aunties and elders are all archivists without knowing it. They hold family and community histories in photos and recordings,” said Soto. “As Indigenous people, we understand that our stories need protection to maintain their power. Indigenous ways of knowing are important sources of knowledge.”

Now, a new project to build archives partnerships with Arizona’s tribal nations has found support from the nation’s largest arts and humanities foundation. The Labriola Center was recently awarded a $1 million grant from the Mellon Foundation for “Firekeepers: Building Archival Data Sovereignty through Indigenous Memory Keeping.” The three-year project will allow the center to better support tribal nations that are seeking to establish archival collections.

A principal investigator on the project, Soto will lead a team to build best practices that allow Arizona State University to engage with tribal nations as equals in a reciprocal process of designing archives that meet their needs.

“This is what archival data sovereignty is, and it’s important because this represents a shift from the power dynamics of the past, when non-tribal cultural heritage institutions extracted Indigenous knowledge and information without […]

Click here to view original article at