Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Traditional Buckskin Dress Found in Garbage Dump

This traditional dress was found in the garbage at Capilano, Vancouver, British Columbia. It is suspected that it may come from Alberta or the States. If you have any information about the owner, please contact:

Alice Besito
Financial Aide Worker
West & Central Regions
Sto:lo Nation Social Development
Phone: 604-847-3299
Fax: 604-847-3280

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Cultural Respect in Preservation and Conservation

This topic will be discussed at the North Carolina Preservation Consortium Annual Conference, which will be held on November 20, 2008 at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

Preservation and conservation of collections in libraries, archives, museums, and historic sites are guided by professional ethics, standards, guidelines, and best practices.

This year's North Carolina Preservation Consortium (NCPC) annual conference will address the issues of cultural respect. Objects of material culture often hold intangible values for the community of origin. Do collection institution leaders honor these values with policies of respect and community collaboration? Some artifacts may not be intended for use or view by the public. Do collection institution caretakers place restrictions on access and exhibition? Some communities may wish to use artifacts in traditional ceremonies and rituals. Do collection institution stewards approve such requests? Some communities believe their cultural objects should deteriorate naturally. Do preservation and conservation professionals permit this to happen? We often profess to champion diversity in our collections. Do we respect multicultural perspectives on the preservation and conservation of heritage collections? Is there a moral imperative to preserve and conserve books, manuscripts, documents, photographs, film, sound recordings, art, and artifacts?

One of the papers presented at the Indigenous Graduate Student Research Conference discussed ancient baskets. During the discussion it was mentioned that there are some tribes in California which view baskets as sentient beings which are created for a specific use and that it was wrong to put them in glass cases where they could not be handled and touched, where they would not be allowed to do the task they were intended for, and where they would not be allowed to die a natural death.

I find this a fascinating topic. I'm hoping that I have the chance to read more and perhaps write a paper on this topic for my class on Preservation this summer.

Saturday, April 26, 2008


I'm going to the Northwest Archivists & ARMA 2008 Spring Conference being held May 28-31 at the University of Alaska in Anchorage. This afternoon I came across this AP article: Anchorage digs out from snow again.

Anchorage continues to dig out from a snowfall that set a record for the day and the month. The National Weather Service says 17.2 inches fell at its office just south of Anchorage's international airport and 22 inches fell in northeast Anchorage on Friday and Saturday.

I hope it melts quickly.

Thursday, April 24, 2008

Copyright Slider: Quick Easy Access to Copyright Laws and Guidelines

I'm taking a class on Copyright this semester and, while doing some research, came across this handy little tool, a creation of the ALA’s Office for Information Technology Policy (OITP). You can find more official information over on ALA’s Washington Office blog (Let the OITP Copyright Slider Answer Your Questions!) and order one of your own for only a bit more than $5.

This single, sturdy product provides instant access to copyright laws and guidelines. Simply align the arrows by date of publication and determine a work’s copyright status and term. And the “Permission Needed?” box provides a quick answer to this very important question.

The Copyright Slider lets you answer questions such as :

* Is a work in the public domain?
* Do you need permission to use it?
* When does copyright expire?

What a cool little tool!

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Stories and Words

I received my copy of Easy Access, the newsletter for the Northwest Archivists, about a week ago. I have been thinking long and hard about the President's Message written by Terry Baxter. In it he talked about what we archivists are--we are the keepers of the stories-- and what records are--the stories told by someone and waiting for someone else to listen.

He quotes this powerful poem, The Forgotten Dialect of the Heart, from The Great Fires: Poems 1982-1992 by Jack Gilbert:

How astonishing it is that language can almost mean,
and frightening that it does not quite. Love we say.
God, we say. Rome and Michiko, we write, and the
get it all wrong. We say bread and it means according
to which nation. French has no word for home,
and we have no word for strict pleasure. A people
in northern India is dying out because their ancient
tongue has no words for endearment. I dream of lost
vocabularies that might express some of what
we no longer can. maybe the Etruscan texts would
finally explain why the couples on their tombs
are smiling. And maybe not. When the thousands
of mysterious Sumerian tablets were translated,
they seemed to be business records. But what if they
are poems or psalms? My joy is the same as twelve
Ethiopian goats standing silent in the morning light.
O Lord, thou art slabs of salt and ingots of cooper,
as grand as ripe barley lithe under the window's labor.
Her breats are six white oxen loaded with bolts
of long-fibered Egyptian cotton. My love is a hundred
pitchers of honey. Shiploads of thuya are what
my body wants to say to your body. Giraffes are this
desire in the dark. Perhaps the spiral Minoan script
is not language but a map. What we feel most has
no name but amber, archers, cinnamon, horses, and

And yet and yet.... When I say ma maison you may wish to translate that into English as "my house" and not "my home", but that's not quite right either. If there are not two words--one for house and one for home-- does that mean French speaking peoples have any less feeling for home and everything that home represents? Do they not get homesick even if there is no word for it?

And the people in northern India may not have words like our words that are endearments. We may recognize little bird and twinklet and poppet as endearments, but would they? Surely they must feel love and if they do then they must express it to each other. And, well, if they don't then that's the reason their people are dying out, not because they lack the words to express love.

Archivists are indeed the keepers of the stories, but the stories are not the same for us all. They're not told in the same ways. Stories important to one people may not be important to another. Some stories are sacred and profound. Some are secret. Others have more than one meaning. And all stories are more than mere words.

P.S. See The Whale Hunt, "an experiment in human storytelling" in which photographs only are used to tell a story.

Monday, April 14, 2008

Last Week-end in Portland (Spring Semester)

The Oregon EDI students (me, Chau, Terrilyn, Max, and Toan) and Dr. Agada.

Thursday, April 10, 2008

Oregon Multicultural Archives Related Resources

Last summer I took a class in repackaging information and wrote an annotated bibliography of digital web exhibits featuring Native American materials in the states served by the Northwest Archivists Association (Oregon, Washington, Idaho, Montana, and Alaska). I included exhibits which appeared to have potential as well.

These have now been incorporated in the Oregon Multicultural Archives Related Resources page. Thank you, Erika.

Sunday, April 6, 2008

Navajo Nation Likely to Lose Internet Service

I recently completed an annotated bibliography on the underserved Native Americans for one of my classes and have just returned home from Albuquerque, New Mexico, where I made many Navajo friends.

I was very saddened to read this on CNN.

Indigenous Graduate Student Research Conference

What is Indigenous Self-Determination in Education? Panelists

Tiffany Lee (Dine, Lakota)
Assistant Professor, Native American Studies UNM
Glenabah Martinez Taos Pueblo/Dine’
Assistant Professor, College of Education,UNM
Carlotta Bird (Santo Domingo Pueblo)
Indian Education Consultant
Kara Bobroff(Dine’/Lakota)
Principal, Native American Community Academy (NACA)
Trisha Moquino (Santo Domingo/Cochiti Pueblos)
Founder, Iiwas Katrusini Immersion Preschool

I have just returned from Albuquerque, New Mexico where I presented a paper at the Indigenous Graduate Student Research Conference held at the University of New Mexico. Sponsored by the Institute for American Indian Research (IFAIR), it brought together twelve Masters Degree and Ph.D candidates from the United States and Canada who presented their research papers in various disciplines.

I am honored to be have been provided with an opportunity to both share my passion for archival work and learn from others who are passionate about their fields. It was so wonderful to be a part of this community and spend time connecting with others who face many of the same challenges as I.

I am very thankful to Dr. Beverly Singer, Director of IFAIR, who organized this conference and made it possible for me to attend. Dr. Beverly Singer (Tewa/Navaho), Associate Professor of Anthropology and Native American Studies, UNM and Director of IFAIR
Zimmerman Library, University of New Mexico