Protocols for Native American Archival Materials
The University of New Mexico, University Libraries (UL) have endorsed the Protocols for Native American Archival Materials which guides non-tribal libraries, archives, and museums to follow tribal protocol for access to culturally specific and culturally sensitive information. The intent of the Protocols is to communicate the concern of protecting cultural information from Native American nations housed in non-tribal repositories.
The Center for Southwest Research & Special Collections (CSWR) has many strengths including stewardship of original tribal information represented in collections. The scope of Native American materials in CSWR focus on New Mexico and the southwest region of the United States, although some information on tribal nations from outside of the region are also included. Collections originate from various collectors, researchers, government entities, institutions, and Native American informants. CSWR recognizes that some materials were collected as part of historic field research and contain culturally sensitive information. There is also evidence of items in collections lacking expressed permissions for access. CSWR intends to seek consultation from cultural preservation departments and community reviewers to determine appropriate cultural protocol for materials identified as such.
Practices implemented at University Libraries include:
- Consulting with Tribal Historic Preservation Departments
- Aligning Cultural Protocol with Archival Management
- Digital Repatriation
- Reciprocated Relationship Building
Endorsing the Protocols is a new endeavor and activity for UL & CSWR. Our procedures with researchers and donors may change and be refined with time and experience. In seeking consultation with Pueblo and tribal nations, UL and CSWR aspire to create trusting relationships. Librarians, archivists, and curators of University Libraries intend to be respectful of tribal material in collections, of providing appropriate access, and of future collecting. We are honored with the responsibility of caring for tribal material, important in providing depth to the story of New Mexico and important for tribal nations from which the information originates.