Cline Library Image NAU.PH.2003.11.10.1.A9656 Cline Library Image NAU.PH. Cline Library Image NAU.PH.96.4.334.35 Cline Library Image NAU.PH. Protocols for Native American Archival Materials

The Protocols



Laws and Ethical Codes


Contact Information

First Archivists Circle

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Protocols for Native American Archival Materials


These Protocols describe, from a Native American perspective, best practices for the culturally responsive care of American Indian archival collections held in non-tribal repositories.  The Native American and non-tribal archivists, librarians, anthropologists, and historians who developed the Protocols hope that this project will initiate a national discussion on professional policy and practice issues among archivists, librarians, and Native Americans.

The goals of these Protocols are:

To bring an awareness of issues relating to American Indian archival resources to archivists, librarians, and Native communities, especially as these relate to intellectual property, ethics, preservation, handling, access and use;

To encourage non-Native collecting institutions small and large to engage in consultation with relevant Native American communities and pueblos on these collections;

To outline some reasons why consultation is essential and useful and to give information on the basics for such consultation;

To open the way to a view that different approaches to knowledge have equal validity and impact archivists and librarians in their professional work with collections;

To help archivists, librarians, and Native American communities to work together to improve descriptive information, appropriate care, and ethical use of collections;

To bring about a renewed exchange between institutions and communities, archivists, librarians, and researchers about collections and resources on one hand, and problems and issues on the other hand;

To heighten awareness of, and encourage researchers to adhere to, Native American community protocols for work in those communities;

To increase an awareness of Native American sovereignty, intellectual approaches, and laws or community among non-Native archivists, librarians and researchers.

Librarians and archivists should be aware that, as each repository is unique and must adapt the Protocols to its own context, each tribe, band, and community is unique.  Similarly, the Protocols will need to be interpreted and applied to meet the needs of the materials of the specific tribal community.