Posted to the Ethnos Project by on September 2nd, 2012


Sovereignty, self-determination, and self-governance are primary goals of Indigenous nations worldwide—and they take important steps toward those goals by renewing control over their stories, documents, and artifacts. In the U.S., the last 30 years have been a remarkable period of reasserted and reaffirmed authority over such cultural patrimony through the creation of tribal archives, libraries, and museums. Through these institutions, American Indian, Alaska Native, and Native Hawaiian peoples are able “to control their own past and, in so doing, to take charge of their present and future.”

This is indisputably important work. To better support it, a core team of Native professionals formed the Association of Tribal, Archives, Libraries, and Museums (ATALM) in 2010. ATALM provides training, networking, and key information for the directors, managers, and staff of tribal cultural institutions (see In winter 2010–2011, with a grant from the Institute of Museum and Library Services, it also launched the first-ever comprehensive survey of tribal archives, libraries, and museums (TALMs), in an effort to document member organizations’ institutional structure, outreach, and needs.

This report summarizes findings from the survey. It is organized into 13 sections: sample description, management and operations, staff, training, finances, technology, digitization, programs and education, audience and visitation, conservation, archives, libraries, and museums.

About the Association of Tribal Archives, Libraries, and Museums

Incorporated in 2010, the Association of Tribal Archives, Libraries, and Museums is a non-profit organization that is building on the foundation of earlier efforts that began in 2002 with the first National Conference of Tribal Archives, Libraries, and Museums held in Mesa, Arizona sponsored by the Arizona State Museum and the Arizona State Library, Archives, and Public Records.

Subsequent conferences, workshops, and institutes were held in Phoenix in 2005, again sponsored by Arizona State Museum and the Arizona State Library, Archives, and Public Records, in Oklahoma city in 2007 and 2008, sponsored by the Oklahoma Department of Libraries and the Oklahoma Museums Association, and in Portland, Oregon in2009, sponsored by the Oregon State Library.

The programs were funded by the Institute of Museum and Library Services with grant awards made to the Arizona State Museum and the Western Council of State Libraries.

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This publication is shared here with the kind permission of the copyright holder.
Copyright © 2012 The Association of Tribal Archives, Libraries, and Museums.

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