This work examines the historic and current policies regarding Native American archives, detailing the broader historic landscape of information services for tribal communities, the initiative to develop tribal archives in Indian Country, and the activism surrounding the proper care and management of Native American archive collections at non-Native repositories. Utilizing Vine Deloria's "Right to Know" call to action, the paper analyzes major activities and achievements of the national indigenous archives movement with a specific focus on archival activists and tribal communities in the American West who were at the forefront of a grassroots movement to establish and develop tribal archives, return and secure tribal history and rights during the restoration era, and establish training and best practices for the respectful care of indigenous collections. Possible next steps are suggested for decolonizing Native American archives within the context of the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.

Author Biography

Jennifer R. O'Neal is the Corrigan Solari University Historian and Archivist at the University of Oregon Libraries Special Collections and University Archives. Previously, she served as the Head Archivist at the National Museum of the American Indian Archive Center at the Smithsonian Institution. She is the immediate past chair of the Society of American Archivists Native American Archives Roundtable and currently serves as the Co-Chair of the Cultural Heritage Working Group. She received a Master’s in Library Science from University of Arizona and a Master’s in History from Utah State University. She is a member of The Confederated Tribes of Grand Ronde in Oregon.



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