Northern Utah Speaks is an in-depth ethnographic effort by Utah State University Libraries’ Special Collections and Archives (SCA) to bring diverse voices of Northern Utah communities into the Archives. Since 2006, the focus is with social justice in mind as SCA endeavors to bring the voices of underrepresented and historically excluded people into the Archives. Calls to make archival records more inclusive stretch back fifty years, however for many archival institutions this work has moved forward in fits and starts, if at all, and most often without the input and assistance from the community to be studied, collected, and included. In 2007, USU partnered with the local Latino community to produce the award-winning Latino/a Voices Project that collaboratively and ethically gathered, preserved, and now presents the voices from Cache Valley’s robust Latinx communities. The interviews explore the richness and diversity of Latinos and Latinas in Cache Valley. Through archiving the voices from a small but representational section of the local Latinx community, the Project allows opportunities for equal participation and representation of the Hispanic community in the local archive, and thus the social fabric of the community for present and future researchers, enhancing scholars’ ability to reconstruct our shared history.

Author Biography

Randy Williams is an assistant librarian at Utah State University where she serves as the Fife Folklore Archives Curator and Oral History Specialist in the Libraries' Special Collections & Archives and she is affiliated faculty with USU’s Folklore Program. Along with managing the world-renowned Fife Folklore Archives, she directs USU’s community-based fieldwork projects, bringing the voices of diverse people from the Intermountain West, many historically excluded, into the Archives. Recent projects include Voices from Drug Court, Election Reflections, the Cache Valley Refugee Oral History Project, Jackson Hole Dude Ranching Tradition: Triangle X, and the Great Salt Lake Wetlands Project, a joint effort of Utah State University, Weber State University, the University of Utah, and Westminster College. With Professor Lisa Gabbert, she directed the 2015 and 2017 Library of Congress/USU Ethnographic Field School for Cultural Documentation. Along with Elisaida Méndez, she received a Human Ties award for their work on the Latinx Voices Project. She is the recipient of a 2017 USU Diversity Award. Williams is on the Board of Directors of Utah Humanities, the Folklore Society of Utah, and the Cache Refugee and Immigrant Connection, and she is the Archival Liaison for the American Folklore Society. Eduardo Ortiz Ph.D. is a Senior Research Scientist at the Research and Training Division of the Center for Persons with Disabilities (CPD) at the College of Education of Utah State University (USU). Eduardo is also professor at Casagrande University of Ecuador, adjunct assistant professor at the Dept. of Sociology, Social Work, and Anthropology at USU, and Core Faculty of the Utah Regional Leadership Educational in Neurodevelopmental Disabilities URLEND program. He has been working more than 15 years on research, evaluation and training projects and programs at the CPD – USU in many different positions including Principal and Co-principal Investigator of many different projects and programs working with diverse multicultural populations at the national and international levels. As a Latino person, he has been very sensitive to include culturally and linguistically competent approaches for all minority diverse populations he had the opportunity and privilege to work with. Maria Luisa Spicer-Escalante is a professor in Linguistics and Spanish in the College of Humanities and Social Sciences at Utah State University. She has received the Fulbright-García Robles scholarship in Mexico. In that role, she coordinated with the languages faculty at the Universidad Nacional Autónoma de Chiapas (UNACH, or Autonomous University of Chiapas in Mexico). At USU, Spicer-Escalante has developed curriculum for teaching language acquisition to non-native English speakers, an area that has been under-recognized. She also assisted in the development of the dual immersion program in Utah’s public schools.

Additional Files

Randy Williams_bio.20180526.docx (12 kB)
Randy Williams bio


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