In this article I examine the landscape of tribal or Indigenous archival management as it relates to digital assets and, more specifically, how these might help us reimagine the intellectual property needs of local, traditional, and indigenous communities, libraries, archives, and museums as they seek to manage, preserve, and reuse their digital cultural heritage. The colonial collecting project was a destructive mechanism by which Native materials were unhinged from their local places and knowledge and at the same time used as markers of Native erasure. As part of a practical solution to contemporary intellectual property dilemmas faced by Indigenous peoples globally due in large part to the residue of the colonial landscape, I will introduce the Local Contexts project and the Traditional Knowledge License and Label platform (www.localcontexts.org) as one intervention into the sometimes-confusing arena of Indigenous intellectual property rights and the digital commons.

Author Biography

Kimberly Christen Withey is an Associate Professor in the Department of English, the Associate Director of the Digital Culture and Technology Program and the Director of Digital Projects at the Plateau Center, Native American Programs Office at Washington State University. Her academic research focuses on the intersection of digital technologies, archival practices, cultural heritage movements and intellectual property rights within indigenous communities and the global commons. Dr. Christen is currently directing the Plateau Peoples’ Web Portal an online collaboratively curated site for Plateau cultural materials house at the WSU Libraries and Mukurtu CMS a free, open source digital archive and content management tool specifically designed to meet the needs of indigenous communities as they manage and share their digital cultural heritage. Dr. Withey is also a co-director of Local Contexts, an educational website and platform for traditional knowledge licenses and labels. More of Dr. Withey’s work, including publications and projects, can be found at her website: www.kimchristen.com and you can follow her on twitter @Mukurtu.



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