Gerald Vizenor. Native Provenance: The Betrayal of Cultural Creativity.

Ricardo L. Punzalan


This is a critical moment for those who care for Native American and Indigenous archives. After much discussion, debate, and years of tireless advocacy, the Protocols for Native American Archival Materials has finally been endorsed by our leading professional organizations. The Association of College and Research Libraries, following the request of the Rare Books and Manuscript Section (RBMS), endorsed the Protocols in August 2019. In 2018, the Council of the Society of American Archivists unanimously endorsed the Protocols, accompanied by an apology for the many years of inaction. Following these endorsements, the next step for us is not only to continue its promotion and implementation, but also grow our understanding of what it means to be responsible stewards of items in our care. The Protocols articulate foundational concepts for our professional practice, including notions of cultural sensitivity and reciprocity. We can further expand our thinking and practice in this area by engaging with the works of prominent thinkers. Among these is Anishinaabe cultural theorist, writer, and scholar Gerald Vizenor’s most recent book, Native Provenance: The Betrayal of Cultural Creativity.

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