Updated July 2018
Penobscot Nation and University of Maine sign MOU
On May 10th, 2018 an historic Memorandum of Understanding was finalized between the Penobscot Nation and the University of Maine after a decade of collaborations. The MOU addresses past research practices and collections, as well as formalizing current cultural heritage management and care processes across the university. The MOU formalizes the inclusion of Penobscot perspectives and decision-making in the future management of Penobscot tangible and intangible heritage and recognizes the Penobscot Nation as the cultural authority over Penobscot heritage. It also recognizes that the University of Maine is located on Penobscot traditional territories. Jane Anderson worked with the Penobscot Nation to draft and negotiate the development of this agreement. The full article may be read here. Listen to an interview on the 5/15/18 on Wabanaki Windows with Jane Anderson on the MOU.
Passamaquoddy TK Labels in the Library of Congress
On June 4th the Library of Congress officially launched their use of the TK Labels. After years of collaboration, the Library will be attaching TK Labels to the select phonograph recordings in the collection of recordings from the famous Jesse Walter Fewkes Passamaquoddy Recording Collection. See the labels in use on the Library of Congress.
Local Contexts is an online platform that was developed in 2010 by Jane Anderson and Kimberly Christen (Director of Mukurtu CMS and Director of the Center for Digital Scholarship and Curation at Washington State University). The Local Contexts initiative has two objectives. Firstly, to enhance and legitimize locally based decision-making and Indigenous governance frameworks for determining ownership, access, and culturally appropriate conditions for sharing historical and contemporary collections of cultural heritage. Secondly, to promote a new classificatory, curatorial, and display paradigm and workflow for museums, libraries, and archives that hold extensive Indigenous collections. By elevating the visibility of erased or marginalized voices from collection and exhibition practice, the Local Contexts initiative works to significantly impact how Indigenous perspectives about the management of these ethnographic collections are defined and incorporated into contemporary practice. By adding missing information and facilitating new collaborative and reciprocal relationships between Indigenous communities and cultural institutions, this project increases knowledge about how ethnographic collections should be accessed, shared, governed, circulated, used and curated within institutions and by other non-Indigenous users of this cultural content.
Passamaquoddy Tribe, Maine
Working with Donald Soctomah, Wayne Newell and Molly Neptune Parker and the Wabanaki Cultural Center, Pleasant Point Museum and Indian Township Cultural Museum we are reinterpreting the first sound recordings of Passamaquoddy voices. These were also the first ever to include Native American voices in the United States. These 27 recordings were made on the phonograph when Jesse Walter Fewkes arrived in March 1890 in Calais Maine. Together we are putting together a historical puzzle as the recordings contain only fragments of Passamaquoddy songs and vocabulary. We are giving the songs back their Passamaquoddy names, adding important cultural knowledge not previously included in the historical record, adding Passamaquoddy TK Labels for future use and directing cultural authority for these recordings from the Library of Congress, who holds and makes available these items of digital heritage, to the Passamaquoddy community.
Penobscot Nation, Maine
With James E Francis, Director of the Department of Cultural and Historical Preservation at the Penobscot Nation and the Penobscot Tribal Rights and Resources Protection Board we have been working on questions of access and control of Penobscot language and cultural heritage materials within institutions across the US. This has included legal research on the copyright time frames for the protection of certain language documentation materials, the production of agreements and Memorandums of Understanding between the Penobscot Nation and other parties that hold Penobscot language materials and support in the development of a Nation-wide Intellectual Property Policy. We are currently working together to develop training and education workshops for other Native American communities on intellectual property and to support tribal governance and decision making for negotiating the return of cultural heritage from museums, archives and libraries.
Karuk Tribe, California
With Lisa Hillman, the Karuk Tribe’s Food Security Co-ordinator, we continue to work on a range of intellectual property issues facing the Tribe. This has resulted in the production of Practicing Pikyav: A Guiding Document for Collaborative Projects and Research Initiatives with the Karuk Tribe. Other work has included advice on Deeds of Gift and Transfer of Copyright documents for the Sipnuuk Digital Library. We have been working to build a unique and specific Karuk IP strategy for future research that emphasizes Karuk sovereignty over knowledge and territories.
Abbe Museum, Maine
With the Abbe Museum we are working to create decolonial strategies in the digital collection, cataloguing, archiving and circulation of Wabanaki cultural heritage held at the Abbe. This includes establishing new community processes of vetting material, adding adapted TK Labels and recognizing Wabanaki authority and sovereignty over their collections. We are collaborating on an NEH grant for this work.
American Folklife Center, Library of Congress
With the staff at the American Folklife Center we are working to create new pathways for adding Indigenous community perspectives about the collection and circulation of valuable cultural heritage. Initially collaborating with the Passamaquoddy communities of Pleasant Point and Indian Township over the correct Passamaquoddy access conditions for their sound recordings, we are developing new workflows for the implementation of the TK Labels into the Library of Congress. This includes creating new metadata standards for MARC records, as well as ongoing templates for institutional engagement and collaboration over these kinds of special collections.
Atlas of Living Australia, Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organization, Australia
With the Atlas of Living Australia and CSIRO in Australia, we are working to develop a new suite of TK Labels for traditional ecological knowledge (TEK) that allows for community protocols to be embedded within core digital infrastructure of biodiversity databases. This project includes community collaboration on the development of the new labels, as well as the development of new metadata standards within DwC for identification and transfer of labels across various digital platforms. It also includes workshops and ongoing community support for free and informed consent (FPIC) and sharing non-confidential ecological knowledge.
Indigenous Friend App
The Indigenous Friends App was developed by Alejandro Mayoral Baños to support Indigenous youth entering into university contexts away from their family and community support networks. Jane is working with Alejandro to protect the traditional knowledge and Indigenous methodologies used to develop this app including how these are recognized within the end-use license agreements (EULAs), and general IP and TK clauses.
Through the colonial collecting endeavor, Native American, First Nations, Inuit, Metis and Aboriginal peoples’ lives and cultural practices were collected, documented and recorded at unprecedented levels. During this period, cultural heritage was removed from communities and detached from local knowledge systems. These early colonial collecting endeavors were haphazard and largely contingent on personalities, alliances and allegiances to individuals both in ‘the field’ and those within the institutions requesting specific kinds of Indigenous material. As a result, collections and documentation became mixed, messy and inconsistent. This is an ongoing problem for communities seeking to access their collections. This project is working to visually and digitally map collectors (anthropologists/archaeologists/others), the communities that they worked within, and where the material objects and intangible cultural material gathered from these colonial encounters now reside, including what the current institutional access conditions are for Indigenous communities. This project is getting at the reality that tribes have their cultural heritage collections in multiple institutions, and that collecting institutions can have collections from hundreds of tribes. This is a project was initially conceived with Sonya Atalay, Andrea Geyer, Amy Lonetree, and Maria Montenegro. It has expanded to include collaboration with three communities (Karuk, Penobscot and Passamaquoddy), Eugenia Kisin and students from NYU Program in Museum Studies, Department of Anthropology and Gallatin School of Individualized Study.