Successful approaches to decolonizing archives
For Immediate Release
ALA Publishing & Media
American Library Association
CHICAGO — Simply put, decolonial archival practices involve thinking about and consciously changing how historical knowledge is produced, communicated, and preserved. And though it is especially critical that scholars and archivists who work with records by and about Indigenous people critically consider the implications of their work, this perspective is an essential one for all members of the profession. Published by ALA Neal-Schuman in partnership with the Society of American Archivists (SAA), “Decolonial Archival Futures,” written by Krista McCracken and Skylee-Storm Hogan-Stacey, challenges non-Indigenous practitioners to consider constructs of knowledge, which histories we tell, and how the past is presented. The book includes a Foreword by Ricardo L. Punzalan. Guided by the authors’ incisive synthesis of theory and current practice, readers will learn:
- where Western archival practice is situated in relation to the colonial histories of Canada, the United States, Australia, and New Zealand, and the ways in which archival structures have reinforced colonial relationships;
- a working definition of decolonial archival practice, which is rooted in concepts of community, reciprocity, and a desire to actively resist colonial recordkeeping practices;
- the implications of this approach for policy making, collection development, and arrangement and description;
- methods for reframing or reworking original order and provenance using digital technology, community participation, and removing hierarchical structures in order to meet the needs of Indigenous communities;
- examples of community-driven descriptive practices, in which Indigenous knowledge and languages are infused into archival description at both the fonds and file level;
- how the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UNDRIP), the Protocols for Native American Archival Material, the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Library and Information Resources Network Protocols, and other cultural stewardship protocols can be implemented within archival practice; and
- more about the relationship building work that settler communities and researchers still need to do, demonstrated using examples of partnerships rooted in Indigenous knowledge structures, kinship ties, and relationships with the land.
Examination copies are available for instructors who are interested in adopting this title for course use.
McCracken (they/them) is an award-winning public historian and archivist. They work as a Researcher/Curator at Algoma University’s Arthur A. Wishart Library and Shingwauk Residential Schools Centre, in Baawating (Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario) on the traditional territory of the Anishinaabe and Métis people. Krista is an editor of the popular Canadian history website activehistory.ca. In 2020, they won the best article in Indigenous History prize awarded by the Canadian Historical Association’s Indigenous History Group for their article “Challenging Colonial Spaces: Reconciliation and Decolonizing Work in Canada’s Archives.” Hogan-Stacey (they/them) is a historian and researcher currently living and working on the unceded territory of the Algonquin Anishinaabek in Ottawa, Ontario. A descendant of the Mohawk Nation of Kahnawà:ke, Skylee-Storm has explored Indigenous-Crown legal histories, the legacy of Residential Schools, Indigenous stories of resistance, and oral histories of Kahnawà:ke elders. Skylee-Storm works with Know History Historical Services as an Associate in their Ottawa office.
Founded in 1936, the Society of American Archivists is North America's oldest and largest national professional association dedicated to the needs and interests of archives and archivists. SAA represents more than 6,200 professional archivists employed by governments, universities, businesses, libraries, and historical organizations nationally.
ALA Store purchases fund advocacy, awareness and accreditation programs for library and information professionals worldwide. ALA Editions | Neal-Schuman publishes resources used by library and information professionals, scholars, students, and educators to improve programs and services, build on best practices, enhance pedagogy, share research, develop leadership, and promote advocacy. ALA authors and developers are leaders in their fields, and their content is published in a variety of print and electronic formats. Contact ALA Editions | Neal-Schuman at email@example.com.