T H E M E S S E N G E R , W I N T E R 2 0 1 3
able online; social media tools; professional development
networks; and project collaboration. For three of the five
days the Institute took place in The Valley Library class-
rooms, and for two of the days the group took field trips
to the Siletz and Grand Ronde tribal communities and the
Benton County Museum to look at their archival and
museum facilities. The closing dinner took place at Grand
Ronde’s Spirit Mountain Casino and included a closing
address by Dr. George B. Wasson, a Coquille Tribal Elder,
who told stories, read poems, and discussed his experiences
researching and gathering tribal history using archives.
Notably, even after a week of intensive trainings and activi-
ties, on the last day of the Institute the participants were
ready to make plans to keep in touch and meet again.
The two main objectives of the Institute were to pro-
vide an opportunity for professional development as well as
for networking and community building. David Lewis,
tribal museum curator for the Confederated Tribes of
Grand Ronde, was one of the participants in the five-day
workshop. “To have participants from all nine tribes in
Oregon really tells me that there is a need,” Lewis said,
“and we have done the right thing to pursue this project.”
Lewis said the Grand Ronde community is intimately
involved in preserving their history, and many tribal elders
assist by identifying people in archival photographs, or
donate family papers for archiving. The archives are main-
tained by tribal employees who are motivated by an inter-
est in maintaining the history of the tribe. “The training
was a way that we at Grand Ronde could increase the skills
of the staff and help them do their work better and more
efficiently,” Lewis said. “The Institute gave them ideas and
introduced them to a network of similar people and we
will need these as we move into developing a museum at
the tribe. The training was amazing, better than I had
This Institute was the result of many people working
together in their dedication to programs that help preserve
indigenous cultures. Institute coordinators and facilitators
were from the OSU Libraries, the University of Oregon
Libraries, the Smithsonian Institution’s National Museum
of the American Indian, Benton County Historical Society,
and the Oregon Folklife Network. MaryKay Dahlgreen,
Oregon State Librarian, said she appreciated the collabora-
tive effort of the Institute. “I was delighted with the level
of excitement and commitment I got from the group after
a very full week of intense work.”
Although the Institute may have only lasted a week, the
Oregon Multicultural Archives has many plans to continue
assisting the tribes with their archives and records manage-
ment programs. In order to facilitate communication
among the Institute participants as well as facilitators,
Fernández created a Facebook page and a Listserv called
the Oregon Tribal Archives Network. Video recordings of
the majority of the sessions will soon be made accessible
online so that any tribal member with an interest in ar-
chives and records management can either review or learn
new information. Also, extra grant funds will be divided
among the tribes so that they can purchase archival sup-
plies and equipment in order to apply the information they
learned at the Institute. To assess the impact of the Insti-
tute, the TAI planning committee will conduct follow-up
interviews with the participants to discuss how they have
applied what they learned and how we can continue to
assist them in the future to develop their archives pro-
grams. While the Institute was customized to meet the
needs of Oregon tribes, it can serve as a model for other
states and tribal communities. Ideally, by sharing the
process of developing and hosting the Institute, other
organizations and tribes across the United States can
collaborate to address the archival education needs of
many more tribal nations.
Facilities planning session at the Siletz Tribal Community led by Tribal archivists.
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