An article in American Libraries magazine presents Amherst College as one example of an institution that has been making efforts toward more culturally “responsive and responsible” handling of Native American archival materials.
The “College’s approach to culturally responsive collection care is grounded in the documentation of Indigenous literary history, starting with the 2012 hiring of two Native Studies faculty and the purchase of a 1,500-volume collection of Native-authored books,” writes Ulia Gosart, referring to the Kim-Wait/Eisenberg Native American Literature Collection.
The article includes remarks from Mike Kelly, Amherst’s head of archives and special collections, about practices intended to accurately call attention to Indigenous authorship, such as consulting with Native communities about how to display catalog data on visual maps and how to note authors’ tribal affiliations, as well as documenting provenance of each book. “We want to embed the history of the collecting in the collection metadata,” Kelly says. “Transparency about how we are acquiring materials is one way of being accountable to communities.”