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Decolonial Archival Futures

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  • Written by Krista McCracken and Skylee-Storm Hogan-Stacey

    with a Foreword by Ricardo L. Punzalan

    Take a peek inside!


  • “This book underscores the first steps to repair the many decades of lack of control over archives and to build the relationships that are a necessary foundation for a reciprocal model of stewardship. We have work to do.”

    –Ricardo L. Punzalan RICARDO L. PUNZALAN, University of Michigan, School of Information

    Providing examples of successful approaches to unsettling Western archival paradigms from Canada, the United States, New Zealand, and Australia, Decolonial Archival Futures showcases vital community archival work that will illuminate decolonial archival practices for archivists, curators, heritage practitioners, and others responsible for the stewardship of materials by and about Indigenous communities.

    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 archivists and scholars 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. By examining archival practices that push against and actively counter settler colonialism, this book challenges non-Indigenous practitioners to consider constructs of knowledge, which histories we tell, and how the past is presented.

    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
    • 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.

    Decolonial Archival Futures is part of the Archival Futures Series, co-published by SAA and the American Library Association.

    Product Details

    Publisher: Society of American Archivists and American Library Association (2023)
    Paperback: 86 pages
    Product Dimension: 6x9 inches
    Weight: 0.5 pounds
    ISBN: 978-0-8389-3715-0
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