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College of University Libraries and Learning Sciences News

CSWR to Receive Doris Duke Grant for Native Oral History Revitalization Project

by Sara Velasquez on 2021-03-03T14:57:00-07:00 in Library, CSWR | Comments

The University of New Mexico’s Center for Southwest Research and Special Collections has been chosen to receive funding from the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation (DDCF) as part of its launch of the Doris Duke Native Oral History Revitalization Project, an initiative to increase the access to, use of and visibility of the Doris Duke Native American Oral History Collections.

The Center for Southwest Research and Special Collections will utilize this funding by improving access to its American Indian Oral History holdings otherwise known as the Doris Duke collection. Currently, the collection contains recorded interviews with and about Native Americans. 904 recordings were collected by the University of New Mexico between 1967 and 1972. The bulk of the interviews contain oral traditions and recollections from Navajos and Pueblos. These interviews in New Mexico and the Four Corners area were conducted by history and anthropology faculty and graduate students. Transcripts are available for most of the recordings in this collection.

The Association of Tribal Archives, Libraries and Museums (ATALM) will receive $300,000 over two years to serve as the national coordinator for the project and to create a website that will act as a central hub where visitors can access archived materials. Seven universities, including UNM, have received a collective total of $1.359 million in DDCF funding over two years to digitize, translate and index recordings and materials spanning more than 200 Indigenous cultures; improve their accessibility and utility to Native communities, tribal colleges and the wider public; expand the collections to include contemporary voices; and develop related curriculums and educational resources for students and visitors.

 “The Native oral history collections housed at these universities represent a rich repository of the diverse lived experiences and cultural traditions of Native peoples across the country as told in their own voices,” said Lola Adedokun, program director for child well-being at the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation. “We recognize their importance, both in providing Native communities with a continuing connection to elders and longstanding traditions, and as educational resources and authentic representations of Native American history for us all. We are thrilled to fund this effort to preserve and amplify the reach of these stories.” 

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