The purpose of the Indigitization Toolkit is to provide a reference document as well as a series of templates for BC First Nations communities interested in undertaking digitization projects. The Indigitization toolkit also fits into a broader goal to provide support to First Nations communities in the management of their information.
This case study examines Aanischaaukamikw Cree Culture Institute, a Cree museum and resource center in the Oujé-Bougoumou, Quebec, and the institute’s adaptation of the Brian Deer Classification System for use in their library. It gives an overview of the process of adapting Brian Deer for Quebec-focused classification in a small Aboriginal library, detailing the research, planning, testing, and implementation of the project. The value, merits, and disadvantages of adapting the Deer Classification System are addressed.
“Repatriation is the process whereby specific kinds of American Indian cultural items in a museum collection are returned to lineal descendants and culturally affiliated Indian tribes, Alaska Native clans or villages, and/or Native Hawaiian organizations.”
Repatriation at the NMAI is a uniquely proactive and collaborative process. Working closely with Native peoples and communities, the NMAI conducts research and makes decisions independent of other Smithsonian offices. This policy details who can be part of the repatriation process and what this process looks like. Provides an example for how to create a specific policy to demonstrate commitment to respecting Indigenous peoples and cultures.
Archivist scholars argue that it is not enough for collections to be inclusive of cultures and voices, but we must make “structural changes” in which Indigenous people still have ownership over their texts and stories. This notion of ownership, though, becomes less defined when Indigenous cultural artifacts are collected by institutions; when a non-Indigenous culture “owns” Indigenous artifacts, it is crucial to create a system of ownership that empowers the Indigenous communities. Local Contexts has created the Traditional Knowledge (TK) license which renegotiates ideas of ownership and copyright that is flexible and more individualistic to the needs of particular cultures.
This article reports on an early project exploring the possibilities of collaborative description of Indigenous belongings held in museums. The authors conducted a collaborative research project on how multiple local expert communities interacted with and reacted to objects held within multiple museums. The ethnographic research conducted in this study demonstrates the need for museums to collaborate with local communities as well as a method for implementing this collaboration. The study showed a disconnect between how objects were presented and recorded and the local experts’ experience and knowledge about the objects (this disconnect is visualized on page 753); the two main disconnects were found in the narrative the Zuni communities and museums constructed about these objects as well as an absence of the use and practice of these objects in the museums. The authors advocate for working within this disconnect to find better ways of representing objects, or viewing museums as “contact zones” in which multiple experts – not only the traditional museum “Expert” – can collaborate. One method for negotiating this disconnect is to make visible the different meaning objects have in different contexts; designing digital spaces to host digital objects allow for this visibility.