CHWG Minutes 08/08/2012

Cultural Property Working Group Meeting (Combined minutes of Executive and Business Meetings)

San Diego Hilton

Bayfront Room: Sapphire 402

San Diego, CA August 8th, 2012. 

Participants:  Liz Banks, Robert Leopold, Donna McCrea (council liaison), Jennifer O’ Neal, Lisa Nguyen, Marisol Ramos (chair), Sharon Thibodeau, Kelvin White


  • Voted to accept the CPWG Meeting Minutes (with a few minor corrections) from the August 24, 2011 meeting at the previous SAA Annual Meeting in Chicago, IL.

Discussion Topics:

  • Intern Involvement in Working Group:  Donna McCrea explained the process for appointment of interns and described possible roles for an intern - in particular, maintenance of the Working Group website
  • Research in the Working Group:  Kelvin asked about the possibility of including a research component in Working Group activities. 
  • Working Group Composition:  Donna described council expectations for Working Groups and explained that it could be appropriate for such a group to include non-SAA members. Donna McCrea explained that "SAA and Council need this working group to be strong advisors with expertise to share."
  • Working Group Name:  Several members of the Group expressed concern about the limiting implications of the word “property” and explored alternate possibilities for the Working Group’s name.  In the end, there was unanimous support for changing the name of the group to Cultural Heritage Working Group (CHWG) as a more inclusive of tangible and intangible cultural heritage.  Donna advised the chair to send a recommendation for this name change to council for consideration.
  • Representational Role for Working Group Members:  Most Working Group members are likely to attend meetings that focus on cultural heritage issues and could “represent” SAA’s interests at these meetings.  Donna suggested that members advise council of representational opportunities.
  • Official SAA Representation and Working Group Interests:  Working Group members asked that council-appointed official representatives to organizations advice the Working Group of cultural property issues that come to their attention.  Donna said she would follow up on this request.
  • Communication Within the Working Group:  Working Group members agreed that they needed to make greater use of the Group Listserv to share information about professional activities with implications for the Working Group.
  • Priorities for Working Group Activity:  The Group considered all of the activities proposed to date and established priorities for continued activity.  The priority activities now include:
  • A Culture Heritage Bibliography that focuses on archival aspects of this topic and that is organized by topic.  The Bibliography will include - to the extent possible - already existing case studies.  Annotation of this Bibliography will not be a priority in the coming year.
  • Updated Web Resources
  • A Guide to Case Studies that points to existing studies and adds to these as appropriate
  • Reconsideration of the Cultural Framework as a way to organize information shared by the Working Group
  • Identification of gaps in the SAA Glossary with respect to terms important to cultural heritage sensitivity and responsibility.
  • Resubmit a proposal for a session at the 2013 meeting of the SAA.
  • Working Group Membership/Chair:  The Group decided to continue with an 11-person membership.  Three current members (Banks, Mooney, Thibodeau) will not continue.  Recommendations for filling these vacancies should be sent to the chair, Marisol Ramos, so she can forward them to Danna Bell-Russel, the newly elected VP, who chairs the current Appointments Committee.  Member suggestions for areas of expertise included: humans rights, legal, Blue Shield, and the Department of Defense.  Marisol will not continue as chair but remains on the Working Group.  She nominated Jennifer O’Neal as a candidate for chair. This nomination should also go to Danna Bell-Russel. In addition, Jeannette Bastian resigned earlier as a co-chair but will continue as a member of the working group.

Report on IFLA Presidential Programme Spring Meeting: 

Jennifer O’Neal and Robert Leopold reported on their participation in the IFLA-sponsored meeting, Indigenous Knowledges: Local Priorities, Global Contexts held in Vancouver April 12-14, 2012.  The meeting gathered 300 experts to discuss legal aspects, WIPO developments, and community projects impacting indigenous peoples.  There was clear emphasis on archival issues and a sense that “libraries are not a physical location” Alana Garwood-Houng (a member of the Indigenous Matters Special Interest Group) gave a moving account of the ongoing injustices experienced by Australian indigenous peoples.  The Special Interest Group has a website which provides additional information about its activities. The presentations were filmed and are available by webcast online. Jennifer will send information on the links to the website and Facebook page.

Working group Tasks Going Forward: 

  • Working Group members volunteered to undertake the following:
    • (Marisol Ramos) Ongoing project: SAA's CHWG website as a Resource Page. Marisol Ramos volunteered to be the contact person for the CHWG webpage. The SAA's CHWG will be the go-to place for resource information for SAA members and non-members about archives and cultural heritage issues. In addition of the current information available in the website, the following information will be added:
      • List of conferences that deal with archives and cultural heritage issues and related conferences in allied disciplines submitted by all CHWG members to Marisol or added by the members (whichever is more appropriate)
      • List of upcoming conferences (dates, places, organization) submitted by all CHWG members to Marisol or added by the members (whichever is more appropriate)
      • Request SAA Website Manager to add all members of group as Administrator of the CHWG webpage, so anyone can add content as appropriate.
      • Link to future group new blog...
  • (Marisol Ramos) Social Media & Networking: Marisol Ramos volunteered to be the lead person with this project, as part of the CHWG webpage project. As part of a campaign to outreach as many members and non-members interested in archives and cultural heritage issue, the Working Group will launch a blog using WordPress for sharing information about archives and cultural heritage topics and issues. All members are encouraged to contribute with reports on conferences or important issues that come up in their work related to archives and cultural heritage. The blog is open to everyone interested in archives and cultural heritage issues. In addition, the Working Group will establish a Facebook and Twitter presence to push the blog content to even a broader audience. Marisol volunteered to contact SAA council and IT to make sure that all these tools are created following SAA best practices for social media.
  • (Robert Leopold) Robert volunteered to review the Working Group Bibliography to identify entries that focus on archives and to propose categories for these entries. He also will identify case studies (using the wiki to collect these or already found in the bibliography) to be part of the main bibliography and also will send that information to be added to the group website. In addition, all members are encouraged to send other cases studies or articles to Robert L. for addition to the list of case studies.
  • (Robert Leopold) Robert volunteered to lead identifying possible addition to the SAA glossary that related to cultural heritage. Members of the group are encouraged to submit terms to Robert for consideration. Robert stated that Luciana Duranti is working on a glossary of archival terms internationally as an International Council on Archives (ICA)  project and that we may want to link to their glossary.
  • (Lisa Nguyen and Jennifer O’Neil) The Working Group will propose a session for the 2013 meeting of the SAA. The Group will review the unrealized proposal prepared for the 2012 meeting as a candidate for this session. Lisa and Jennifer will coordinate this effort and Lisa will submit the finalize proposal to the SAA program committee. Deadline, October 5, 2012.
  • (All members) The Working Group will identify cultural heritage publications appropriate for sale in SAA’s Bookstore.

Future projects:

The Working Group will consider as a future task the development of a statement comparable to the ALA statement on Traditional Cultural Expressions. It is possible that a statement now being prepared by IFLA’s Indigenous Matters Special Interest Group will serve this purpose.

Round Robin on Relevant Professional Activities:

  • Marisol Ramos report on her involvement with the Recovering the U.S. Hispanic Literary Heritage (aka Recovery Project), an effort to ensure the recovery and preservation of documentation of the Hispanic literary heritage. She is attending this year board meeting and 2012 Recovery conference, Literatures of Dissent, Cultures of Resistance. She will report any findings in the mailing list and future blog.
  • Jennifer O’Neil reported that she presented a keynote address at a meeting on Indigenous Archival Issues sponsored by Northern Arizona University. She also participated in a meeting of ATALM (Association of Tribal Archives, Libraries, and Museums) in Albuquerque in June and in a conference on ethnological materials held at the Library of Congress.
  • Robert Leopold participated in the UN Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues in May.  He noted that UNESCO would be hosting a conference in September in Vancouver on “Memory of the World in the Digital Age” and the Smithsonian and the National Science Foundation sponsored a workshop on “After the Return: Digital Repatriation and the Circulation of Indigenous Knowledge,” in March (see The papers from this workshop will appear as the December issue of Anthropology Review.
  • Kelvin White reported on his efforts to explore the question of “what’s not in the archives and why?”  He is working with archival educators to promote research in this area and encouraging emerging archival scholars to consider “what is the new notion of evidence?”
  • Liz Banks reported on new guidance for consultation in the National Park Service that emphasizes cultural sensitivity. She identified online sources on training in this area and proposed the addition of these resources to the Working Group website.
Referenced Group Meeting: