Call for Participants: Indigenous Archival Training Program

Indigenizing Archival Training (IAT), a Mellon Foundation-funded project administered by the Society of American Archivists’ Native American Archives Section, seeks participants in a holistic pilot training program, including attendance at a two-day in-person workshop in Santa Fe (September 21–22) and in five subsequent online workshops on a range of archival topics (running October 2023–January 2024). Generous funding from the Mellon Foundation is covering the full cost of travel and associated fees for all participants.

The new program is aimed at Tribal archivists, museum professionals, leaders, and Tribal Historic Preservation Officers, and focuses on reframing Western-created "best practices" in archives* and recentering Indigenous values and traditional stewardship practices. The results of this program will include community-based approaches to responsible stewardship available as future online training modules. 

The goal for the program is to fulfill the need for training for those working in a range of institutions and contexts, including Tribal libraries, archives, museums, preservation offices, and cultural programs, who do not have access to expensive graduate and professional archival training.

For priority consideration, please complete the application by July 6.

*We recognize that community collections often include a wide range of cultural belongings and records. While some examples in the program will include strategies for 3D items and museum belongings, much of the focus of this training will be care, stewardship, and strategies for community-centered archival documents (including but not limited to papers, notebooks, photographs, film, and sound recordings, in physical or digital form); we hope that many aspects of the training and approaches will span the diversity of community repositories.

Required Criteria for Participants:

  1. Attend one in-person workshop (Sept. 21–22) and five online 2-hour workshops (dates TBD; we will work to accommodate participants’ schedules, but online workshops will take place between October 2023 and January 2024).

  2. Participate in the evaluation process (and any assigned written reflections) taking place at the close of each workshop.

  3. Identify as a Native/Indigenous community member.

  4. In a current (paid or volunteer) role as an archivist or records manager, or are otherwise managing or caring for archival materials or cultural resources within a Tribal community.

  5. Work for an organization that is/has an archives, stewards archival materials or cultural resources, and/or is developing or has plans to start an archives.

  6. Demonstrate clear benefits that enrolling in this program at this particular point in their career would contribute toward greater Tribal good.

  7. Provide documented support from their institution, department, and/or Tribe to be able to undertake the program and to apply their learning in a local context, evidenced by a letter of reference.

Preferred Criteria for Participants:

  1. In developmental or early stages of building, reorganizing, or formalizing an archives.

  2. Demonstrate capacity to implement lessons learned in this program at their workplace, or with archival collections that they manage or care for.

  3. Show strong commitment to memory, heritage, and/or archival work in their own community spaces.

How to Apply: 

  1. Fill out the Google Form Application, which includes providing a short (2–3 paragraph) Statement of Interest and responses to program questions.

  2. Provide contact information for a Supervisor, Department, Tribal/Indigenous Institution, or Organization who can provide a letter of support attesting to your ability to attend the program or explaining how your participation will benefit their institution or community. (We will provide a form that your contact can use if you have made our initial shortlist; however, please begin the process of asking for this support ahead of time!)

About the SAA Native American Archives Section

The Society of American Archivists' Native American Archives Section (NAAS) was formed as a result of a petition at the 2005 SAA Annual Meeting in New Orleans. The Section seeks to serve as a forum to educate archivists on the complexities and beauty of Native American archives of the Western Hemisphere and as a source of communication and inspiration for archivists working with Native American collections. Learn more here.

About The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation

The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation is the nation’s largest supporter of the arts and humanities. Since 1969, the Foundation has been guided by its core belief that the humanities and arts are essential to human understanding. The Foundation believes that the arts and humanities are where we express our complex humanity, and that everyone deserves the beauty, transcendence, and freedom that can be found there. Through our grants, we seek to build just communities enriched by meaning and empowered by critical thinking, where ideas and imagination can thrive. Learn more at