SAA Receives Grant from Mellon Foundation to Support Pilot Program for Indigenizing Archival Practices

February 16—The Society of American Archivists (SAA) Foundation has received a $98,000 grant from the Mellon Foundation to develop a yearlong pilot program that centers Indigenous needs and perspectives in the archives profession.  

The new program is aimed at Tribal archivists, Tribal Historic Preservation Officers, museum professionals, and leaders and focuses on reframing Western-created "best practices" in archives and recentering Indigenous values and traditional stewardship practices. This program will also be invaluable to non-Tribal colleagues and leadership working in colonial institutions, who will benefit from community-based approaches to responsible stewardship. The goal is for the program to fulfill the need for training for archivists working in Tribal libraries, archives, museums, and cultural organizations who often lack access to expensive graduate and professional training.

This grant funding will allow for piloting core content for this initiative. An in-person workshop held at the Institute of American Indian Arts in Santa Fe, New Mexico, in the fall of 2023 will kick off the program, and lead to the development of a series of free, educational webinars. These will be made available for free on the SAA NAAS website and on the Sustainable Heritage Network

This pilot project will inform the development of a formalized certificate program, Indigenizing Archival Practices (IAP). The development process will be conducted by SAA in collaboration with SAA's Native American Archives Section (NAAS) and the Association of Tribal Archives, Libraries, and Museums (ATALM).

Stay tuned for applications to participate in the in-person workshop and webinars!

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