Native American Materials

Protocol for Native American Archival Materials

Based on “Protocols Alignment Project,” Special Collections and University Archives Department – University Libraries – University of Nevada, Reno

The Nevada Historical Society strives for best practices as informed by professional standards. In 2018, the Society of American Archivists formally endorsed the Protocols for Native American Archival Materials, which provide guidance on culturally responsive care of Native American materials held by non-tribal archives.

“These Protocols establish a foundation for archival practice in caring for culturally sensitive records, and center Native American communities in the discussions of preservation and access to these materials. They call on the profession to ‘recognize that the conditions under which knowledge can be ethically and legally acquired, archived, preserved, accessed, published, or otherwise used, change through time.'” — Statement by the Society of American Archivists Council, 2018.

Read the full statement here:

Similarly, the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples recognizes that indigenous peoples “have the right to maintain, control, protect and develop the past, present and future manifestations of their cultures, such as archaeological and historical sites, artefacts, designs, ceremonies, technologies and visual and performing arts and literature” (Article 11).

We continue to work to identify potentially culturally sensitive materials in our collections.

To learn more, please see our Information for Researchers page.