Event—Public Programming

The Secret Life of Indigenous Archives


Over many years, the rich archival collections of the Newberry Library have inspired and sustained some of the most significant research and writing in Native American and Indigenous Studies, making it a central site of what we may call "indigenous Chicago." This panel of prize-winning authors, whose research was based at the Newberry and other major archives, will reflect not only on the power of the official records for their work, but also upon the affective or "other life" of the archives. Drawing on personal experience of working in the archive, these scholars will discuss the "secret life" of the indigenous archive: what haunts and/or comforts them as researchers, the unexpected intimacies, the unresolved questions, the wondrous discoveries, the feeling of kinship to the lives of others and the material traces they leave behind. These are aspects of the research that might not have a tangible presence in their work, but nonetheless shape and inform it. The reflections will be followed by an open discussion with the audience.

Co-sponsored by the American Studies Association Annual Meeting