This month, the Newberry’s D’Arcy McNickle Center for American Indian and Indigenous Studies will receive the 2016 International “Guardians of Culture and Lifeways” Archives Institutional Excellence Award from the Association of Tribal Archives, Libraries, and Museums (ATALM). In honoring the center with this award, ATALM recognizes the center’s mission to expand, deepen, and enrich our understanding of American Indian history. For 45 years, the McNickle Center has fulfilled its mission by connecting scholars and public audiences with the Newberry’s unparalleled collections related to Indigenous peoples of North and South America.
“Receiving this award from ATALM is a great honor and comes at an auspicious moment for the McNickle Center, as we celebrate our 45th anniversary,” said McNickle Center Director Patricia Marroquin Norby (Purépecha/Nde). “I am thrilled to accept this award on behalf of the center and to continue its legacy of helping students, teachers, and scholars work with American Indian archives and historical materials from Indigenous perspectives and ways of knowing”
Walter Echo-Hawk, Board Chair for ATALM and founder of the Native American Rights Fund, will present the award to Marroquin Norby on October 11 during an ATALM conference in Phoenix.
According to the ATALM Awards Committee, “We selected the center because of its significant contributions to preserving and advancing Native culture for 45 years and to recognize Marroquin Norby’s work with the center and celebrate her leadership.”
The McNickle Center provides annual scholarly and public programming; archival workshops and research institutes; funding for residential fellowships; a writing workshop and seminar series; and the “D’Arcy McNickle Distinguished Lecture Series,” which honors the pathbreaking work of contemporary Indigenous scholars, activists, and artists who engage with American Indian and Indigenous histories, cultures, and experiences through writing, art, performance, film, and music.
The center draws on the Newberry's Edward E. Ayer Collection, one of the strongest collections of materials relating to American Indians in the world. The collection includes over 130,000 volumes, 1 million manuscript pages, 2,000 maps, 500 atlases, 11,000 photographs, and 3,500 drawings and paintings. The center is also home to the Newberry Consortium in American Indian Studies, whose 22 member institutions send students to the Newberry every year for onsite archival and academic training.
Since 1971, the McNickle Center has provided a meeting ground where scholars and the public can discuss, celebrate, and contribute to American Indian history and culture. In addition to fostering new research, the center facilitates conversations about how to maintain the American Indian and Indigenous archives that support scholarly work. Critical to these conversations are a range of considerations, including repatriation, preservation, documentary heritage, and material accessibility to Indigenous communities.