Association of Tribal Archives, Libraries, and Museums Annual Meeting

By Rebecca Elder posted 10-25-2018 12:03


With funding from the Department of the Interior, on October 8-9, FAIC’s Emergency Programs Coordinator Jess Unger and AIC members Rebecca Elder, Saira Haqqi and Bob Herskovitz presented a two-day workshop on Risk Evaluation and Emergency Planning for Tribal Cultural Institutions in conjunction with the Association for Tribal Archives, Libraries and Museums (ATALM) annual meeting in Prior Lake, Minnesota (just south of Minneapolis).

During the first day of the workshop, a classroom session reviewed FAIC’s Risk Evaluation Planning Program (REPP) tools and introduced the 25 participants from tribal institutions to the basics of emergency planning. Guest speakers included Eric Zimmerman, Fire Marshal of the Shakopee Mdewakanton Sioux Community, Emergency Manager Lorraine Churchill and Crisis Communications Specialist Peter Rekers.

The second day of the workshop, participants traveled two hours by bus to the Mille Lacs Indian Museum and Trading Post, as well as the Mille Lacs Band of Ojibwe archives to practice their newly acquired risk assessment skills. Participants and instructors toured the exhibits space, collections storage space, the HVAC system, and the archives, gathering information on risks to the collection using the REPP worksheets. A highlight of the day was joining another ATALM tour on site at the Mille Lacs Indian Museum for a lunch of Walleye, chicken, Minnesota wild rice, traditional fry bread and pumpkin bars.

After the workshop, Elder presented several hands-on sessions during the ATALM meeting on topics like basic box-making and care of fragile paper documents. Each of Elder’s sessions had at least twelve participants leaving with examples of preservation techniques that can be easily implemented in the participants’ home collections.

Unger, Herskovitz, and Haqqi attended the meeting, sitting on a variety of sessions that addressed cultural considerations for tribal collecting institutions. A highlight was a program titled “After the Disaster: Creating a Silver Lining,” where representatives from the Citizen Potawatomi Nation Cultural Heritage Center spoke about a major flood event at the museum in 2014 and their recovery process. The case study emphasized the importance of learning from past emergency events.

The week was a productive one for all concerned and is hopefully the beginning of many partnering opportunities between (F)AIC and ATALM.

Workshop attendees view the “Four Seasons Room” at the Mille Lacs Indian Museum and Trading Post

Assessing risks in the Mille Lacs Indian Museum’s HVAC room