On November 8 and 9, over thirty Wisconsin tribal librarians, archivists, and museum curators at the fifth gathering of Convening Culture Keepers (CCK) hosted by the Oneida Nation. Eleven SLIS faculty, staff, and students helped organize and attended the event.
The gathering began on Thursday afternoon, with tours of the Oneida Museum, the Oneida Community Library, and Cultural Heritage’s restored log homes.
That evening, the Longhouse provided a delicious traditional meal of squash, beans, corn, venison, and bison, with strawberry drink and dessert. The dinner was followed by a social dance led by the Oneida Longhouse Singers.
On Friday, Culture Keepers sat in on four professional development sessions. Shannon Martin (Ojibwe) spoke about the process of designing and maintaining the award-winning Ziibiwing Center of Anishinabe Culture and Lifeways, of which she is director.
Her talk, “Building a Community-Driven and Participatory Tribal Museum” was an inspiration to those in the process of building new institutions, like the Red Cliff Band of Lake Superior Chippewa with plans for their new community space.
Debbie Reese (Nambe), author of the blog American Indian’s in Children’s Literature, taught Culture Keepers how to evaluate children’s books in her presentation “The Role of Children’s Books in Native Nation Building”.
Culture Keepers learned about how to create traveling museum exhibits and tours from Mary Olson, a freelance exhibit developer. She had previously worked with the Arvid E. Miller Library and Museum of the Stockbridge-Munsee Community.
Janice Kowemy (Laguna), president of the American Indian Library Association and director of Laguna Public Library in Laguna Pueblo, New Mexico, spoke about tribal library advocacy. Her expertise provided Culture Keepers with ideas on promoting their own institutions to their communities and beyond.
Many participants noted that they are excited about future gatherings. The sixth gathering will be hosted by Lac Du Flambeau in Spring 2012.
Tune in next week for a reflection by SLIS student Mary Wise on her experience at Convening Culture Keepers!
For more information about our fifth Convening Culture Keepers, including the agenda and presenter materials, follow this link.