by federal grants, the Nooksack Tribe is starting 2004 with an effort
at preserving its ancient history, language and its recent history
as a federally recognized tribe.
grants are humble - one totaling only $5,000 - but the dream is
groundwork laid last year and the new grants this year - and a hired
archivist storing historic land deeds and 1970s tribal council ordinances
on compact discs - could lead to a space to house sensitive ancient
artifacts, said Tribal Administrator Pat Check.
of the tribe's historic documents and artifacts are scattered across
the country in universities and museums. But a 1990 federal law,
the Native American Graves Protection and Repatriation Act, provides
the tools for tribes to get their funerary objects and skeletons
September, the National Archives and Records Administration awarded
the Nooksack Tribe a $43,526 grant to fund a tribal archivist position.
National Endowment for the Humanities awarded the Nooksack Tribe
a $5,000 Humanities Preservation and Access grant on Monday. The
grant pays for a consultant to teach a workshop in preservation
for the tribe's archival staff.
was one of two grants given to Washington organizations out of $5.5
million in grants awarded nationwide. The other was $4,823 to the
University of Washington's Seattle libraries to assess a collection
of architectural drawings.
Nooksack Tribe also has a grant to research what organizations possess
their artifacts. The American Museum of Natural History in New York
has both Lummi and Nooksack human remains in its collections, according
to a 2001 Department of the Interior inventory.
the tribe opened its first museum and library in September 2002,
the temporary buildings do not have the materials needed to safely
store fragile and sensitive documents and objects.
are always looking for funding for the kind of facility where we
can store artifacts," Check said.
the tribe is working on storing documents in acid-free folders,
scanning them to discs and writing a records management manual.
documents range from original land deeds dating to the early 1900s
to tribal council ordinances passed since the Carter administration.
complete, the store of tribal data will be open for research by
tribal members, Check said. The tribe does not have a process by
which nonmembers can gain access to the archives, although the tribal
government likely will define one.
we are doing now is going through it all with a little more fine-toothed
comb and getting stuff we can get onto compact discs," Check
archivist's biggest challenge is itemizing tribal council meetings
from the 1970s to today so members can search easily for dates and
text of laws, he said.
now, all of that material is stored by year in different departments,
but there is no central clearinghouse.