History & Culture Archives, Photographic Archives, and Historical Collections Management
In the 1970s, the Culture Committee began its work by simply gathering together many of the most knowledgeable elders in the community. In the climate of trust and confidentiality that was created, the elders began to record their stories and songs. The ultimate result was the creation of one of the most extensive tribal oral history archives in the nation. Today the Culture Committee Archives houses over 700 audio taped interviews with past and present elders regarding our history and language. In addition, we have an extensive collection of videotapes of interviews with elders, cultural activities and practices, placename field trips, and gatherings of our people. Access to these materials is usually restricted to tribal members for their personal use. These recordings form the core of everything the Culture Committee does.
The Committee is working to protect and stabilize these irreplaceable materials. In the 1990s, the Committee acquired a double-insulated fireproof safe for storage of the original tapes (both audio and video). In the late 1990s, minidisk copies were made of most of the tapes; these are also stored in the safe. The Committee’s Historical Collections Manager is now in the process of copying these recorded materials onto more stable CD and DVD formats.
The Committee also maintains a large and growing collection of tribal photographs, including many rare and original prints. The Committee is in the process of developing a searchable database for the over 15,000 images in the collections. As with the audio and video materials, access to these materials is usually restricted to tribal members for their personal use. We hope the database will make these materials as accessible as possible to tribal members to access these important images in tribal and family histories.
The Committee also maintains photographic displays in the Longhouse of tribal elders and veterans, as well as recent cultural activities and outings.
Finally, the Committee maintains an extensive archive of documents relating to tribal history, including materials relating to tribal history and culture.