Karuk Tribe Awarded $50,000 Museum Services Grant

This is a press release from the Karuk Tribe:

Orleans, CA –The Karuk Tribe is pleased to announce that their Urípih Nuvíiktihêesh (We Will Weave a Net) Project was awarded Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS) funding supporting museum services for federally recognized tribes and Native Hawaiian organizations. “The IMLS Native American/Native Hawaiian Museum Services grants play an important role in building capacity of tribal museums,” said IMLS Director Dr. Kathryn K. Matthew. “The funds will help recipient institutions improve collections care; expand access to collections; and develop exhibitions and public programming that will help preserve traditional knowledge for tribal members.”

The awarded $50,000 for a one-year project will allow the Karuk Tribe to launch a professional development program for its staff to expand the content, capacity, and continuity of the Karuk Tribe’s Digital Library, Archives, and Museum.  In partnership with Humboldt State University, the Clarke Historical Museum, Local Contexts, the Center for Digital Archaeology, and the schools located within the Karuk Aboriginal Territory, the program’s multifaceted opportunities will include training in digitization, 3-D image rendering and cross-cultural sensitivity at the high-school and collegiate levels.

Professional Development isn’t the only objective, however: the project will further address the prioritized need for enhanced access to images of its material culture. “Over the past years, community members and cultural practitioners have increasingly voiced the need for greater access to the Karuk cultural materials housed in non-tribal institutions,” reports Bari Talley, the Karuk Tribe’s People’s Center and Sípnuuk Division Coordinator. “Most of these materials are found in archival collections located a great distance from their place of origin, and the tribal people who could learn from them have little opportunity to visit with their relations.” Talley refers to cultural heritage objects as they are traditionally known, as the relations of the Karuk people.

Digital preservation of Karuk material items held at the Clarke Memorial Museum will be achieved by tribal youth and Humboldt State University students with the support of tribal and partnering staff. By project end, 2-D images and associated metadata (which gives information about the materials) will be uploaded to the Karuk Tribe’s digital and online accessible repository known as Sípnuuk, which is a Karuk word for a traditional storage basket.  The site will also provide links to 3-D generated images, allowing online site visitors to view minute details of cultural heritage materials to learn from their creators. Promoting lifelong learning for both tribal and global communities by increasing access to archival images is one of the project’s ultimate goals.

“Coupled with the historic break in inter-generational knowledge transfer, the absence of these relations impairs our ability to sustain, rebuild and advance Karuk traditional culture,” states Leaf Hillman, Director of Natural Resources and Environmental Policy, ceremonial leader, and the Sípnuuk executive for the Karuk Tribe. “The Urípih Nuvíiktihêesh Project represents local efforts to change this story: we will be weaving a net that spans our tribal and non-tribal institutions, that joins our tribal and non-tribal students, that connects our cultural practitioners with their teachers, and that strengthens our tribal capacity through enhanced partnerships.”

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3 comments

  • The great one smiles on all his peoples

  • Cool! Hope they preserve the knowledge of the elders! There was an anthropologist named John Lowell Bean who cataloged the ethno-botany of the SoCal desert tribes before the elders died off in the 1980’s who unleashed a treasurer trove of survival info to me. Saved my life more than once! I want that here and the preservation of the language dialects and cultural methodology. How to beat the deer to the acorns and the squirrel to the chinquapin would be mighty valuable!

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