Dr. Chris Low of !Khwa ttu San Heritage Centre on attending the 2023 ATALM (Association of Tribal Archives, Libraries, & Museums) Conference in Oklahoma, USA.
I have just returned from the ATALM conference in the US. This is my fourth ATALM. Returning to ATALM reminds me just how valuable it is to recognise that the histories of indigenous peoples around the world are so closely connected, as are the challenges going forward. The conference is special because it draws together so many people, both indigenous and non-indigenous, who are all working to support indigenous communities through heritage and archive initiatives. The conference focuses on how to set up and run an indigenous heritage centre, just like !Khwa ttu, and it was ATALM that inspired much that we do at !Khwa ttu San Heritage Centre.
Around 1300 indigenous and non-indigenous peoples from America, Canada and Hawaii came together in Oklahoma. A handful of people, including myself, represented interests from further afield. The conference really goes to the heart of what we do, covering such themes as:
- Digital repatriation of museum contents to remote communities
- Best community collaboration practice
- How to work with archives in small community institutions
This year I thanked the organisers of ATALM, President Susan Feller and Board Chair Walter Echo-Hawk for their insights, strategies and inspiration that were so helpful in setting up !Khwa ttu. As a token of appreciation I handed over our !Khwa ttu book to Walter Echo-Hawk (pic).
I have also signed up as a mentor for Joe Thomas, Executive Officer, Dept. of Culture and Humanities, the Chickasaw Nation who is part of the planning team to build a $25million heritage centre for the Chickasaw Nation. I look forward to keeping in contact with this inspiring young man.
I thank everyone at ATALM for once again being so welcoming and I very much hope I can return next year with members of our heritage team.