Over the last ten months, an OITP-lead workgroup has been collaborating with librarians, archivists and members of various indigenous communities within the United States in order to draft a statement of guiding principles concerning the management and protection of traditional cultural expressions (TCEs). TCEs are defined as, but not limited to, narratives, poetry, music, art, designs, names, signs, symbols, performances, architectural forms, and handicrafts created by indigenous and/or traditional communities.
The purpose of this document is to help librarians appreciate the unique nature of indigenous culture and to highlight ways that librarians can better manage traditional cultural expressions in their collections and share expertise with cultures that choose to self manage their own cultural heritage. In the next few months, the workgroup will continue to share the document with ALA divisions, roundtables, executive board, Council, and other interested units and organizations. The group aims for the principles to be considered for adoption as ALA policy at the 2010 Midwinter Conference in Boston. As always, feedback is welcome in this process–email crussell [AT] alawash [DOT] org.