The Protocols were developed to provide best practices for culturally responsive care and use of Native American archival and documentary material held by non-tribal organizations.  The Protocols build upon numerous professional ethical codes; a number of significant international declarations recognizing Indigenous rights, including several now issued by the United Nations; and the ground-breaking Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Protocols for Libraries, Archives, and Information ServicesThe proposed standards and goals articulated in Protocols for Native American Archival Materials are meant to inspire and to foster mutual respect and reciprocity.  The Protocols include recommendations for non-tribal libraries and archives as well as Native American communities. (

The following guidelines were developed over a three-year period of collaboration between Native and non-Native museum professionals, cultural leaders and artists. The guidelines are intended as a resource for community members who are working in collaboration with museums. This is not a set of rules; instead, it offers ideas to consider when working with museums. Your work with a museum might consist of viewing the collections to learn what the museum has from your community; sharing information about items from your community that are part of a museum’s collection; helping to develop museum exhibits; or if you are an artist, you might use a museum’s collections for artistic inspiration. These are just a few of the ways you might engage with a museum. Please note that the guidelines are not intended as a resource for Native American Graves Protection Repatriation Act (NAGPRA) consultations.

Local Contexts is an initiative to support Native, First Nations, Aboriginal, and Indigenous communities in the management of their intellectual property and cultural heritage specifically within the digital environment. Local Contexts provides legal, extra-legal, and educational strategies for navigating copyright law and the public domain status of this valuable cultural heritage. By providing strategic resources and practical solutions, Local Contexts and our partners are working towards a new paradigm of rights and responsibilities that recognizes the inherent sovereignty that Indigenous communities have over their cultural heritage.

Mukurtu (MOOK-oo-too) is a grassroots project aiming to empower communities to manage, share, and exchange their digital heritage in culturally relevant and ethically-minded ways. We are committed to maintaining an open, community-driven approach to Mukurtu’s continued development. Our first priority is to help build a platform that fosters relationships of respect and trust.

These Protocols are a result of discussions of the American Philosophical Society Library (hereinafter “APS”) and its Native American Advisory Board regarding indigenous materials held by APS, some of which are culturally sensitive. The Protocols are intended to: 1) give APS guidance in determining what indigenous materials might be culturally sensitive, in categorizing materials as culturally sensitive, and in determining who can decide whether culturally sensitive materials can be reproduced: 2) to allow APS to enter into understandings and agreements with tribes and donors on the treatment of indigenous materials; and 3) give APS guidance in assisting tribes in publishing materials.

International Federation of Library Associations and Institutions (IFLA):

Culture is a basic need.  A community thrives through its cultural heritage, it dies without it. Cultural heritage consists of tangible and intangible, natural and cultural, movable and immovable assets inherited from the past. It is of extremely high value for the present and the future of communities. Access, preservation, and education around cultural heritage are essential for the evolution of people and their culture. The preservation and restoration of cultural heritage has always been a priority for IFLA.

The Section’s main purpose is to support the provision of culturally responsive and effective services to indigenous communities throughout the world. Its main objectives are to promote international cooperation in the fields of library, culture, knowledge and information services to indigenous communities that meet their intergenerational, community, cultural and language needs, and to encourage indigenous leadership within the sector, exchange of experience, education and training and research in all aspects of this subject.  The Section seeks to connect, collaborate and work in cooperation with other IFLA Sections; national indigenous library, culture, knowledge and information associations/groups; as well as the International Indigenous Librarians’ Forum (IILF).

IFLA Publications Series #166. by Camille Callison, Camille, Loriene Roy, Loriene and Gretchen Alice LeCheminant (Eds.)