UF Named to Receive Funding for Native American Oral History Collections

Mrs. Arzanda SandersThe Doris Duke Charitable Foundation (DDCF) announced more than $1.6 million in grants to launch the Doris Duke Native Oral History Revitalization Project, an initiative to increase access to, use of, and visibility of the Doris Duke Native American Oral History Collections.

Seven universities have received a collective total of $1.359 million in DDCF funding over two years to digitize, translate, and index recordings and materials spanning 150 Indigenous cultures; improve their accessibility and utility to Native communities, tribal colleges, and the wider public; expand the collections to include contemporary voices; and develop related curriculums and educational resources for students and visitors.

The University of Florida is one of the universities included in the project. The George A. Smathers Libraries and the Samuel Proctor Oral History Program, directed by Dr.  Paul Ortiz, join together as partners in the effort to revitalize, repatriate, and responsibly share the digital cultural heritage of eight Native communities. Many of the interviews are over 50 years old and include oral histories from Native leaders and culture bearers from across the Southeast.

Dr. Ginessa Mahar, Anthropology Librarian and Project Coordinator, notes “This grant funding provides an opportunity for us as a repository to reconnect with the communities from which these materials were gathered. In some cases, this might be the first-time descendants of interviewees have heard these recordings. We’re very excited for this project as it ensures not only the preservation of this rich cultural heritage but does so in a meaningful way that includes repatriation and culturally responsible accessibility.”