The Right to Know – Honoring Native American Sovereignty

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Dr. Jennifer O’Neal highlights the importance of honoring Native American sovereignty by centering Indigenous protocols, knowledge and traditions in histories and collections.

This is an in-person program. Masks are recommended at all in-person library events.

Many Native American histories and collections have often been preserved, documented and interpreted from non-Native perspectives and often without consultation or collaboration with Native Nations. This talk will highlight the importance of honoring Native American sovereignty by centering Indigenous protocols, knowledge and traditions in histories and collections, with a specific focus on how this work aligns within the context of larger Native American activist movements, both nationally and locally. Dr. O’Neal will highlight specific examples from her work with tribal communities in central Oregon, including The Confederated Tribes of Warm Springs and The Burns Paiute Tribe.

Dr. Jennifer R. O’Neal, member of The Confederated Tribes of Grand Ronde, is an Assistant Professor of Native American Studies at the University of Oregon, and affiliated faculty with the History department and Robert D. Clark Honors College. Her interdisciplinary research and teaching focus on Native American, United States, and international relations history in the twentieth century to the present, with an emphasis on sovereignty, self-determination, cultural heritage, global Indigenous rights, activism, and legal issues. O’Neal’s work is dedicated to centering Indigenous traditional knowledge, applying Indigenous research methods, developing place-based education, and implementing guidelines for the ethical research of Native American communities and management of cultural heritage collections. Over the past fifteen years she has led the implementation of best practices, frameworks, and protocols for Native American archival materials in non-tribal repositories in the United States through the collective development of the Protocols for Native American Archival Materials (2006). She also serves on various international and national committees and boards for various organizations, including the American Philosophical Society, the National Native American Boarding School Coalition, the Association for Tribal Archives, Libraries, and Museums, and the Indigenous Archive Collective. She’s currently working on a book manuscript based on her dissertation, Beyond the Trail of Broken Treaties: The International Native American Rights Movement, 1975-1980. Prior to joining the UO in 2012, she held previous positions at the Smithsonian Institution’s National Museum of the American Indian and the U.S. Department of State in Washington, DC.

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