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Association of Tribal Archives, Libraries, and Museums Announces 2023 Guardians of Culture and Lifeways

Association of Tribal Archives, Libraries, and Museums Announces 2023 Guardians of Culture and Lifeways

OKLAHOMA CITY, OK - The Association of Tribal Archives, Libraries, and Museums (ATALM) today announced the recipients of the 2023 Guardians of Culture and Lifeways Awards. Awardees will be honored during the International Conference of Indigenous Archives, Libraries, and Museums on October 25, 2023, at the Omni Oklahoma City Hotel in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma.

ATALM’s annual Conference, sponsored by the Institute of Museum and Library Services, specializes in robust planning that serves the needs of Indigenous cultural institutions, builds relationships with non-tribal cultural institutions, provides a platform for government agencies and funders to engage with Indigenous populations, and builds lasting relations that serve to sustain and advance culture.

Established in 2007, the Guardian of Culture and Lifeways Awards support and empower those working to preserve Indigenous cultures, as well as to recognize the individuals, programs, and institutions that serve as models for others. 2023 Guardian Awardees include:

• Archives Institutional Excellence Award: Catawba Nation Archives, Rock Hill, South Carolina

• Honored One Award: Dr. Jane Anderson, Council Vice Chair of Local Contexts and Associate Professor of Anthropology and Museum Studies at New York University

• Leadership Award: Dr. Jessie Ryker-Crawford, Director of the MFA in Cultural Administration, Institute of American Indian Arts, Santa Fe, New Mexico

• Libraries Institutional Excellence Award: Yakama Nation Library, Toppenish, Washington

• Lifetime Achievement Award: Lori Pourier, President, First Peoples Fund, Rapid City, South Dakota

• Museum Institutional Excellence Award: Alaska Native Heritage Center, Anchorage, Alaska

• Outstanding Project: Citizen Potawatomi Nation Cultural Center, Shawnee, Oklahoma

• Tribal Leader Award: Brian Vallo, former Governor of Pueblo of Acoma, New Mexico

The Guardian Award takes its name from the sculpture by Seminole Chief Kelly Haney that stands atop the Oklahoma State Capitol. The sculpture features a Native warrior with a spear staked to the earth as a symbol that Native Nations are here to stay. Recipients of ATALM’s Guardians of Culture and Lifeways Awards are the embodiment of Chief Haney’s message to “Dream big. Work hard. Believe deeply. Let us all rise to our potential.”


The Association of Tribal Archives, Libraries, and Museums (ATALM) is an international association dedicated to preserving and advancing the language, history, culture, and lifeways of Indigenous peoples. Founded in 2010, ATALM maintains a network of support for Indigenous cultural programs, provides professional development training, enables collaboration among tribal and non-tribal cultural institutions, and advocates for programs and funding to sustain the cultural sovereignty of Native Nations. To learn more, visit


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