The Haury Program is supporting the right of Native American and Indigenous peoples to govern the collection, ownership, and application of their own data.
Navajo Nation Department of Water Resources Library Preservation Project
A partnership between the Navajo Nation Department of Water Resources (NNDWR) and the UArizona James E. Rogers College of Law brought over 8,000 water-related documents on the Navajo Nation, including maps, to the UArizona Daniel F. Cracchiolo Law Library. The collection will be temporarily housed in the library to help facilitate its digitization and public access.
The project, initially funded by the Haury Program, recently got a grant from the Center for Research Libraries to advance its goals and commitment to the NNDWR. The College of Law has also supported the project through the in-kind contributions of many faculty, staff, and administration members.
Tribal and UArizona experts lead the project, including Maurice Upshaw (Navajo), Project Manager and GIS Supervisor at the NNDWR Water Management Branch, Dr. Crystal Tulley-Cordova (Navajo), Principal Hydrologist for the NNDWR Water Management Branch, Teresa Miguel-Stearns, Law Library Associate Dean and Director, and Jessica Ugstad, Collection Management Librarian at the UArizona Daniel F. Cracchiolo Law Library.
Others providing advice and assistance include Travis Spence, UArizona Law Head of Technical Services; Michael Wagenheim, UArizona Law Assistant Dean of Information Technology & Online Learning; Jaime Valenzuela, Archivist at UArizona Law Special Collections; and Nikki Rae Tulley (Navajo), Ph.D. candidate, UArizona Department of Environmental Science.
The Library Preservation Project was conceived to preserve and give the public access to valued, one-of-a-kind documents, some dated back to the 1930s. Unfortunately, the constant flooding of the 90-year-old building in Ft. Defiance, Arizona, which was once a courthouse and a jail, damaged some documents.
While the UArizona provides a space to house this collection temporarily and will help facilitate its digitization and build a system to ease its access, the NNDWR will manage the data, curate the information and control its access. That way, the Library Preservation Project honors the tribal and information sovereignty of the Navajo Nation and their data and resources while working with the NNDWR to provide access to essential information to improve all aspects of water resources in the Navajo Nation.
The Library Preservation Project involves three phases:
Phase I was completed in 2021. Over 8,000 water resource documents, reports, and maps from NNDWR Library are now at the Daniel F. Cracchiolo Law Library. For now, the only people who will have access will be researchers that will be pre-approved by NNDWR on a case-by-case basis and facilitated by the Daniel F. Cracchiolo Law Library.
Phase II consists of preparing and digitizing the collection. At this point, Daniel F. Cracchiolo Law Library plans to recruit and hire students to help with Phase II work, including preparing the collection materials for digitization, creating metadata, and performing quality control.
The Daniel F. Cracchiolo Law Library will collaborate with UArizona’s Communication and Cyber Technologies to create a database to host the digitized library during phase III. Once the collection is digitized, most of the collection will be publicly available, with NNDWR determining which resources will require restricted access.