Lecture Video and Recap: Alexander Soto on 'Archives? Data? It’s All the Same! How Indigenous Librarianship Sets the Foundation for Indigenous Data Sovereignty'

Nov. 21, 2023
iSchool Colloquium featuring Alexander Soto

Alexander Soto, Director, Labriola National American Indian Data Center, Arizona State University Library

Lecture Video

Lecture Recap

Colloquium held November 15, 2023.

Indigenous librarianship is emerging as a critical framework to foster Indigenous data sovereignty (IDSov). But despite its utility to center Indigenous ways of knowing and protocols in Western information institutions, Indigenous librarians and archivists are often an afterthought among scholars, activists, policymakers and community members due to cliche stereotypes of librarianship. In this talk, Alexander Soto, an Indigenous library director who leads an Indigenous-led library center located within a doctoral research university library system, will detail how implementation of Protocols for Native American Archival Materials (PNAAM) is simultaneously operationalizing principles of IDSov. This talk will emphasize how Indigenous librarians and archivists hold critical skill sets and expertise needed to cultivate a sustainable commitment to enact IDSov.

About Alexander Soto

Alexander Soto (Tohono O’odham) is director of the Labriola National American Indian Data Center at Arizona State University (ASU) Library. Under his leadership, the Labriola Center has developed and implemented culturally informed library services, expanded its personnel four-fold and re-established its physical locations as culturally safe spaces for Indigenous library users. Soto co-authored ASU Library’s first land acknowledgement statement. He is the recipient of the Society of American Archivists 2022 Archival Innovator Award and recently was awarded a $1 million grant from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation for Firekeepers: Building Archival Data Sovereignty through Indigenous Memory Keeping, a three-year project to preserve Indigenous knowledge through community-based participatory archival partnerships with Arizona’s Tribal communities. His journey to librarianship comes after years of success as a touring hip-hop musician and activist.