Sequoyah National Research Center receives $72k grant

Boxed archives at Sequoyah National Research Center archives.

A state council has awarded the Sequoyah National Research Center at the University of at Little Rock nearly $72,000 for compact shelving to better preserve the center’s extensive collection of Native American newspapers.

The Sequoyah National Research Center houses the world’s largest collection of Native American newspapers and periodicals. With the grant, the center will purchase and install compact shelving that will help the center better store and expand their collection.

“We are so excited about this grant,” said Erin Fehr, an archivist at Sequoyah. “We have received several large donations in the past couple of years and have been rapidly running out of room. With this new shelving, we will be able to house all the newspapers we have in our archives and have room to grow. We are so grateful to the Arkansas Natural and Cultural Resources Council for this grant.”

The $71,927 grant from the Arkansas Natural and Cultural Resources Council was one of a total of $24.7 million in grants awarded to 16 state agencies, colleges, and universities in Arkansas for fiscal year 2020, which begins July 1.

The council’s funds, which come from a real estate transfer tax, are used for acquisition, management, and stewardship of state-owned lands or the preservation of state-owned historic sites, buildings, structures, or objects. The council also can spend money on objects determined to be of value for recreational or conservation projects.

Sequoyah’s collection contains nearly 2,800 unique titles from around 200 tribes in the U.S. and Canada. The current space houses 1,838 boxes of archived newspapers. The new shelving will house more than 2,600 boxes of archived newspapers with room for 200 more boxes.

“Most of the newspapers were published after World War II and up to the present. We have a handful of titles that were published before that,” Fehr said. “Most of the periodicals are official tribal publications. We have a few titles about Crazy Horse or the American Indian Movement, also called AIM, which was very big in the 1970s with tribal sovereignty issues. We have a few Native Hawaiian titles, and some publications that utilize their native languages. One Canadian newspaper is written in English and the Native language, Inuktitut. This language uses syllabics instead of the alphabet, so it’s interesting to see a language that doesn’t look like our own.”

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