Special Trustee Ross Swimmer and the Principal Deputy Special Trustee Donna Erwin, with the Office of the Special Trustee for American Indians (OST), will lead a tour of the American Indians Records Repository (AIRR) to offer representatives from the Indian Land Working Group (ILWG) a first-hand view of this special facility. The tour, scheduled for Thursday morning, April 29, 2008, is one way OST is reaching out to tribal organizations.
“This excellent facility is a demonstration of our progress implementing trust management reforms,” said Swimmer, a member of the Cherokee Nation. He continued, “We are pleased to show Chairman Nunez and other members of the Indian Land Working Group the care that is being taken to preserve Indian records.”
The president of Haskell Indian Nations University, Dr. Linda Warner, will join the tour. Haskell University offers courses in records management, and staff members at AIRR help teach those courses. Students from the nearby university perform some of their records management coursework at AIRR.
The AIRR is located in a former limestone mine in Lenexa, Kansas. The repository, completed in 2004, is used to preserve retired Indian Affairs records, including trust records. The facility currently has more than 160,000 cubic feet of Indian records in storage, some of which reflect Indian trust activities prior to 1900. The AIRR is the product of a partnership between the National Archives and Records Administration and the Department of the Interior.
The ILWG responded to a letter sent by OST to a number of tribal organizations. After touring, the ILWG participants will meet with OST’s leadership to discuss key trust reforms.
“Using this forum to expand our dialogs with members of representative groups helps us more clearly understand the needs of our Tribal and individual Indian beneficiaries,” stated Erwin, who is an enrolled member of the Muscogee Creek Nation of Oklahoma.
Visit the OST website at www.doi.gov/ost.
The mission of OST is to perform our fiduciary trust responsibilities to American Indian Tribes, individual Indians and Alaska natives by incorporating a beneficiary focus and beneficiary participation while providing effective, competent stewardship and management of trust assets.