Ya’at’eeh (hello), my name is Donovan, I’m originally from a community called Tsin Nasbąh Si’ąh (Smith Lake), which is located on the Eastern Agency of the Navajo Nation.
Much of my journey began with great curiosity of technology at a young age, that soon revolved into creating graphic design work, creating websites, but all that I have done has Diné Bizaad (Navajo language) in mind.
For as long as I can remember it was emphasized to me to get my education and to help others because the greatest good is helping others succeed too.
I grew up constantly being around Diné Bizaad (Navajo Language), I’m considered passively bilingual, dii Diné Bizaad nizhoni da’iinlata ba a’jooltaa (I want to learn and teach others the Navajo language).
It has been a part of everything I do, regardless of being trained in various roles as a graphic/web designer, librarian, user research specialist, archivist, and linguist.
I realized there is a great need to find various means to sustain tribal culture and knowledge in some shape or form. I feel that there is cohesion and balance that can be achieved so that language may persist in cultural heritage institutes as well as through servers and databases of the internet.
Language and culture are often one and the same, and through language revitalization, maintenance, documentation, and education, it can greatly assist.
Tribal archives and libraries can be a strong hub for traditional and cultural knowledge, they could be utilized as such. Already, we can see that many tribal libraries, archives, and museums (TLAM) have gone through great efforts to preserve and maintain their knowledges through those cultural memory institutions.
It goes without saying, that we must get our own tribal communities into changing the status quo of what a library was and reshape it into something they can utilize because a library is as lively as the community that embodies it. No longer is just a rest tomb for books but the spaces can be opened and more people can take its space to enjoy culturally appropriate programming and events.
The dream is to make the tribal library, a living thing.