What Guides Me

My blog post about the cultural protocols that guide what projects and programs I work on in the Galleries, Libraries, Archives and Museums (GLAM) sector.

I decided a few months ago to create a cultural selection criteria to assist me in ensuring that the projects or programs I work on match my cultural values. The idea being if a potential project or program I am meant to work on doesn’t meet most of the criteria below, I either would not do it or I would modify it so it does.

Even though I am sharing this criteria, it is mainly for me and is not intended to guide or instruct anyone else on how to do what they do.  The criteria below is heavily based on the 25 Projects chapter of Decolonizing Methodologies

My protocols for any project or program:

  • That the projects I work on privilege and centre First Nations voices and allow First Nations people to represent themselves and control how they and their manifestations of culture are represented.
  • That the projects I work on are initiated by First Nations communities expressing a need or desire.
  • That the projects I work on facilitate First Nations people to have greater control over the ways in which First Nations culture, history and people are discussed and handled.
  • That the projects I work on respect First Nations people’s ownership of their culture, stories, science, and art and ensures that First Nations people can protect their cultural and intellectual property from misuse and exploitation.
  • That the projects I work on strengthen or revitalise First Nations cultural practices and frameworks.
  • That the projects I work on support the expressions of First Nations sovereignty.
  • That the projects I work on centre appropriate First Nations languages when possible.
  • That the projects I work on are collaborative and supportive in nature.

As can seen, the list is not extensive. I plan for this criteria to be fluid and I plan to add, delete and modify criteria as I more acquire more knowledge and change as a person. Nevertheless, I think this criteria will guide me and help me assert my cultural values.

By Nathan Sentance

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