‘Our history is contained there’: loss of archive threatens Native American tribes | Native Americans | The Guardian

“In 1969, a clerical error resulted in the Samish Indian Nation in Washington state suddenly being dropped from the federal government’s list of recognized tribes. It took almost three decades of wading through piles of historical documents and painstaking litigation before its members were able to regain that recognition, along with the federal benefits and protections that come with it….

But the archive, which sits on a 10-acre site at the edge of Lake Washington, is under threat. It is among a dozen federal properties across the US expected to be put up for sale next year after being identified as “high value assets”, a move that could deprive the Native American community in the Pacific north-west of access to critical resources….

In a statement sent to the Guardian, the National Archives said it was committed to digitising its records in Seattle so they are available free no matter where a person is located.

Records that have not yet been digitized can be scanned and sent to people unable to visit in person at a cost of 80 cents per page, explained Susan Karren, the director of the National Archives at Seattle….”