Collaboration with the Navajo Nation

July 27, 2021

The Navajo Nation Department of Water Resources Library Preservation Project is a collaborative preservation and access project between the Navajo Nation Department of Water Resources (NNDWR) and the Law Library, supported by the UA’s Agnese Nelms Haury Program in Environment and Social Justice. This collection is of invaluable cultural and scientific significance, containing reports, maps, and other information and knowledge that directly impacts the current and future health and economic well-being of the people of the Navajo Nation. 

Collections Management Librarian Jessica Ugstad manages this multiyear project, which began in Fall 2020. She shares, “Collaborating with our Navajo colleagues has been a fulfilling, humbling, and educational experience. Having the unique opportunity to begin assisting in the fulfillment of the NNDWR goals for and preservation needs of their collection is a great honor for all those involved.”

The first phase of the project involves the temporary relocation of over 8,000 water resource documents, reports, and maps from the NNDWR Library to the Law Library where they will be secured, stored, and prepared for digitization. The collection will remain available to researchers with the permission of the Navajo Nation. Subsequent phases will involve digitizing the collection to ensure its preservation, while honoring tribal and information sovereignty of the Navajo Nation, the creation of an online database to provide access and facilitate research to improve all aspects of water resources on the Navajo Nation, and finally returning the physical collection and transferring control of the new database to the NNDWR while continuing to support the project well into the future.