Labriola Blog: Community at Labriola by Lourdes Pereira

Published Aug. 31, 2022
Updated Dec. 14, 2023

Community at Labriola by Lourdes Pereira

Trying to express what my experience has been with Labriola in only a few paragraphs is one of the most difficult things someone could request of me. I have worked for the Labriola National American Indian Data Center for about 3 years and I have had the honor of witnessing its growth in that time. I started out as a student staff with former Labriola Librarian Joyce Martin, who through her hard work and dedication made the Labriola a success. After her departure, Alex Soto became Labriola’s first Indigenous O’odham Director and I have seen a complete shift in every aspect of Labriola. Under his direction, I believe Labriola went a step further in Indigenizing ASU’s library and, as a result, the Labriola Center has an incredible all Native staff doing amazing work with local tribal communities and ASU’s Indigenous communities.

Person sitting at a table looking at photographs and documents with a bookshelf behind


I do not mean to sound cliché when I say this, but working for Labriola has also completely changed my life. Because of the Community Driven-Archives Initiative workshops the Labriola has hosted with local tribal communities and the ASU Indigenous community, I’m currently my own tribal community’s archivist. I come from the Hia-Ced Hemijkam. Prior to attending one of these workshops, I knew nothing about what archives meant or how important it is to protect community memory on a major scale. Now I do this work for my community, where I meet with community members each month and help in ways that I didn't think were possible before. My dream has always been to attend law school and now, because of Labriola and all the knowledge I have learned from this Indigenous library, I am extremely interested in being an attorney that focuses on Indigenous Intellectual Property rights.

ASU Indigenous students and community members during a Halloween party hosted by the Labriola Center

I have barely even scratched the surface of how Labriola has helped me as an Indigenous student. Before I joined the Labriola, it was especially difficult to find community with other Native students in classes or around campus. As the Labriola has grown, it has also become a space where I can engage with other Indigenous students and receive that sense of community while being away from home. I also enjoy seeing non-natives at our library, because I believe it reflects just how much of a culturally safe place we have. I am currently going into my senior year at ASU, which means I've been at this school for almost 4 years and therefore I can undeniably tell you that Labriola is a very special place that just keeps getting better, because of its amazing staff. Labriola has absolutely changed my life in unexpected ways and has given me a chance to help my community. I can’t imagine my life without ever getting the opportunity of working here, because I know for a fact I wouldn't be who I am today without it.


- Lourdes Pereira (Hia-Ced O'odham and Yoeme)