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.
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.
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)