Labriola Blog: Labriola's 30th Anniversary Highlights
30th Anniversary Celebration, Thursday, May 18, 2023
The Labriola National American Indian Data Center celebrated its 30th Anniversary on Thursday, May 18th at the Hayden Library in Tempe, Arizona. The celebration took place on the 2nd floor of Hayden Library, in room 236, where Arizona State tribal flags were proudly displayed and represented on silver poles. Simple yet elegant centerpieces consisting of cattails, designed by Patricia Odle from Hayden library’s Communications team, stood in the middle of round study stations covered in black tablecloths. In combination with the colorful tribal state flags and the 30th anniversary design, the room evoked pride and acknowledgement for Frank and Mary Labriola's establishment of an Indigenous library at Arizona State University (ASU) and its predecessors who took care of its resources, archives, and collections.
The evening started with an opening prayer from Gila River Indian Community (GRIC) member, Andrew Pedro. Afterwards, the celebration was then MC’d by Jacob Moore, Assistant Vice-President of Tribal Relations at ASU. Jacob provided a warm introduction to Labriola Director, Alex Soto, to provide a welcome to everyone in attendance. After the welcome, Opening Remarks were provided by Jim O'Donnell, University Librarian at ASU. Jim spoke towards the importance of the Labriola Center and thanked Director Alex Soto for his leadership and innovation at making the Labriola an inclusive space for Indigenous students at ASU and leading center for Indigenous research and archives. GRIC Governor, Stephen Lewis, then provided a brief overview of Labriola’s history with GRIC. Additionally, Governor Lewis spoke of the importance of having a Indigenous director at a library, especially someone who is also O’odham, and looks forward to Labriola working with the GRIC and other AZ tribes.
Following the first part of the evening, Labriola took a moment to honor its past. Myla Vicenti Carpio, Associate Professor of American Indian Studies, spoke of Labriola’s impact with Indigenous students at ASU and also honored two pivotal leaders of Labriola’s past, Joyce Martin, ASU Librarian and Head of Social Sciences Division, and Simon Ortiz, Indigenous Poet and ASU Emeritus Professor of English. After the honoring, the two were gifted O’odham baskets that were purchased from the Tohono O’odham community. Additionally, Simon Ortiz thanked the Labriola Center and talked of the importance of having an Indigenous library that serves not only the Indigenous academic community, but the tribal communities themselves.
For the last part of the celebration, Chairwomen of the Hai-Ced O’odham tribe, Christina Andrews, spoke about the Labriola’s current and future work with the Hai-Ced O’odham’s efforts to attain federal tribal recognition. She spoke of the importance of the Labriola’s mission and goals of working with tribal communities on their terms and being a supporter of tribes in building their own library services and resources, such as archiving. To conclude, Director Alex Soto spoke of Labriola’s future and what the center seeks to accomplish. He shared information of Labriola’s expansion, in terms of space and services. He shared that the Labriola will be moved entirely to the 2nd floor of Hayden library and that the center will be strengthening its archival services to better serve Indigenous communities. Afterwards, a closing prayer was provided and participants were provided with a reception.
For the reception, everyone gathered outside to enjoy a scrumptious cuisine created by Chef Renetto Mario Etsitty, a Navajo cater, who runs the REZ, a local Urban Eatery that you can find late at night at local venues, farmers markets, and at Palabras Bookstore near downtown Phoenix. For the anniversary, the menu consisted of sticky blue cornbread, green chili pork stew, healthy grains, and tamales. For refreshments, there was a prickly pear drink that had hints of jalapeno, basil, and pineapple. Accompanied by tasteful food and drink was acoustic music by Earth Surface People, a local Indigenous band. Their original music added to the ambience of victory in having an Indigenous library that has outlasted three decades.
We are so thrilled to be helping out communities and providing safe spaces for Indigenous students at Arizona State University. Here's to many more experiences, partnerships, growth, and memories at the Labriola National American Indian Data Center!
By Yitazba Largo-Anderson and Eric Hardy