I defended my dissertation in April and participated in graduation last month. I’ve been thinking a lot about how I can use this website as a way to communicate with people who might be interested in my work. I’m been thinking a lot about my next steps.
But before I move on, I want to take an opportunity to thank people who have helped me get to this point. And I want to do this by sharing a version of the dedication that appears in my dissertation. Perhaps this is an easy way to ease into blogging, by sharing something I’ve already written. Perhaps. But it is one way to get started. Here it goes…
My dissertation was a long time coming and was not done alone. Ever since I was young girl, I knew that I wanted to earn a PhD. However, being a first generation college student, I really had no idea what earning a PhD entailed until I was in the midst of the process. Thank you to my family who were always supportive of my educational pursuits, no matter what. Thank you to my husband, Joe Seymour, who believed in me, encouraged me, and loved me unconditionally throughout this journey.
I wish to thank my friends and colleagues in the Indigenous Information Research Group (IIRG) for the support, encouragement, inspiration, and intellectual stimulation. Thank you to Dr. Cheryl Metoyer, Dr. Marisa Duarte, Dr. Miranda Belarde-Lewis, Dr. Sheryl Day, and Dr. Juan Carlos Chavez. The fact that we are all Indigenous and we are all now PhD-holders is a testament to the strength of IIRG. A sincere and heart-filled acknowledgement to our IIRG sister, Allison “Ally” Krebs whose energy and love kept me going. Ally, you are missed, but your enthusiasm and spirit lives on through us. Thank you to Dr. Clarita Lefthand-Begay for your support and for joining us at the iSchool. Thank you to Dr. Harry Bruce and the iSchool for creating a space for IIRG at the school and for supporting the Native North American Indigenous Knowledge initiative. The future is bright.
A huge thank you to my committee, Dr. Cheryl Metoyer, Dr. Allyson Carlyle, Dr. David Levy, and Dr. José A. Lucero for your guidance and support.
Thank you to everyone who contributed to the dissertation—to my interviewees, to the librarians and archivists at all the special collections I visited, to the friends and relatives who cheered me on from near and far.
I acknowledge that I would not have gone down this path had it not been for the early mentorship of Dr. Loriene Roy. Thank you for your guidance and for opening my eyes to the world of Indigenous librarianship. And to Dr. Jeanette Haynes Writer, who was the first Native faculty member I encountered as a freshman at New Mexico State University. Also thank you to Dr. Lotsee Patterson who believed in my work with tribal libraries that started more than 12 years ago. I am blessed to have had strong Native women as mentors and academic role models throughout my entire higher education journey.
My deepest thanks to the Indigenous and tribal librarians who I have met across the years who have shared your libraries and your stories with me. Thank you to the American Indian Library Association (AILA) and to the Association of Tribal Libraries, Archives, and Museums (ATALM) for providing the place for many of us to meet.
Thank you to my friends and fellow PhD students at the iSchool for making this journey enjoyable. To future Dr. Ivette Bayo Urban and to Dr. Veronica Guajardo, and my PhD cohort (Drs. Jordan Eschler, Katie O’Leary, Philip Reed, and to Amanda Menking, Zak Dehlawi, Martez Mott, Hyerim Cho)–you area all amazing scholars and I’m thankful I’ve had you on my side.
A sincere thanks to all my former students, especially the Knowledge River scholars from the University of Arizona. You all inspired me to think big and dream big.
Getting to the end of a PhD journey doesn’t happen without substantial funding. I am proud to say that I once I finish this PhD, I will have earned four graduate degrees (an MA, MSIS, MSIS, & PhD) and one undergraduate degree relatively debt-free. My PhD education was funded by the following: the UW iSchool; a GO-MAP Presidential Dissertation Fellowship, the Navajo Nation; the Cobell Graduate Student Summer Fellowship; the American Indian Graduate Center; Catching the Dream Scholarship; and the American Indian Education Foundation. I also want to give special thanks to the ALA Spectrum Scholarship and to the Honoring Generations program (funded by IMLS) for supporting my library school graduate degree.
I want to acknowledge that although I am Navajo from New Mexico, I wrote most of my dissertation from my home in Olympia, WA, on the traditional territories of the Squaxin Island people.