This Directory coincides with IRCA’s mission and a related project, in partnership with Caura Futures, the development and release of an open platform application called [Object-to-Audio], funded in part by generous contributions from the NoVo Foundation.
Given the insufficient resources available to Native communities throughout the Americas for affordable and customizable technology, this app is being developed to aid in efforts to maintain oral tradition in the digital age and to contribute to intergenerational engagement with cultural resources. Beyond simply accessing the materials held in libraries, these initiatives are extremely important in cultural and linguistic revitalization initiatives, among others. The app is conceptually simple enough to allow for adaptable translation of diverse cultural resource materials into any number of useful educational tools, free of compromises to community ownership and control over factors related to intellectual property and privacy. Whether for interactive classroom activities, storytelling, integrated multimedia, or interpretative signage, it can be adapted to suit community-managed content, based on local needs, and operate with or without an Internet connection based on the preferences of the user.
The [Object-to-Audio] app and the Directory of Cultural Resource Libraries are both intended as dynamic platforms, which allow for continued refinement. The coding of the app will likely be open sourced to allow for continued participatory development of functionality and new user generated features and updates.
IRCA and Caura envision these initiatives as part of its response to Walter Echo-Hawk’s assertion that, while the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples is not binding; it “envisions a more direct and collaborative route to effectuate its provisions… [Within which it is] left up to each community, group, and discipline to carry out their own plan of action (1).”