“The Invisible Monument” will produce an incisive oral history of creating the Visitor Contact Station (VCS) at Katahdin Woods and Waters National Monument (the Monument) in northern Maine. The completed VCS (2023) will represent a groundbreaking collaboration between Indigenous Wabanaki peoples, Maine conservation organization Elliotsville Foundation, Inc. (EFI), and the U.S. National Park Service (NPS).
Meagan Lacy, who is the Chief Librarian of the Guttman College Library, describes the “The Invisible Monument” as “a way of revealing the past in the present. The Waters National Monument was established in 2016 but was very controversial. The timber industry and some of those who had grown accustomed to having unrestricted access to the land for hunting and fishing were opposed to it. By gathering firsthand accounts of the VCS’s creation—oral histories—Colette will make visible the legacy of discriminatory practices against the Wabanaki people and, in doing so, reinforce the value and importance of conservation efforts.”
In October 2021 the OHA was awarded $825,000 from the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) through the American Rescue Plan: Humanities Grantmaking [Funding Opportunity Number: 20210513-ARPG] for a project titled “Diversifying Oral History Practice: A Fellowship Program for Under/Unemployed Oral Historians.” Oral historians from communities which have been historically marginalized in the field (such as Indigenous peoples, people of color, people with disabilities, and working class people) were particularly invited to apply. Applicants were encouraged to propose projects grounded in partnerships with communities and organizations.
Colette Denali Montoya-Sloan is a member of Isleta Pueblo and a descendant of San Felipe Pueblo, living in Lenapehoking. As a queer, Indigenous librarian/archivist, she works at the intersections of oral history and memory. A community college reference librarian, as well as an audio archivist at the Lesbian Herstory Archives, Colette connects people to stories and knowledge. She is a graduate of the University of Wisconsin—Madison and earned her Master of Library and Information Science at the City University of New York—Queens College.