Paiute tribe, national monument partner on repository

Salt Lake City, Utah (AP) May 2010

After 11 years of planning, a modern museum repository for artifacts and archival material of early Mormon settlers and the Paiute Tribe has opened in northern Arizona.

Monument superintendent John W. Hiscock said May 22 opening of the $2 million facility is the result of a joint venture between Pipe Spring National Monument and the Kaibab Band of Paiutes.

The two already share museum space at the park’s visitor center, but the facility will now have a new, separate repository to preserve materials vital to understanding the area’s culture and heritage.

“We made a 25-year partnership agreement with the Paiutes that we (the monument) will provide the building if they provide the land,” Hiscock said.

The new facility is environmentally controlled, solar powered and has high security, Hiscock said.

The 87-year-old monument’s collection consists of archives, archaeological items, ethnological items, and Mormon pioneer culture items, many of which were donated by pioneer descendants throughout southern Utah and northern Arizona.

The facility also provides opportunities for the Kaibab Band in protecting cultural and natural history items as well as tribal archives.

Items from the collection will be made available to scholars and local residents by special arrangement. They also will be on display for periods in the museum as part of a rotation system, Hiscock said.

Cyd Martin, director of Indian affairs for the park service’s Intermountain Region, told the group Saturday that the repository project is the first time the park service has joined in such a collaborative project with an American Indian tribe and hopes it sets a precedent for future opportunities.

“So much work went into (the repository),” Martin said. “It is a completely unique facility and a shining example for the entire nation.”

Kaibab Paiutes historian, Eileen Posvar, said the facility will help bring together historical items important to the tribe, including recordings of stories from tribal elders, photographs, music and dance.

“It will be good for the young people of the tribe to be able to listen to these things,” she said.