American Indian Studies Research Institute: Week 6

As the search for grants expands, so does my knowledge of Excel. One new trick I learned this week is how to custom sort the rows according to the numerical order of the Date Due column, in descending order. In terms of agencies and guidelines, I am trying to learn more about what is available exclusively to affiliated tribal organizations and individuals. I found many of them in Department of Health and Department of Education, etc., but also some community foundations like Social Justice Fund Northwest, which helped to fund the Crow Language Consortium and Indian People’s Action in Montana in 2017.

AISRI had a visitor from Oklahoma who was full of networking ideas to get more of IU involved with Indigenous studies. One really cool example she mentioned was a Native-led tv station (online) which produces 30 minute documentaries about notable public figures. In these fantastic brainstorming sessions, wonderful ideas come up like getting the Media School involved in bringing these folks to campus.

To demonstrate the topsy turvy learning curve I experience in this endeavor to learn about grants, here is a fine example: I found a grant I thought would work, so I dove into the particulars and hoped it would advance. However, I was informed that a PhD was needed to register as the Private Investigator doing the research work in the proposal, and unfortunately, AISRI didn’t have one handy. In Digital Humanities class, though, we had a visit from the Head of Digital Libraries at IU Libraries who said a PhD is not required for a Private Investigator. In fact, as we had been discussing in class, Librarians are encouraged to register as Private Investigators for those grants which they are already in or planned to be in routine consultation. The hip industry term is “alternative academic,” and I do think it can benefit libraries and institutions a great deal. I was ready to get a PhD in order to help people get good grants, but I was utterly relieved to learn that I wouldn’t have to. However, to echo the punchline introduced immediately in orientation to the MLS program, “It depends!” Seasoned experts at AISRI reminded me of the frequency with which grant requirements vary, and even more slippery still, they are not always forthcoming about which requirements weren’t met, so some grants still do require a PhD, and for some, we’ll never know.

What I’m learning about the search for grants is that finding is just the tip of the iceberg. I am not disappointed. I am so overwhelmingly privileged for this in-depth experience doing something I care so much about, and will always want to continue.

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