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ASU celebrates new Tempe campus space for the Labriola National Data Center

Coverage of tribal natural resources is supported in part by Catena Foundation

Arizona State University recently celebrated the grand opening of a new space, part of the Labriola National American Indian Data Center at an open house held last Wednesday at Hayden Hall on the Tempe campus. It followed after two years of renovations.

Labriola is the only Indigenous-led library center tied to a doctoral research university in the U.S. It was founded in 1993.

Alex Soto is from the Tohono O’odham Nation and serves as its director.

“Ultimately, it comes down to just having a space where we can talk, right, where we can learn from not just the books, but from each other, and the land, and I think that’s a lot of what we’re doing here,” said Soto. “This is create a space that keeps in mind our ways of knowing, and takes care of who we are, our heart and our mind. So, when we come to an institution like this, we’re able to to feel like we’re at home.”

From open-mic poetry nights to "rez-metal shows," Labriola’s staff of four employees and 12 student workers are curating creative Indigenous gatherings aimed at serving ASU’s sizable Indigenous community, which tallies more than 4,000 students and 70 faculty.

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Gabriel Pietrorazio is a correspondent who reports on tribal natural resources for KJZZ.