Research Services Archivist – chaoya / nkauj zag ntxhee
chaoya / nkauj zag ntxhee (nws/they), hired through the UW-Madison Libraries’ Diversity Resident Librarian Program, has joined the Libraries as Research Services Archivist for Archives and Record Management. they received their MLIS from the University of North Carolina at Greensboro. nws family resettled in southern California as Hmoob refugees following the American war in Southeast Asia then migrated to the foothills of North Carolina where costs of living were lower and there were more economic opportunities (furniture and textile) for their parents who are multilingual, but limited English proficient.
they grew up in the rural South and raised by a village of strong (yet, gentle) and outspoken Hmoob women. everything they know about being Hmoob and how to love, care and show up for the community, they learned from Hmoob women.
chaoya is excited about this opportunity with UW Archives. largely archives have not always included the stories and experiences of Black, Indigenous and people of color, so they feel a personal responsibility to ensure archives become a valuable source of information for all people so that future generations, such as nws, will not have to experience that sense of loss. they look forward to building relationships and community with people and learning ways if any, the archive can support them and fulfill their research and information needs.
nkauj zag ntxhee hopes to inspire and encourage Hmoob people, specifically queer and trans Hmoob people and other indigenous peoples of the Southeast Asian diaspora to see themselves as librarians and archivists – because what a time it is – to be Hmoob, queer and trans and an archivist.
outside of work, chaoya likes to connect with their ancestors through anything Hmoob-related from doing paj ntaub very slowly, trying to improve their Hmoob, and attempting many times to learn more about growing their own food and medicine. nws picked up practicing ThetaHealing, a healing modality, during Covid.