Indigenous Digital Archive

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Thursday 2017 June 15

Records Made Available through Grant from the New Mexico Historical Records Advisory Board

We've been very fortunate at the Indigenous Digital Archive to receive a grant from the Knight Foundation funding many of the records that will be available on the site when we launch in September 2017. This funding didn't cover all of the records that we wanted to start out with -- mainly records related to the government Indian boarding schools, and the period leading up to them, and records related to land rights. (You can view a more detailed list here.) Luckily, we also received a grant from the New Mexico Historical Records Advisory Board. This grant allowed us to obtain 51 more reels (approximately 51,000 pages) from the National Archives plus scan some rare microfilm held by the Indian Pueblo Cultural Center.

The NMHRAB grant project included putting a backup copy online at the Internet Archive. This means that for this selection of reels, you can see them even before the Indigenous Digital Archive (IDA) launches at the end of this summer. But be sure to check them out in the IDA for the full experience, where they'll be easy to use, and you can collaborate with others or share additional or corrective information.

Follow the links for the original finding aids plus samples of the records:

US National Archives microfilm publication M1011: __Superintendent's Annual Narrative and Statistical Reports From Field Jurisdictions of the Bureau of Indian Affairs, 1907-1938__

US National Archives microfilm publication M1070: Reports of Inspections of the Field Jurisdictions of the Office of Indian Affairs, 1873-1900

You can also see more behind-the-scenes photos on our Facebook page

Wednesday 2016 June 22

It's on! IDA receives a National Leadership Grant

We are happy to share the news that the Indigenous Digital Archive project has received a National Leadership Grant from the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS)! We'll kick off this fall at the Museum of Indian Arts and Culture (MIAC). Check us out on Twitter at @NativeDocs or sign up for our email list (below) to find out when and how you can participate. We're excited to be working with a top notch software team to build our toolkit to help create effective access to these documents. We'll work with them in the fall to help design the interface.

Working in collaboration with the New Mexico State Library Tribal Libraries Program and the Indian Pueblo Cultural Center, we'll start with a selection of open public records related to land and to the government Indian Boarding Schools. In our first phase we'll create access to digital images of over 78 linear feet of government records that have not been readily available to the people and communities they relate to.

For more on the project, you can read the announcement from the IMLS (click through for project docs), or see a bit of illustrated information here.. Or contact us! Email info @ , or Twitter @NativeDocs @AnnaNaruta

Looking forward to working with you in Fall 2016!


Tuesday 2015 July 14

Building for Digital Preservation and Interoperability

When you use the Indigenous Digital Archive, these will all just be things under the hood, making things work smoothly and making the information last. But in putting together the project and looking to make sure it has longevity, we're so excited at what's been opened up by incorporating the international standards of Open Annotation and the International Image Interoperability Format (IIIF). This will keep the content - including the annotations you create to add meaning and make things more usable - in a system that allows us to migrate forward when we need to and not get stuck inside a custom built application. In May Indigenous Digital Archive project director and digital archives specialist Dr. Anna Naruta-Moya joined colleagues from Stanford University, Harvard, Yale, Cornell, and the National Library of Wales who presented at the National Gallery of Art in DC on how they're using these international standards to create projects and interfaces both good for the user experience and good for digital preservation. video | @AnnaNaruta

Wednesday 2014 September 17

Welcome! Help Build the Indigenous Digital Archive

Welcome!  You have reached the right place.  We are in the planning stage.  Scroll down to sign up for email updates.

Test texts available online:

Reports of the Superintendent of Santa Fe Indian School, 1910-1922

Reports of the Superintendent of Santa Fe Indian School, 1923-1930

List of Students at SFIS, 1919-1929 (Note: some years missing, but may be available in documents from other series)

Reports of the Superintendent of San Juan Day School, 1922-1926

From the Superintendent's Report, check out all the sewing output that the little girls at the government school at the San Juan Reservation (of the BIA's Northern Navajo Agency) did in the 1922 school year

The Museum of Indian Arts and Cultural (MIAC) is currently applying for IMLS National Leadership Grant funding to support this collaborative project, the Indigenous Digital Archive.  We are building an opensource tool to allow Native American community members and others to individually and collaboratively engage with authentic public documents of community history, government actions, and civic life never before available in New Mexico. 

The project will create free online effective access for federal records that have never before available in New Mexico, documents which have an immediate and direct relation to Native individual and community histories. These records date from the 1830s-1930s and are open. The first round of the project will focus on records related to land and the federal boarding schools and day schools, 1890s-1930, documents which have a great amount of information about individual and community histories.

Software tool for creating meaningful access and building on each other’s learning experiences
These federal records, while individually understandable, are bureaucratically complex in arrangement, and inherently interwoven among different document sets. (The same report may discuss a Pueblo of the north and another of the south, or day schools at Tewa and Dine (aka Navajo) reservations.) This grant project will create an opensource software tool that will interface with pdfs of the records, and allow readers to tag parts of the documents with tags meaningful to them, whether it is the correct spelling of an ancestor’s name, or a topic they’re researching, such as “boarding school deaths” or “running away.”

The documents, while sometimes typewritten, are resistant to OCR, or automatic Optical Character Recognition by computer.

For Native peoples, these records provide information critical to understanding experiences in periods of complex and new and more involved relations with the federal government with long-lasting consequences for individuals and communities. Creating effective access locally is particularly important at this time as this is a window of opportunity where the tribes have the benefit of understanding the records with the input of those who are elders today who were young children at the time of the creation of the later records, and others who still have first-hand stories from their parents or grandparents in the 1920s-1930s and even earlier.

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