It's been a long road, and now we're looking forward to launching the Indigenous Digital Archive this fall.

To figure out how to make the Indigenous Digital Archive effective to use, we thought about what people have been saying about what they want to do and why, and drew up these user stories to help guide our designers:

A) Sohk'wha, an adult tribal member: Sohk'wha's grandparents attended government boarding schools in the 1900s-1920s, but it was an experience they largely didn't discuss. Sohk'wha would like to use the documents to learn more about his grandparents' lives, and the environment they were in. He would potentially contribute content from his own documents, photos, and other sources he has found, especially to enrich information about his grandparents and their peers. Sohk'wha has friends whose grandparents or parents were in the boarding school system, and collectively they would like to know more about potential shared experiences of their ancestors. For example, were they in the system at the same time? Did they share experiences in workshops, the military-style bands, athletics? When they were on months-long work assignments in the “Outing” program, did they have worksites or bosses or even just geographic areas in common? Sohk'wha is college educated but may not previously have participated in extended primary source research with large collections or with material organized archivally. He knows information from family oral histories and has gathered what he can of family documents and photos.

B) Kwanie, a graduate student and tribal member: Kwanie wants to use the Indigenous Digital Archive to conduct research for her thesis. She hopes to track the development and changes in the US Government policy towards Native people from the Indian Wars and administrations under the Department of War through the creation of boarding schools and, forty years later, the reforms of the boarding schools and the Bureau of Indian Affairs under the Indian New Deal in the 1930s. She is interested in the collaborative potentials of the research, and will be putting in a significant amount of time reading and tagging the documents for her own research. She finds the ability to point to passages with permanent URLs and return to a workscreen with her selected documents useful in communicating with her faculty advisors and in making presentations and engaging in scholarly exchange.

C) Maria, an art historian, curator, and professor: Maria is an expert on contemporary and 19th and 20th century Native American Art. She would like to trace further the development of particular techniques and schools of practice, and finds that to do this it is key to be able to closely study art educators and programs of the Boarding Schools, from the period when Native art first started to be tolerated, through the time when it became an established part of vocational curriculum. She looks forward to being able to discover and to research in the documents detail of the programs' emergence, Native instructors' developing schools of practice, choices of traditional and modern techniques, and students. She feels that having detailed historical knowledge of the contexts of the boarding schools and the governance of the Bureau of Indian Affairs before the enactment of Indian Self-Determination is key to understanding any of the 19th and 20th century museum collections, biographical information, and community histories.

D) Poe, a young person in a tribal community: Poe is in high school and found out about the Indigenous Digital Archive through a program at her local tribal library. She has been experimenting with the documents, reading about government schools in her area. When she reads something about a happening in the school or a policy that was directed towards her tribe, she asks her grandparents if they have heard about this and if it was true. This has become occasion for her grandparents sharing with her many stories about life in their community in decades past, and what their own parents and grandparents overcame. Poe's grandparents have asked her to show them certain things she has been finding, and have asked her if she could find more information about certain topics, such as the farming program in a certain time period and how various decisions were reached.

E) John and Harriet, volunteers / hobbyists: John and Harriet are interested in working with the material in the IDA because they are interested in knowledge and cultural institutions like libraries and museums, are interested in history, and would like to make meaningful and visible contributions to well-run collaborative research projects with clear objectives. John is retired and able to devote significant time to projects that interest him, and Harriet wishes to use part of her spare time to explore interesting material and make contributions to help a larger project make information meaningfully accessible. John and Harriet are interested in the content, and are also willing to work on structural tasks that make the materials more accessible overall, such as marking the beginnings and endings of individual documents in a large series of pages, and marking where years and months begin and end in a series of documents that is arranged chronologically. John has also just introduced the project to a friend who frequently makes presentations on his work at the annual state historical society meetings and is very interested in continuing his research with documents not previously available to him.

F) Whaa pin, a community elder: Whaa pin is a tribal member who himself attended boarding school. He wants to be able to see the records of the school he attended, and the decisions that were made that affected his family and home community. He wants to see what they put on record, and what else can be learned. For him, being able to examine these documents is part of his reconciliation with the times and policies he lived through. He needs a way to look through this information in blocks of time that are right for him, from the convenience of his home or local tribal library. He would perhaps like to connect with others who attended boarding schools in that period. Whaa pin's cousin, a tribal historian, is also interested in being able to access more documents regarding tribal lands and their disposition in the mid-to-late nineteenth and early twentieth century.

G) Arthur, Sam, and Feliciana, a Tribal Librarian, a University Librarian, and a State regional history librarian: While Arthur, Sam, and Feliciana are able to direct inquiring researchers to a selection of secondary sources, prior to the IDA they had no resource to which they could direct individuals trying to find out more in detail about most boarding schools, or about mid-to-late nineteenth and early twentieth century regional history. They are relieved to have a place to direct researchers to that provides primary source material in a setting that doesn't require someone to be already expert at researching with archival material and the special ways in which it is organized. They also find it helpful that directing researchers to highly relevant material no longer requires that the researcher be able to take off work and travel hundreds or thousands of miles.

H) Brook, a College Instructor: Over the course of a semester, Brook typically involves his students in an extended research project. The class takes one main topic, and students work in collaborative groups to conduct original research to address aspects of the topic, write reports, and make presentations. While he conducts student evaluations in part by the assessments members of a group make of each others' work, Brook would be interested to be able to see how many and what tags over what areas of the documents were contributed by particular students.

We look forward to the launch of the Indigenous Digital Archive in Fall 2017. The Indigenous Digital Archive is a project of the Museum of Indian Arts and Culture and Museum of New Mexico Foundation, in collaboration with the Indian Pueblo Cultural Center and the State Library Tribal Libraries Program. The Indigenous Digital Archive (IDA) is funded by a National Leadership Grant from the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS), the New Mexico Historical Records Advisory Board, and the Knight Foundation.