The Indigenous Digital Archive

This project is an important demonstration of a community reclaiming ownership of their records and re-contextualizing them to make sure the story is heard. The first part of the project was to make available 78 linear feet of microfilmed government records from the National Archives relating to the Indian boarding schools in New Mexico.

"The era of government-run Indian boarding schools is a controversial and sometimes shameful chapter in American history. Many children were sent away for years at a time, forced to wear European clothes and forbidden from speaking their Native languages. They dressed in military- style uniforms, marched to meals and were sent out to work during school vacations, a practice called “outing.”

The schools were designed to disperse and mix students to separate them from their culture."

From an article in the Santa Fe New Mexican.

Once the material was available as IIIF they could use various automated tools to extract the names of schools and tribes to make the content discoverable. They thought very carefully about what items to make available and enlisted fellows from the indigenous community to vet content and also add annotations using Madoc to re-interpret some of the content in the Archive. For more information on this process see the Respectful Online Access statement on the project website.

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