Museum of Indian Arts & Culture and National Archives Announce New Online Education Tool Expanding Access to Treaties between the U.S. and Native Nation
October 8, 2020
The Museum of Indian Arts & Culture (MIAC), in partnership with the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA), are announcing the launch of a new online tool, the Indigenous Digital Archive’s Treaties Explorer, also known as “DigiTreaties.” This resource expands access to 374 digitized Ratified Indian Treaties digitized from NARA’s holdings and provides context and tools for working with the treaties online.
“The treaties between the U.S. and Native nations are relevant, and few people have had access to know about treaties that are related to where they live,” said Della Warrior (Otoe-Missouria), Director of the Museum of Indian Arts & Culture. “MIAC is pleased to be able to provide this online resource that we all can use to explore our relationships using maps and a carefully curated set of historical documents from the National Archives, the Library of Congress, the Smithsonian, and other sources. This is part of a multi-year project we’re undertaking to provide more access online to historic documents often otherwise unavailable to the people and communities to which they relate, and often which have impacts and continuing legacies today.”
On Monday, October 12 (Indigenous Peoples Day) the MIAC is hosting an online launch featuring three live broadcasts of “how-to” workshops with Professor Sherri Thomas (Taos Pueblo) of the University of New Mexico School of Law. All broadcasts will take place on the MIAC Facebook Page.
The National Archives Foundation, a nonprofit partner of NARA, garnered additional support for the project from a generous anonymous donor, allowing NARA to conserve and make the first-ever scans of these 374 Ratified Indian Treaties from its holdings accessible online through the National Archives Catalog and now the Treaties Explorer.
“Providing online access to these original treaties is a powerful educational tool and part of the mission at the Archives Foundation,” said Patrick Madden, Executive Director of the National Archives Foundation. “The original documents allow people to form their own, unfettered opinions of the agreements, which can have a significant impact and shape a greater understanding of our collective history. This new online access has an educational multiplier effect that, for the first time ever, grants access of these records to millions,” Madden added.
“Thanks to our anonymous donor, we were able to do needed conservation work, scan and digitize this historically and culturally important collection, and these records are accessible for anyone, anywhere, through our National Archives Catalog,” said Archivist of the United States David S. Ferriero. “Now, many more descendants of the original peoples can examine the names and seals and read the words set down by their ancestors so long ago. But more than that, the treaties are still relevant today as tribal leaders and lawyers continue to use them to assert their rights in court, such as in cases over land and water rights.
With such increased access to these records, we plan to continue and increase our educational outreach to Native American communities, and to raise and increase awareness of Native American history.”
“DigiTreaties provides the opportunity for us to demonstrate NARA’s values to ’Collaborate, Innovate, and Learn.’ What I love about this website is the way it pulls together relevant data from our sister institutions to augment and enhance the historical picture around the treaties that NARA holds. That coupled with machine learning technologies, IIIF, and layered geographic design makes this an innovative project focused on supporting public understanding of our history. We are excited to reach out to Native American communities and the public to share this vital historical information,” said Pamela Wright, Chief Innovation Officer for NARA.
This project is made possible in part by an anonymous donor and the National Archives Foundation.
About the Indigenous Digital Archive Project
MIAC’s Indigenous Digital Archive partnership is a collaboration of the Museum of Indian Arts and Culture with the New Mexico State Library, the Indian Pueblo Cultural Center, and the New Mexico History Museum. It is also supported by the generous contributions of two consecutive National Leadership Grants from the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS), a Knight Foundation Prototyping Grant, a collaborative Digitizing Hidden Collections grant from the Council on Library and Information Resources, a Digital Knowledge Sharing Fellowship from the American Philosophical Society Library, the New Mexico Historical Records Advisory Board, and the San Francisco Community Foundation.
About the Museum of Indian Arts and Culture
The Museum of Indian Arts and Culture is a division of the Department of Cultural Affairs, under the leadership of the Board of Regents for the Museum of New Mexico. Programs and exhibits are generously supported by the Museum of New Mexico Foundation and our donors. The mission of the Museum of Indian Arts and Culture/Laboratory of Anthropology is to serve as a center of stewardship, knowledge, and understanding of the artistic, cultural, and intellectual achievements of the diverse peoples of the Native Southwest.
About the National Archives
The National Archives and Records Administration is an independent federal agency that serves American democracy by safeguarding and preserving the records of our Government, so people can discover, use, and learn from this documentary heritage. The National Archives ensures continuing access to the essential documentation of the rights of American citizens and the actions of their government. From the Declaration of Independence to accounts of ordinary Americans, the holdings of the National Archives directly touch the lives of millions of people. The agency supports democracy, promotes civic education, and facilitates historical understanding of our national experience. The National Archives carries out its mission through a nationwide network of archives, records centers, and Presidential Libraries and online at www.archives.gov.
About the National Archives Foundation
The National Archives Foundation is an independent nonprofit that increases public awareness of the National Archives, inspires a deeper appreciation of our country’s heritage, and encourages citizen engagement in our democracy. The Foundation generates financial and creative support for National Archives exhibitions, public programs and educational initiatives, introducing America’s records to people around the U.S. and the world. Learn more at www.archives foundation.org.