The American Indian Digital History Project is a Digital History Cooperative founded to recover and preserve rare Indigenous newspapers, photographs, and archival materials from all across Native North America. The project seeks to increase access to historical Tribal documents in order to encourage accurate and responsible American Indian research. Furthermore, the project will be seeking partnerships with Tribal governments and archives to create a digital repository for local Tribes.
This innovative digital project is a cooperative partnership between the University of Kansas, the University of Nebraska at Omaha (UNO), Tribal communities, Tribal Colleges, Native organizations, Libraries, Universities/Colleges, and the larger public. The American Indian Digital History Project (AIDHP) was founded to forge digital partnerships with Native Nations and Indigenous communities located throughout the surrounding region of Nebraska with the intent of expanding the project nationally. This digital cooperative will start with digitizing key primary source documents like Akwesasne Notes and will make these sources free, searchable, and accessible to the greater public. AIDHP works partnership with Native peoples and communities to promote the recovery, sharing, preservation, and protection of rare Tribal archival and primary source materials. AIDHP and a host of public and private institutions will greatly benefit from this expanding partnership of shared archival sources that can better inform scholarship and research about Indigenous peoples.
AIDHP Organizational Goals
- We are interested in partnering with other institutions to digitally archive rare 20th and 21st Century primary sources.
- We encourage responsible American Indian research methods and the increased use of Native source materials.
- With increased access to Native sources increases accountability and attempts to raise the bar on academic and public research on or about Indigenous peoples.
In the months ahead, we plan to digitize other rare journals, newspapers, and other archival sources. Our goal is to partner with other Universities, Tribal Colleges, Libraries, and Archives to sustain and build a nationwide cooperative that is free to the greater public. The archive is a work in progress.
Dr. Kent Blansett, Primary Investigator
Kent Blansett is a descendant of five Tribes: Cherokee, Creek, Choctaw, Shawnee, and Potawatomi through his Blanket, Panther, and Smith family lines. He is proud of his Ozark Mountain heritage, having grown up in what he identifies as the “other four corners” area of Missouri, Oklahoma, Arkansas, and Kansas. After he completed both his MA and Ph.D. in History with Distinction from the University of New Mexico, he taught for three years as an Assistant Professor of History for the University of Minnesota, Morris. Among his numerous awards are the prestigious Dorothy Woodward Dissertation Fellowship, Andrew W. Mellon Dissertation Fellowship, Newberry Library Fellowship, and the Katrin H. Lamon Residential Fellowship from the School for Advanced Research.
His latest manuscript is entitled A Journey to Freedom: The Life of Richard Oakes, 1942-1972 which is under consideration for the Henry Roe Cloud Series on American Indians and Modernity with Yale University Press. Once published, this will be the first biography of Akwesasne Mohawk activist Richard Oakes, who played a major role in the famed 1969 Alcatraz Takeover by the organization Indians of All Tribes. For his first manuscript, Blansett has collected research material from over twenty University and Tribal libraries from New York to California as well as numerous oral interviews with key Tribal leaders. His research has received wide publication appearing in several edited volumes, academic journals, and online with BlogWest and Indian Country Today.
Dr. Jason A. Heppler, Research Director
Jason A. Heppler is the Senior Developer-Scholar at the Roy Rosenzweig Center for History and New Media and a member of the Department of History and Art History at George Mason University. He earned his B.A. in History from South Dakota State University, and M.A. and Ph.D. in History from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. Before joining UNO in January 2017, he worked as a digital historian at Stanford University for four years. While at Stanford, he collaborated with faculty and students on various projects involving archival digitization and metadata collection, data visualization, spatial history, and software development.
A historian of the North American West with a particular interest in suburbanization, politics and political culture, environmental history, and urban history, he is completing his first book The Nature of the Valley: Silicon Valley and the Transformation of American Environmental Politics under contract with the University of Oklahoma Press. His work explores the postwar growth of the region and the ways that urban growth not only led to ecological disaster but introduced social inequality. While Silicon Valley's high-tech companies were imagined as a clean and green alternative to the Rust Belt, the growth, manufacturing, and economic activity introduced challenges to the region's wildlife and its residents.
Yamina Sfiat (2022) is a master's student in the Indigenous Studies Program at the University of Kansas. Her main focus is restorative justice as it relates incorporating Indigenous ways of justice into the current criminal justice system specifically through sentencing and corrections. In her spare time also enjoy creative writing and character design, soccer and cinema!
- Luke Wegener (2018), Metadata enrichment
- Ellie Lowderman (2018), Digitization
- Sara Ibrahim (2019), Digitization
- Haji Salad (2019-2020), Digitization
- Alex Ramsey (2020), Metadata enrichment
- Aaron Burbach (2020), Text analysis
American Indian Digital History Project
University of Kansas
3650 Wescoe Hall
1445 Jayhawk Blvd.
Lawrence, KS 66045
Partners and Sponsors
AIDHP is based out of Lawurence, Kansas, and is partnered with the Department of History and Indigenous Studies Program at the University of Kansas.
Editorial Standards Statement
The corpus of materials associated with Tribal Nations is large and scattered in uncounted collections both public and private throughout Native North America. AIDHP's editorial staff identifies new material on an ongoing basis. Consequently, the archive is highly dynamic; as significant new items come to our attention, we seek to publish them in their proper context.
AIDHP works to provide a faithful documentary history of Native North America in its full context and complexity. The value of the published material is based on how the content reflects the tenor of its times. Some items in the archive contain racial or gender stereotypes. Our editorial policy requires an accurate presentation of this material without endorsing the views represented at the time.
Publication on AIDHP is, of necessity, selective rather than comprehensive. The archive spans geography and time, encompassing a tremendous amount of material. A significant portion of the archived materials are historical newspapers and photographs. Editors apply selection criteria that include an emphasis on representativeness according to document type as well as a priority on material that reflects key thematic categories. These include issues of national and regional identity, the dynamics of cultural encounter, and defining events.
Materials within the American Indian Digital History Archive are encoded using the Dublin Core Metadata schema. Dublin Core is a widely adopted set of core elements used for describing a variety of networked resources. The fifteen-element Dublin Core has achieved international, cross-disciplinary dissemination as part of the Open Archives Initiative Protocol for Metadata Harvesting (OAI-PMH). The core element are: Creator, Contributor, Publisher, Title, Date, Language, Format, Subject, Description, Identifier, Relation, Source, Type, Coverage, and Rights.
Conditions of Use
The American Indian Digital History Project as a whole, as well as the texts, images, and other items contained in it, are protected under the copyright laws of the United States and the Universal Copyright Convention.
The American Indian Digital History Project is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported (CC BY-NC-SA 3.0) License.
Users are allowed to distribute and adapt our work, so long as they credit The American Indian Digital History Archive, make their work available non-commercially, and distribute their work under the same terms.
Requests for the right to commercially use the electronic transcriptions of items created for The American Indian Digital History Archive should be directed to the Primary Investigator, Kent Blansett at blansett (at) ku.edu.
Permission for commercial use of any of the archival materials contained in AIDHP must be directly granted by the rights holding institutions as identified in the metadata section of each item page.