Here’s what we’re doing to create respectful online access and what we ask you to do.
Steps we take include:
1) We choose carefully what items we put online. We do not have student files online. Our advisory panel feels these are too private to put up at this time. Instead, we focus on records related to the actions and statements of public officials. Our current offerings are US government records from 1849 through the 1930s. These documents come mainly from the US National Archives and microfilms held by the Indian Pueblo Cultural Center. An upcoming NMHRAB grant will fund digitization of Albuquerque Indian School yearbooks from the collection of Professor Ted Jojola (Pueblo of Isleta). A collaboration with the Sherman Indian School Museum’s digitization project will soon make yearbooks from Sherman available online also in the IDA.
2) To help people in being able to follow the stories of events or community members, we’ve put a large amount of records online, about 250,000 pages. Beyond our sampling we did when choosing what to put up, we do some screening of the records as they go online. We don’t read every page, of course, but if something stuck out as not belonging, like a medical record that’s not even supposed to be in the records, we would take it down.
3) You may find something in the documents that needs addressing. These are government documents that carry a lot. We’ve built tools so that you can add comments, make groupings of evidence, and create counter-narratives to what’s in the government documents. We encourage you to add to the collaboration here and add corrections or better perspectives when you feel it’s appropriate.
4) We’ve tried to select documents where it won’t be the case, but if there is something there that is private or culturally sensitive, please use our Redaction Tool to black out that passage. Your redaction takes places immediately. It also flags it so we can take a look at it, affirm your redaction, and learn from the situation in case it might apply to other or future documents. Please help us out also by including your preferred contact info so we can follow up with what we’ve learned or if we have questions.
5) We continue to listen to community members, including family, friends, colleagues, educators, researchers, and other partners, about what files they want online. Community members are interested in a number of different kinds of historic documents being made available in the IDA in the future. These include further records from the boarding schools, including the church boarding schools; records related to sports at the boarding schools and beyond; records related to veterans, to voting rights, and yes, even student files. We are looking at these records and potential issues and seeking further funding.
What we ask from you:
Please follow our Code of Conduct. [full draft coming] Please respect those participating and sharing online. Please seek to contribute positively to a collaborative environment where people help each other. Don’t be extractive of other people’s work. Give them credit. Ask them permission, even! (Especially if you’re contemplating something that might be considered commercial.) You might find out about useful related work.
The IDA does not tolerate harassment, discrimination, or spam. We encourage people to flag or otherwise report such items. Abusing users will be banned.
Thank you for your contribution to making this a positive place! See you around.
— The Indigenous Digital Archive Team