American Indian Digital History Project

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About

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. 

Mission

This innovative digital project is a cooperative partnership between 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. 

Future Endeavors

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. 

Project Team

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, Technical Director

Jason A. Heppler is the Digital Engagement Librarian and Assistant Professor of History at the University of Nebraska at Omaha. 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. At UNO, he helps lead initiatives in public history and digital engagement.

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 on environmental politics in Silicon Valley after World War II. 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.

Contact

American Indian Digital History Project
University of Nebraska at Omaha
History Department
287 Arts and Sciences Hall
6001 Dodge St.
Omaha, NE 68182 

 
402-554-2593
kblansett@unomaha.edu
jheppler@unomaha.edu

Partners and Sponsors

AIDHP is based out of Omaha, Nebraska, and is partnered with the Department of History, Native American Studies, and Archives and Special Collections in UNO Libraries at the University of Nebraska at Omaha.