Don Sailer, Katie Clark, Frank Vitale, and Rachel Krutchen (Dickinson College)
The Carlisle Indian Industrial School (1879-1918), the first government-run off-reservation boarding school in the U.S., is a major site of memory for many Native peoples, as well as a source of research and study for descendants, students, and scholars in the U.S. and abroad. The Carlisle Indian School Digital Resource Center (http://carlisleindian.dickinson.edu), supported by a grant from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, represents a collaborative effort to aid the research and teaching process by bringing together online a variety of resources that are physically preserved in various locations around the country. Through this project, we seek to increase knowledge and understanding of the school and its complex legacy, while also facilitating efforts to tell the stories of the thousands of students who were sent there. Begun in 2013, the project includes more than 100,000 pages of documentation from the U.S. National Archives, and has already been used by a wide variety of audiences.
Through this interactive presentation we will demonstrate the current website tools and capabilities, we will discuss the implementation of interactive tools/crowdsourcing for users to share their own material, and we will talk about some of the logistical challenges of this large collaborative undertaking. We will also address the important roles of our undergraduate interns in this effort and talk about how the project has already been used for individual research and in the classroom. Finally, we will discuss some of the unique challenges of digitizing and presenting complex and emotionally charged historical material online.