WSU center receives $147,179 to expand Native American archive

By Nella Letizia, WSU Libraries

CDSC logoPULLMAN, Wash. – WSU’s Center for Digital Scholarship and Curation recently received a $147,179 Digital Extension Grant from the American Council of Learned Societies to expand the Plateau Peoples’ Web Portal, a national archive of Native American cultural materials.


Many tribes collaborate

The portal is a collaboration between WSU and the Spokane Tribe of Indians, the Confederated Tribes of the Colville Reservation, the Confederated Tribes of the Umatilla Indian Reservation, the Coeur d’Alene Tribe of Indians, the Confederated Tribes of Warm Springs, the Nez Perce Tribe and the Yakama Nation. It is a gateway to Plateau peoples’ cultural materials held in multiple repositories, including WSU’s Manuscripts, Archives and Special Collections; the Northwest Museum of Art and Culture; the National Anthropological Archives; and the National Museum of the American Indian at the Smithsonian Institution.

Portal materials are chosen and curated by tribal representatives. Each item has one or more records associated with it, as well as added traditional knowledge and cultural narratives to enhance and enrich understanding to many audiences.

“We are excited for the years to come, continuing our partnerships with tribes in the Plateau region and multiple repositories to preserve and share knowledge in culturally appropriate ways,” said Kim Christen, the project’s principal investigator and a professor of digital technology and culture in WSU’s Department of English.

Advancing humanistic disciplines

The American Council of Learned Societies (ACLS) awards are designed to advance humanistic scholarship by enhancing established digital projects and extending their reach to new communities of scholars. The program, now in its second year, is made possible by the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.

The CDSC, a joint center of the WSU Libraries and the WSU College of Arts and Sciences, promotes collaboration between community members, students, faculty and researchers on digital projects and scholarship that crosses academic boundaries and public/private distinctions. The CDSC provides support, outreach, training and access to digitization hardware and software and inspiration for meaningful and long-lasting partnerships.

The ACLS, a private, nonprofit federation of 74 national scholarly organizations, is the pre-eminent representative of American scholarship in the humanities and related social sciences. Advancing scholarship by awarding fellowships and strengthening relations among learned societies is central to ACLS’s work. This year, ACLS will award more than $20 million to more than 300 scholars across various humanistic disciplines.


Media Contacts:

  • Kim Christen, WSU Center for Digital Scholarship and Curation co-director, Mukurtu project director and WSU professor of digital technology and culture, 509-335-4177,
  • Trevor Bond, WSU Center for Digital Scholarship and Curation co-director and WSU Libraries’ associate dean for digital initiatives and special collections, 509-335-6693,
  • Nella Letizia, WSU Libraries’ public relations/communication coordinator, 509-335-6744,
  • Adrian Aumen, WSU College of Arts and Sciences assistant director of communications, 509-335-5671,

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