The Plateau Peoples’ Web Portal is a collaboration between the Manuscripts, Archives and Special Collections, Plateau Center, and College of Arts and Sciences at Washington State University and the Spokane Tribe of Indians, Confederated Tribes of the Colville Reservation, the Confederated Tribes of the Umatilla Indian Reservation, the Coeur d’Alene Tribe, the Confederated Tribes of Warm Springs and Confederated Tribes and Bands of the Yakama Nation. The PPWP is a gateway to Plateau peoples’ cultural materials held at Washington State University and partner organizations including the Smithsonian Institution’s National Anthropolgical Archives and the National Museum of the American Indian and the Northwest Museum of Art and Culture.

This project gives us the opportunity to use our own words to interpret our history.

Vivian Adams

Yakama Nation Librarian

The Challenge

To provide not just access to, but engagement with Plateau cultural materials held in national and regional collecting institutions. The Portal needed to enrich the public record, account for Native viewpoints, and expand the notion of curation to include ethical and cultural concerns. The goal of the project was to provide a new framework for reciprocal curation of materials in regional and national archives by engaging Native stakeholders in the curation, distribution, and reproduction of collections.

The Solution

Tribal administrators defined the categories and pathways through the materials. They have the ability to add tribal knowledge, edit existing information, add new content that enriches existing materials, add tags, and flag material as culturally sensitive. The Plateau Peoples’ Web Portal provides a space for Plateau tribes to enrich and curate content resulting in layered narratives and extensive knowledge as the rich and complex foundation for the exploration of Plateau peoples’ cultural materials.