The Wyandot Heritage Digital Archive (WHDA) is a documentary effort hosted by the Wyandotte Nation’s Cultural Center and Museum in Wyandotte, Oklahoma. The main objective of WHDA is to assemble digital versions of primary historical sources associated with the seventeenth, eighteenth, nineteenth and early twentieth century Huron/Wyandot experience in Wisconsin, Michigan, Ohio, Kansas and Oklahoma collected from archives, libraries, museums, historical societies, and private collections across the United States and elsewhere.
The scope of WHDA includes correspondence, postal history, legal documents, newspaper articles, contemporary journal articles and books, treaties, journals, tribal rolls, census records, diaries, ledger books, maps, photographs, paintings, drawings and items of material culture. The WHDA will be compiled and edited according to the highest scholarly and technical standards, corresponding to best practices in the field.
Modeled on the Yale Indian Papers Project the Wyandot History Digital Archive will become “a vibrant and dynamic resource of immediate and continuing relevance” to tribal members, researchers, educators, students, and the general public. “The resulting digital resource and website,” utilizing the robust open-source Omeka platform, “will provide visual and intellectual access to significant historical knowledge for the purposes of teaching at all educational levels, for scholarly and genealogical research, and for lifelong learning.”
Users of the Wyandot Heritage Digital Archive are encouraged to construct a personalized narrative of the Wyandot past through the use of guided key-word searches. They will also have the opportunity to contribute their own perspectives on the significance of primary sources by providing commentaries on archived documents and material culture. In addition, tribal members will be encouraged to add family stories, genealogies, biographical sketches, personal documents and images to the database. All source materials included in the Wyandot History Digital Archive remain the property of their owners.
Once the database is fully functional, it is anticipated that the WHDA initiative will become a model for digital archive projects by other American Indian/First Nation communities.