The Native Northeast Portal provides visual and intellectual access to a fragmented and widely dispersed collection of primary source materials, assembled from partner institutions in the U.S. and the U.K. Classified into various geographical, chronological, and topical series, the Portal’s archive represents a varied and rich collection of significant historical information drawn together for the purposes of reflection, education, scholarly analysis, and investigation.
In assembling the collection, editors consider various repositories based on
- the extent of each institution’s holdings of Native American primary source materials,
- the quality and quantity of those materials,
- the potential importance of the materials to scholarly or tribal community research,
- and the willingness of the institution to become a collaborative Project partner.
Editors evaluate the institution against these criteria based upon
- a combination for their familiarity with each repository’s holdings,
- consultations with each institution’s archivists,
- and on a thorough review of databases, archival collection finding aids, and discussions with Project subject specialists and tribal representatives.
Within each archival collection, editors identify relevant documents that meet the following criteria: the primary source material had to be written by, for, to, or about New England Indians or their descendants, whether they were living in tribal relations or not. This includes those Native people living in reservation communities, in white settlements and towns, or in non-reservation Native enclaves and extends to those Native individuals who married into African- or Euro-American families. The Native status of such historical individuals is determined by the project staff’s expertise and familiarity with New England Native genealogies, and by discussions with the Project’s tribal consultants and scholars.
Documents receiving high prioritization are items that, as a rule,
- conform to the editorial policy,
- are recognized as containing historical and cultural significance as determined by tribal representatives and editors,
- are representative of the Native community at particular historical moments,
- have the potential to be most useful to current scholarship,
- or are rare or fragile items that may be otherwise inaccessible to the average patron at the holding institution.
While there certainly exist other collections of New England Native documents in other facilities outside the current list of partner institutions, the presence of those materials may be acknowledged in annotations, headnotes, or explanatory commentary and possibly incorporated into the corpus database at a subsequent phase. The document corpus is selected in a manner that ensures vital input from tribal partners. Including, at any given repository, all the documents written by, for, or about New England Native communities would be untenable, with respect to time, resources and the development of meaningful relationships with native communities.