The College of Arts and Sciences received a $500,000 grant from the Mellon Foundation in order to support the next phase of The Haudenosaunee Archive, Resource and Knowledge (HARK) portal, UB announced last month. The project initiatives are being led by UB’s new Department of Indigenous Studies.
The portal will be a platform for the production of community-driven digital resources and circulation and preservation of Indigenous research. The project previously received a $175,000 planning grant from the Mellon Foundation in 2021 and a $3.174 million grant in 2019.
The planning grant is also being used to create the “Haudenosaunee Hub,” which will provide networking opportunities for Indigenous communities and connect cultural heritage items to community needs.
“The hub is people and resources,” McCarthy said in a statement. “The portal will be the product of that infrastructure.”
The Department of Indigenous Studies will make additional hires in the upcoming months to manage the hub, including a digital librarian and a community archivist.
“In developing the technology infrastructure that will serve as the foundation for the HARK portal, we will be building a comprehensive digital resource that collects, preserves and shares Indigenous knowledge,” Evviva Weinraub Lajoie, vice provost for University Libraries, said in a statement.“Drawing on the expertise and insight to the Haudenosaunee community, this portal will deliver a wealth of information for researchers and scholars on the rich history, language and traditions to the Haudenosaunee Confederacy.”
The UB Native American Studies program began in 1972. It was the first higher education program of its kind and served as the foundation for the recently created Department of Indigenous Studies.
“We want to tell that story [of UB’s contribution],” Mia McKie (Tuscarora Nation, Turtle Clan), a professor of Indigenous studies, said. “Utilizing published and publicly available materials serves as an ethical starting point for this project, to avoid digitizing materials that may be identified as sensitive or sacred.”
Developing the portal will also support the community by connecting other Indigenous repositories, cultural centers, community-based archival initiatives and interested individual Haudenosaunee cultural heritage preservationists and artists.
“Nothing like this exists for us, despite the profound need to facilitate a network for information sharing across our Confederacy, to transcend boundaries and borders now cross-cutting our Haudenosaunee homelands that have sought to separate and divide us,” Theresa McCarthy (Six Nations, Onondaga), a professor and director of the Indigenous Studies Department, said. “This grant allows us to build what’s necessary to keep this information and knowledge accessible to the people and places from where it originates — which is fundamental to sovereignty.”
Suha Chowdhury is an assistant news editor and can be reached at email@example.com