Indigenous Digital Archive Treaties Explorer Receives Society of American Archivists Award
Press Release · Wednesday, September 1, 2021

Washington, DC

The Indigenous Digital Archive Treaties Explorer,, is the 2021 recipient of the C.F.W. Coker Award For Description from the Society of American Archivists (SAA). was created by the Museum of Indian Arts and Culture and the Indigenous Digital Archives in partnership with the National Archives and Records Administration’s Offices of Innovation and Research Services. Thanks to a generous donation from an anonymous donor to the National Archives Foundation, the National Archives initiated a three year project to conserve, improve record descriptions in the National Archives Catalog, and digitize the 374 Ratified Indian Treaties in its holdings, as well as create a semi-permanent exhibit, “Be it Remembered: Treaties with Native Nations” at the National Archives in New York City.

The Treaties Explorer ( makes accessible and provides context for 374 ratified Indian Treaties held by the National Archives. The finding aid aggregates documents from a number of repositories and agencies and allows the public to explore treaties related to a place, date, and Native nation. A user-friendly website design that includes multiple visual elements and a timeline of the treaties helps people understand these archival documents and the shared histories of the United States and Native nations.

Pamela Wright, Chief Innovation Officer, noted, “The Treaties Explorer is an innovative development in archival description as it prioritizes Native voices. From initial planning stages to the website launch, team members have collaborated with Native communities. I am proud of the collaboration, innovation, and learning that staff have demonstrated throughout this project.”  As one nominator wrote, “Native experts have been integrally involved in the project design, research, website user experience and art direction, usability testing, additional refinements, and companion training videos and slides.” 

The team behind the Treaties Explorer includes:
National Archives Office of Innovation: Pamela Wright, Carol Lagundo, Ben Petersen, and Jason Clingerman.
National Archives Office of Research Services: Jane Fitzgerald, Gina Perry, Sheri Hill, Jennifer Seitz, Joshua Mason, Dong Eun Kim, Beatriz Centeno-Pineiro, Halaina Demba, Morgan Browning, and Yoonjoo Strumfels.
Indigenous Digital Archives and Museum of Indian Arts and Culture: Anna Naruta-Moya, Della Warrior(Otoe-Missouria), Matthew Martinez (Ohkay Owingeh), Donovan Pete (Diné), Sherri Thomas (Taos Pueblo and Black), Ben Calabaza (Kewa), and Lee Francis IV (Laguna Pueblo).
Digirati: Matt McGrattan, Kelsie Caldwell, Ville Vartiainen, and Ian Farquhar. 

Learn more online:
National Archives and Museum of Indian Arts & Culture Share New Online Education Tool Expanding Access to Treaties between the U.S. and Native Nations -AOTUS Blog

Ratified Indian Treaties Digitization Project - Text Message Blog

Back to the Future: Conserving Ratified Indian Treaties, 1722-1869  - Text Message Blog

Inside the Still Imaging Lab: Digitization of the Ratified Indian Treaties, 1722-1869 - Text Message Blog

Native American Treaties Now Online for the First Time - Press Release

Efforts Begin to Digitize 377 Native Treaties - National Archives News

Additional Resources: 
The National Archives Bureau of Indian Affairs Photographs Finding Aid, is a next-generation finding aid, providing a digital path into the records using data from the National Archives Catalog.

About the National Archives (NARA)
The National Archives is an independent federal agency that serves American democracy by safeguarding and preserving the records of our Government, so people can discover, use, and learn from this documentary heritage. The National Archives ensures continuing access to the essential documentation of the rights of American citizens and the actions of their government. 

From the Declaration of Independence to accounts of ordinary Americans, the holdings of the National Archives directly touch the lives of millions of people. Our holdings include vast resources on Native Americans from as early as 1774 through the mid 1990s, including records from the Bureau of Indian Affairs in addition to the hundreds of original treaties between the U.S. and Native American tribal nations, now freely available online through the National Archives Catalog. 

About the Society of American Archivists (SAA), founded in 1936, is North America’s oldest and largest national archival  professional association. SAA’s mission is to serve the educational and informational needs of more than 6,200  individual and institutional members and to provide leadership to ensure the identification, preservation, and use  of records of historical value. The SAA’s Archival Innovator Award was established in 2012. Established in 1984, the award honors SAA Fellow C.F.W. Coker.


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This page was last reviewed on September 1, 2021.
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