Tribal Stewardship Cohort Program

Developing the Program

The Tribal Stewardship Cohort Program: Digital Heritage Management, Archiving, and Mukurtu CMS Training is a one-year training program focused on the unique needs of Tribal archives, libraries, and museums (TALMs) through a cohort-based educational model emphasizing digitization and preservation of materials in culturally responsive ways.

The program grew from stated needs for hands-on technology training, capacity-building, and an in-depth focus on the unique cultural priorities of tribal collecting institutions. The Center for Digital Scholarship and Curation is uniquely suited to provide this training. The CDSC is home to the Sustainable Heritage Network – a program that offers hands on and virtual training in digitization, archives management, and collections care, with a focus on Indigenous communities. The CDSC is also the development and support center for Mukurtu CMS, a free and open source community digital archives platform built with Indigenous communities to manage and share digital culture.

To learn more about the Tribal Stewardship Cohort Program, browse the following articles and blog posts: 2017 NDSA interview, 2016 IMLS blog post, and 2015 CDSC Blog Post.

Program Structure

Each program year begins with an application and selection process to find six communities positioned to start of digitization projects. Those six communities each choose two individuals to take part in the program. Program staff also travel to each community to meet participants, discuss priorities, and conduct collections surveys of physical and digital materials. This process of learning community and department priorities, history, culture and context helps staff tailor curriculum materials to suit the needs of the group.

Over one year, the twelve cohort members travel to the WSU campus in Pullman, WA for week-long training sessions. Virtual instruction sessions are held each month to continue building skills and projects and to provide supplemental tools and materials. The program provides a comprehensive model for digital stewardship.

The Institute of Library and Museum Services generously funded the first two cycles of the program from 2014-2017. In 2016, Dr. Kim Christen accepted the National Digital Stewardship Alliance’s Innovation Award on behalf of the program.


Digital Stewardship Curriculum

The digital stewardship curriculum was developed to be delivered in a hybrid model, in-person and online. The educational model emphasizes a holistic approach to stages of the digital stewardship lifecycle: creating or accepting materials, managing materials and checking integrity and quality, storing materials for the long term, and providing culturally appropriate access. All aspects of the program can be adapted to meet the specific needs of each cohort institution.

View the Digital Stewardship Curriculum

Access all public content for the Digital Stewardship Curriculum at the Sustainable Heritage Network. Navigate through the curriculum from start to finish, or pick and choose the modules that are most helpful to you.

Program Staff

  • Dr. Kim Christen: Professor and Director of the Digital Technology and Culture Program, Director of the Center for Digital Scholarship and Curation
  • Lotus Norton-Wisla: Digital and Community Engagement Archivist at the Center for Digital Scholarship and Curation
  • Dr. Trevor Bond: Associate Dean for Digital Initiatives and Special Collections at the Washington State University Libraries, co-Director of the Center for Digital Scholarship and Curation
  • Alex Merrill: Head of Systems and Technical Operations at WSU Libraries, Director of Technology at the Center for Digital Scholarship and Curation
  • Michael Wynne: Digital Applications Librarian at the Center for Digital Scholarship and Curation
  • Cheryl Gunselman: Manuscripts Archivist at Manuscripts, Archives, and Special Collections
  • Mark O’English: University Archivist at Manuscripts, Archives, and Special Collections
  • Linnea Nelson: Conservator at Manuscripts, Archives, and Special Collections)
  • Steve Taylor: Application Systems Analyst/Developer at WSU Libraries
  • Zach Mazur: Curator of Education and Collections at the Museum of Art at Washington State University
  • Ruth Gregory: Instructor & Assistant Director of Digital Technology and Culture at Washington State University

The Tribal Stewardship Cohort Program would not be possible without the commitment, time, and passion from each of our 24 participants, their institutions, tribes, and families. Thank you!