October 24, 2011
By Elisabeth Grant
The D’Arcy McNickle Center for American Indian and Indigenous Studies at the Newberry Library recently launched the new website "Indians of the Midwest, Past and Present," thanks to funding from the NEH. We noted the launch last week in What We’re Reading. Today we’ll explore the structure of the site and the multimedia resources it offers.
Indians of the Midwest offers recent scholarship on the 34 recognized tribes in Michigan, Wisconsin, Minnesota, Illinois, Indiana, and Ohio. The site has been organized around “seven important issues,” which are:
When visitors to the site roll their cursors over each of the issues, the navigation menus expand into more detailed categories (see screenshot below). For example, when the cursor hovers on “People, Places & Time” it breaks into Eras, Indian Perspectives, and How We Know. Eras fragments even further into Moundbuilders, Fur Trade, American Expansion, and Sovereignty. These categories within categories encourage users to delve deeper and explore more detailed and targeted information.
To get a better sense of the richness of this site, check out the Indian Imagery section. It splits up into Stereotypes, Challenging Stereotypes (Sports Imagery and Tribal Museums), and How We Know.
The Tribal Museums page (see screenshot to the right) is a great example of how the Indians of the Midwest site incorporates multimedia resources. In this section, view photographs of a number of cultural centers and exhibits, and watch video interviews with John Low, member of the Pokagon Band of Potawatomi Indian Nation; Sara Summers Luedtke, assistant director and collections manager at Oneida Nation Museum; and Josh Gerzetich, cultural educator at Oneida Nation Museum.
In other parts of the site, like the Moundbuilders page, you’ll find interactive maps, images of artifacts, and videos of excavation sites.
Ask a Question
Questions are a main element of the site. The homepage lists questions along the right side of the page, like “Why did Indian people petition Congress to return objects in museums to tribes?” and “What are treaty rights and why are they relevant today?” These questions then link to relevant information on the site.
The site creators encourage all visitors to submit their questions through this online form. They will be passed along to be answered by experts, and a few questions will even be featured on the site each month.