Yale Indian Papers Project Collaborates with Harvard on Mellon Funded Initiative

In collaboration with Harvard’s Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study and the Massachusetts Archives, the editors of the Yale Indian Papers Project are pleased to announce an award from the Mellon Foundation’s Council on Libraries and Information Resources (CLIR). Under the auspices of CLIR’s Digitizing Hidden Special Collections and Archives Program approximately 4,500 manuscripts held at the Massachusetts State Archives will be imaged and made available to the public on two digital platforms, the Yale Indian Papers Project’s New England Indian Papers Series and Harvard Radcliffe’s Digital Archive of Native American Petitions Project.  These materials, the majority of them petitions, date from the 17th century through the mid-19th century and document the lives of many in the Indian communities of the colonies of Plymouth, Massachusetts Bay, and the Commonwealth of Massachusetts.

OPED mass indian petition

Signatures from a Petition of Natick and Punkapoag Indians to Massachusetts Governor John Leverett and Council Praying for the Return of an Indian Man Unjustly Imprisoned during King Philip’s War, 1676. Massachusetts Archives, Volume 30, document 229


In an effort to provide intellectual access to a subset of these documents, the editors and interns of the Yale Indian Papers Project along with Cheryll Holley, chief of the Hassanamisco band of the Nipmuc Nation, Cedric Woods, director of UMass’ Institute for New England Native American Studies, and scholars from the Mashpee and Aquinnah communities will select and transcribe documents that are particularly significant with respect to the history and culture of Massachusetts Native people, documents touching on important events within individual communities as well larger themes affecting Massachusetts and New England Native people as a whole.

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