Anderson, Prom, and Davis Awarded Doris Duke Indian Oral History Program Archives: Revitalization and Community Building Grant

Image conveys the University ArchivesAt the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign, Bethany Anderson (Natural and Applied Sciences Archivist, University Library), in collaboration with Christopher J. Prom (Associate Dean for Digital Strategies, University Library) and Jenny Davis (Associate Professor of American Indian Studies and Anthropology and Chancellor’s Fellow of Indigenous Research and Ethics, College of Liberal Arts & Sciences), have been awarded the Doris Duke Indian Oral History Program Archives: Revitalization and Community Building Grant by the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation.

This two-year grant of $196,000 will support the Doris Duke Native Oral History Revitalization Project, in which the University of Illinois Archives will digitize and enhance access to its Doris Duke Indian Oral History Program Archives. Furthermore, this project hopes to build and strengthen respectful relationships between the project personnel, the university, the University Archives, and the Native Nations documented in the Doris Duke Oral History Program Archives. The University of Illinois is one of seven institutions participating in The Doris Duke Native Oral History Revitalization Project.

With this grant, Project Director Bethany Anderson and her team plan to commence the Doris Duke Native American Oral History Revitalization Project, which will run from January 2021 to December 2022. Aiming to increase access and use of Native American oral history resources at the University of Illinois Archives, this project centers around the Native American communities whose cultures and traditions are documented in these records.

The project aims to achieve the following objectives: digitize the materials in the Doris Duke Native American Oral History Collections; develop a web portal that will link the Collections; develop a co-curation model that allows Native communities to gain controlled access to the Collections so they may review the materials; preserve the original materials in the Collections; and increase accessibility and utilization of the Collections by researchers, students, the general public, and the Native communities.

“We are honored to receive this award from the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation. We are especially looking forward to collaborating with Native communities in raising the visibility of these materials,” said Anderson. “In addition to enhancing access in respectful and ethical ways, we have long-term plans to promote engagement around these materials, including through course practicums under the supervision of Dr. Jenny Davis. These efforts will promote the importance of collaboration when working with Indigenous materials.”

“We are thrilled to support the team at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign and their community partners as they work to breathe new life and increase access to these critically important oral histories. We are grateful for their experience, passion, and commitment to ensuring that these stories will receive the visibility and use that they deserve,” said Lola Adedokun, Director of the Child Well-being Program at the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation.

For more information about the project, contact Bethany Anderson at

Land Acknowledgment Statement

As a land-grant institution, the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign has a responsibility to acknowledge the historical context in which it exists. In order to remind ourselves and our community, we begin this project by noting that the University of Illinois and these records are housed on the lands of the Peoria, Kaskaskia, Piankashaw, Wea, Miami, Mascoutin, Odawa, Sauk, Mesquaki, Kickapoo, Potawatomi, Ojibwe, and Chickasaw Nations. It is necessary for us to acknowledge these Native Nations and for us to work with them as we move forward as an institution. Over the next 150 years, we will be a vibrant community inclusive of all our differences, with Native peoples at the core of our efforts.

About the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation

The mission of the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation is to improve the quality of people’s lives through grants supporting the performing arts, environmental conservation, medical research, and child well-being, and through preservation of the cultural and environmental legacy of Doris Duke’s properties. The mission of the foundation’s Child Well-being Program is to promote children’s healthy development and protect them from abuse and neglect. To that end, DDCF takes a funding approach that centers on intergenerational work that bolsters culturally, geographically and locally relevant programs with and for communities to foster the long-term well-being of families. To learn more, visit

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