May 17, 2022

Washington St. University Receives $700,000 Mellon Grant Boosts Digital Stewardship of Indigenous Cultural Materials, Award Supports Implementation of the Mukurtu Shared Platform

From Washington St. University:

Washington State University researchers working to enable digital repatriation of Native American cultural heritage materials received a $700,000 grant from The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation for the next phase of an innovative, community-driven curation program.

The award supports implementation of the Mukurtu Shared platform and the collaborative curation method developed at WSU for digitally sharing Native American cultural materials housed at the Smithsonian Institution and the Library of Congress.

Part of the unique Mukurtu CMS software initiative, Mukurtu Shared will allow the materials to be ethically and collaboratively curated in the online environment by indigenous communities using standardized, replicable workflows and freely available digital tools, said Kimberly Christen, professor and director of the Digital Technology and Culture Program in the College of Arts and Sciences (CAS) and a principal investigator for the grant.

“Respecting indigenous values and knowledge, this method incorporates local Native American protocols for attribution, access, review, vetting and labeling of cultural heritage materials,” Christen said.

The two-year grant is the third and largest award from the Mellon Foundation to support the broader Mukurtu project, which is directed by Christen and managed through WSU’s Center for Digital Scholarship and Curation (CDSC). Since the project’s inception in 2015, the CDSC and associated Mukurtu initiatives have brought almost $4 million in external funds to WSU for promoting ethical curation and digital stewardship training with Native American communities, further advancing the university’s land-grant mission.

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About Gary Price

Gary Price ( is a librarian, writer, consultant, and frequent conference speaker based in the Washington D.C. metro area. Before launching INFOdocket, Price and Shirl Kennedy were the founders and senior editors at ResourceShelf and DocuTicker for 10 years. From 2006-2009 he was Director of Online Information Services at, and is currently a contributing editor at Search Engine Land.