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Grants:IdeaLab/Engaging Native American Communities

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Engaging Native American Communities
summaryA campaign to recruit participants from Native American communities through a engagements with tribal museums and libraries. Communities would be engaged through a "Wikipedia caravan" where a team carries out information sessions and editing workshops in collaboration with tribal authorities.
targeten.wiki (potentially:nv.wiki, chy.wiki, cho.wiki, mus.wiki - and incubator wikis lkt. moh. )
strategic prioritycommunity outreach
amountplease add the amount you are requesting (USD)
volunteerFuzheadoI JethroBTCedewey
this project needs...
created on03:37, 29 February 2016 (UTC)
round 1 2016

Project idea[edit]

What is the problem you're trying to solve?[edit]

  1. Native American editors are under-represented on Wikipedia.
  2. As a result of this under-representation content related to Native American peoples, their culture history, tribes and other related topics are poorly covered, often written from an Anglo-American perspective.
  3. Wikipedia tends to require high standards of sourcing that makes it hard for editors without academic training to find adequate sources, and to add content based on local cultural knowledge found in communities.
  4. Sources considered adequate by Wikipedia standards may be scarce for many topics related to Native America, and sources considered "reliable" by wikipedia may be written by Anglo-American perspectives and may not adequately represent Native American knowledge of their own communities. Hence Native American editors may not be able to contibute information about topics concerning their own people.

What is your solution?[edit]

A campaign of information and editor recruitment working in cooperation with tribal authorities and tribal museums, libraries and educational institutions. A summer "Caravan" in which a team travels between reservations with information sessions about Wikipedia, teaching and encouraging Native American youths to contribute and training them in finding and using (and perhaps even creating) reliable sources about their own communities. Information sessions and editing workshops will be organized and scheduled in collaboration with tribal authorities, museum directors and librarians.


  1. Plan and carry out a tour of information sessions on Native American reservations in the US, in order to recruit and train editors from Native American communities.

Get Involved[edit]

About the idea creator[edit]

Maunus (talk · contribs) (I am a linguist and anthropologist with experience of working on collaboratively with Native American communities and organizations. I have written an article (forthcoming) on Wikipedia's coverage of Native American topics)


  • Volunteer Help connect Smithsonian to this effort Fuzheado (talk) 13:47, 16 March 2016 (UTC)
  • Volunteer I work loosely with the Woodbine Ecology Center and the Black Mesa Caravan. Both groups would be great collaborators on this. Cedewey (talk) 20:18, 16 March 2016 (UTC)
  • Volunteer I could do some outreach with the American Indian Center in Chicago to help with these efforts. I JethroBT (talk) 09:02, 31 March 2016 (UTC)
  • Volunteer I would be willing to work with the seven Indian Reservations in Montana and possibly do some outreach into Idaho or Wyoming if there was a travel budget (long distances and overnight trips out here)
  • Volunteer I would like to return an old projects as Wikimedia Indigenous Languages or looking projects in Incubator:User:Marrovi/American languages. Marrovi.


  • endorse we could be doing a lot for endangered languages. some tools for language learners could make a difference. in the meantime, let's build some collaboration. native language wikis may have different notability and citation criteria, let's help communities grow their language wikis. Slowking4 (talk) 14:14, 29 February 2016 (UTC)
  • endorse with a wish that you can include the language as well in Wiktionary during the same process. Cultural preservation is crucial and Wikimedia project can become a perfect resource for language revitalization and cultural diffusion, considering the implication of the community and the possibility (no-exclusion) of using the product to sell something at the end, an idea that can be important for indigenous leaders in acculturated societies. Recording can be put on Commons, with texts and word by word records to feed Wiktionary pages and build a multimedia dictionary quite powerful and dynamic. I am thinking of this issue since a while and I set up a project last year to do so, but IEG jury didn't like it so much. So, good luck for this one! (Just in case: I don't want to offense anyone using the word "indigenous", it is of common use in South America and I am more familiar with this part of the continent.) Noé (talk) 22:06, 1 March 2016 (UTC)
  • Yes absolutely. Vital to preserving heritage Casliber (talk) 02:54, 3 March 2016 (UTC)
  • Culture of the Native Americans are very interesting to me and I like that idea of Caravan spreading the knowledge about wiki-projects as a way to save if for further generations. Orange-kun (talk) 23:17, 14 March 2016 (UTC)
  • why only native american? This idea could be adapted to many type of situation where a part of the population is under-represented. :) I would however consider that the use of correct biography can be done by anyone on any subject. Hell, even European could contribute to good articles about native american heritage ;) Triton (talk) 10:52, 15 March 2016 (UTC)
  • Endorse - We've played with the idea of a WikiBus for a while now, and here in DC, we've done quite a bit with the National Museum of the American Indian and have good connections there. [1] [2] -- Fuzheado (talk) 14:42, 15 March 2016 (UTC)
    • @Maunus: Also, as part of my w:Wikipedia:WikipediaSpace project, I have talked to the Smithsonian Institution Traveling Exhibits Service, as they have experience in creating these types of traveling buses [3] [4]. This might be a possible way to draw on their expertise. -- Fuzheado (talk) 13:46, 16 March 2016 (UTC)
  • The contributions of Native American editors is sorely needed on Wikipedia. This initiative is a great idea to increase their participation. Cedewey (talk) 20:17, 16 March 2016 (UTC)
  • I agree that topics associated with Native Americans are ones where sources may not always be widely accessible, and that a degree of outreach will be valuable in making substantial content improvements and corrections. I JethroBT (talk) 09:09, 31 March 2016 (UTC)
  • This would be a great complement to the afrocrowd, and artandfeminism initiatives. We need more social ways to combat systemic bias, and engaging minority identify communities seems to be a powerful strategy. Sadads (talk) 15:47, 31 March 2016 (UTC)
  • Endorse for the concept of also improving coverage of Native topics on English Wikipedia (and, by extension, other language wikis). The content of existing articles is often racially stereotyped and of very poor quality. Montanabw (talk) 04:04, 18 April 2016 (UTC)
  • Endorse Interesting topics. Marrovi Marrovi (talk) 15:14, 3 June 2016 (UTC)

Expand your idea[edit]

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Expand into an Individual Engagement Grant
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Project plan[edit]


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