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Native American Rhetorical Traditions

An introduction to Native American historical speeches and contemporary debates.

DH Projects

Native American History Project (NAHP)

Native American history initiatives have focused on tribal history in the Southeast, archiving hundreds of interviews with the Catawba, Cherokee, Choctaw, Creek, Lumbee, Seminole, and Pamunkey since 1967.
 

American Indian Digital History Project

The American Indian Digital History Project is launched to recover and preserve rare Indigenous newspapers, photographs, and archival materials from all across Native North America.
 

Enchanting the Desert

A born-digital interactive history of the Grand Canyon based on Henry G. Peabody’s negatives, which he made between 1899 and 1930.
 

Native Land Digital

A map showing Indigenous territories, languages, and treaties.
 

Indigenous Tour of Northwestern

An interactive and multimedia map that explores the history and continued presence of Native people in and around the area now known as the Northwestern University campus.
 

Mapping Indigenous LA

Story maps that uncover layers of Indigenous community and history in Los Angeles.
 

Guide to Indigenous DC

A mobile app and walking tour.
 

Plateau Peoples’ Web Portal

"A collaboratively curated and reciprocally managed archive of Plateau cultural materials.”
 

Recording Relations

A brief podcast series on Indigenous new media and the politics and potentials of the Digital Humanities.
 

Mukurtu CMS

An Indigenous publishing and archiving tool “aiming to empower communities to manage, share, and exchange their digital heritage in culturally relevant and ethically-minded ways.” Follow SHOWCASE Tab (top ribbon) to access sample DH projects. -- https://mukurtu.org/

Readings


Anderson, J. (2018). Negotiating Who "Owns" Penobscot Culture. Anthropological Quarterly 91(1), 267-305.

Museums, archives, and libraries are important places of re-connection and re-animation for Indigenous peoples and communities. Ethnographic collections held within these sites tell very particular histories about the colonial experience, including how Native culture was transformed into forms of exclusive property through practices of research, collecting, and documentation. This article explores the range of strategies that the Penobscot Nation has developed to maneuver around the legacies of legal and social exclusions in access to, and therefore decision-making about, the future uses of these cultural materials.


Anderson, J., & Christen, K. (2013) Chuck a copyright on it: Dilemmas of digital return and the possibilities for traditional knowledge licenses and labels. Museum Anthropology Review 7(1–2): 105–126.

This article focuses on the creation of innovate licenses and labels aimed at the complex intellectual property needs of Indigenous peoples, communities, and collectives wishing to manage, maintain, and preserve their digital cultural heritage. The Traditional Knowledge (TK) Licenses and Labels answer a grassroots, global call by Indigenous communities, archivists, museum specialists, and activists for an alternative to traditional copyright for the varied needs of Indigenous communities and the cultural materials they steward.


Christen, K. (2005) Gone digital: Aboriginal remix and the cultural commons. International Journal of Cultural Property 12(3), 315–345. 

Recently the commons has become a predominant metaphor for the types of social relationships between people, ideas, and new digital technologies. In IP debates, the commons signifies openness, the exclusion of intermediaries, and remix culture that is creative, innovative, and politically disobedient. This article examines the material and social implications of these debates (and the legal copyright regimes they interact with) in the translation and remix of Warumungu culture onto a set of locally produced DVDs.


Clark, L. S., & Hinzo, A. (2019). Digital Survivance: Mediatization and the sacred in the tribal digital activism of the# NoDAPL movement. Journal of Religion, Media and Digital Culture 8(1), 76-104.

This article utilizes digital and visual methods to analyze instances of Indigenous digital survivance. Focusing on recent examples at the heart of the #NoDAPL movement, it argues for a decolonizing approach to the study of mediatization. (OA) - https://brill.com/view/journals/rmdc/8/1/article-p76_76.xml
 

Iseke, J., & Moore, S. (2011). Community-based Indigenous digital storytelling with Elders and youth. American Indian Culture and Research Journal 35(4), 19–38. 

The authors draw upon select experiences in the production of the four community-based video projects in order to examine the relationships and purpose of making community-based videos, editing strategies, the transformations of oral stories, and the processes of honoring storylines.


Lyons, N., Schaepe, D. M., Hennessy, K., et al. (2016). Sharing deep history as digital knowledge: An ontology of the Sq’éwlets website project. Journal of Social Archaeology, 16(3), 359-384.

This paper presents an ontology of the Sq’e´wlets Virtual Museum of Canada Website Project, a project that has focused on creating a digital community biography of the Sq’e´wlets First Nation (www.digitalsqewlets.ca). The project came to focus on the nature of being Sq’e´wlets; how community members conceived the nature, structure, and nomenclature of the website; and how this Sq’e´wlets being-ness is translated for outside audiences.


McMahon, R., Almond, A., Whistance-Smith, G., Steinhauer, D., Steinhauer, S., & Janes, D. P. (2019). Sweetgrass AR: Exploring Augmented Reality as a Resource for Indigenous–Settler Relations. International Journal of Communication 13, 4530–4552.

Augmented reality (AR) is increasingly used as a digital storytelling medium to reveal placebased content, including hidden histories and alternative narratives. In the context of Indigenous–settler relations, AR holds potential to expose and challenge representations of settler colonialism while invoking relational ethics and Indigenous ways of knowing. However, it also threatens to disseminate misinformation and commodify Indigenous Knowledge. We document a series of iterative design steps that teams can use to work through ethical, narrative, and technical choices made in the creation of culturally appropriate AR content, and draw attention to the potential and limitations of this emerging medium.


Hopkins, C. (2006). Making things our own: The indigenous aesthetic in digital storytelling. Leonardo 39(4), 341-344.

This essay makes use of the characteristics of oral story-telling to define indigenous perspectives on narrative and to provide a framework in which to interpret video and new media art created by Zacharias Kunuk, Nation to Nation's Cyberpowwow project and Paula Giese's Native American Indian Resources.


Powell, T. B., Weems, W., & Owle, F. (2007). Native/American digital storytelling: Situating the Cherokee oral tradition within American literary history. Literature Compass 4(1), 1-23.

This article utilizes digital video of the Cherokee storyteller Freeman Owle and Flash presentation of historic maps to explore how digital technology can be employed to situate Native American oral storytelling in relation to American literary history. The analysis expands the definition of “literature” and frees “American literary history” from the constraints of a chronological timeline that begins with European colonization. Ultimately, it encourages recognition of thousands of years of Native American literature that have been previously overlooked by literary scholars.


Schweitzer, I. (2015). Native Sovereignty and the Archive: Samson Occom and Digital Humanities. Resources for American Literary Study, 21-52.

This essay describes The Occom Circle, a scholarly digital edition of documents held at Dartmouth College by and about Samson Occom (1723–92). It argues that Native intellectual sovereignty is processional, that archives can reveal and preserve the often-ephemeral affective structures of colonial relations, and that digital technology can offer methodologies that embrace the evolving nature of knowledge.


Schandorf, M., & Karatzogianni, A. (2018). # NODAPL: Distributed rhetorical praxis at Standing Rock. In Routledge Companion to Digital Writing & Rhetoric edited by Jonathan Alexander and Jacqueline Rhodes, Routledge. https://leicester.figshare.com/articles/chapter/_NODAPL_Distributed_Rhetorical_Praxis_at_Standing_Rock/10208156/1

The author propose the view on digital activism as a rhetorical practice.


Wyeld, T. G., Carroll, J., Gibbons, C., Ledwich, B., Leavy, B., Hills, J., & Docherty, M. (2007). Doing cultural heritage using the Torque Game Engine: Supporting indigenous storytelling in a 3D virtual environment. International Journal of Architectural Computing 5(2), 417-435.

Digital Songlines (DSL) is an Australasian CRC for Interaction Design (ACID) project that is developing protocols, methodologies and toolkits to facilitate the collection, education and sharing of indigenous cultural heritage knowledge. The project explores the sharing of indigenous Australian Aboriginal storytelling in a sensitive manner using a game engine.