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havila14

havila14

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May 7, 2014

Nkwejong and Looking Forward

May 7, 2014 | By | No Comments

After some trials and tribulations I now have my project up and running. Nkwejong: Oral Histories and Stories of the Lansing Anishinaabeg community. This is just the beginning of what I hope will be an ongoing project that brings together my dissertation work and other collections of materials to record and preserve the Native history of the Lansing area.

The Lansing area has a long history of use by Native communities in the Great Lakes. While there were only a few permanent habitations in the area, it was well known as a place of intersecting trials and a place to gather resources. Some of these trials that ran through the area  would later become two of the major highway systems in the state, Grand River (I-96) and 1-27. It is also the place where the Grand River and the Red Cedar River merge. The Grand River is one of the largest rivers in Lower Michigan. At its head waters in Washtenaw County it connects to the Huron River over a short portage creating an East West water route that allows one to travel from Lake Michigan to Lake Erie. This area was a shared space used by Three Fires Anishinaabeg peoples that was eventually ceded to the United States in two separate treaties in 1807 and 1821. Anishinaabeg continued to use the area even after the Indian Removal Act of the 1830’s.

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April 15, 2014

Always Learning

April 15, 2014 | By | No Comments

I went the the Anishinaabemowin-teg conference in Sault Saint Marie a few weeks ago and was encouraged by all the work that was being done on Language revitalization involving technology and the internet. Communities are really using these technologies I think in a positive way that will be of benefit to preserving and promoting heritage language use.

One of the things I took away from this conference was the importance of maintaining the cultural components when teaching the language. As one of the elders and fluent speakers said, “Its important to teach the language using the culture, and to teach through doing things so that these activities and the language used to describe them remain linked.” One of the many talks I went to showed how communities are working with language teachers to document traditional activities like ice fishing and making baskets and recording them being done in the language. These then become resources that teach the language through action and doing things which is an important way to learn and more important remember. This is especially true for kids, but also for adults.

What I saw and heard going on at this conference has helped me to shape some possible directions for my website and how I can make it a better resource for language learners. I was also at a session that was all in Anishinaabemwoin. It was difficult for me to keep up at times and it reminded me that I still have a lot to learn. In terms of my project I am posting added content. I now have almost 25 hours of audio recordings to sort through, some videos and soon many photos to post and categorize. However I am going to concentrate on just a few of them for the debut of my site. I have the summer to clean up and add the rest.

I have also been discussing with community members different approaches in terms of access and traditional knowledge licenses. My original platform had these built in and I am working on how to incorporate them into my site. I have also put the call out to the community to see if anyone has photos, videos or stories they would like to share. I am getting some positive responses and hopefully more materials to include.  My goal is to have this be a community based project where the community has both control of and ownership off the direction and scope of the site.

Once I have this content up and looking good I feel confident that it will be something that the community will want to use and be part of. I am also looking into how the other efforts I saw at this conference could somehow be integrated together or linked in some way to create connections between communities that are engaged in language and cultural revitalization. Perhaps a web portal with an interactive map that links communities and their digital spaces together. I think this would be a great future project for someone.

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March 14, 2014

Making progress and future projects

March 14, 2014 | By | No Comments

In the last few weeks I have been talking with community members about my project with the CHI Fellowship and getting some input on its potential. Some really exciting things came up in our conversations that I want to share as well as some of the things I have uncovered as part of my research on the Native community in Lansing.

As a disclaimer I have to say that many of these things are at the moment beyond what I can do with the site. As always I have to remind myself that I need to keep things simple and stick to my plan. I have the tendency to see many paths and possibilities that could be projects onto themselves, and I forget to focus on the foundations. That being said I see that this site could expand once its launched.

While the foundation of my site will be the experience of elders coming to the Lansing area for work many of the people I have spoke with see it as being a platform for recording indigenous knowledge and the oral history of local elders. (IYEP), the Indigenous youth empowerment program is working on some grants that could be used to do recordings. The idea being that they would work with local youth who would do the interviews and recordings of elders and fluent speakers and create connections across generations that are vital to maintaining cultural continuity. Some community members have also expressed the idea that this remain a community based project rather than an open source website for some of the materials which I like as it is inline with what I wanted to originally do using Mukurtu. My next step for this will be working with community members and stake holders on developing different levels of access, traditional knowledge protocols and licenses.

background

I have also been working on the Native history of Lansing as a place of movement and subsistence and came across a great resource. Of course I cant find the title of the book in my notes so I will have to update my post later. This is a pic from the book of the local area showing trails used my Native people as well as other important parts of the landscape such as mounds, burials and villages. What is great is that it has every county in Michigan and it shows how these trails connect to larger systems and networks that stretch East to the Atlantic and all the way South to the Gulf. There are only 100 of these books left, the rest were lost in a fire. For anyone interested in a mapping project in the future this would be a valuable resource to digitize and make available online. I am thinking that I may try to tackle this in the future and if anyone else is interested send me a message. For the time being however I am going to have to put it on the back burner.

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February 13, 2014

My Project so far……….

February 13, 2014 | By | No Comments

I am in the process of building my website using WordPress. Originally I was going to use Mukurtu  as the platform but it does not look like I will be able to have it hosted on the Matrix Dev space. Because this is a project involving local elders and community members I want to keep the recordings local as well. However I like WordPress and I am going to continue using the Indigenous licensing protocols that attracted me to Mukurtu.

One of the issues I am working on in my research and also for my CHI Fellowship project is recording stories and oral histories. I recently recorded an elder from the Lansing area and his experiences growing up on Manitoulin Island and coming to Lansing and working in the auto industry. I chose a quite place to do the recoding because my first recording was in the MSU student union and the mic picked up every sound coming from the coffee shop as well as every other ambient sound around us. This time even though it was a quiet place I still had some issues. The first, water fountains are noisy. I never even considered how much sound they put out. Second, don’t hold your recording equipment. I’m not sure why I was holding it but every time I moved you could hear it. While both recordings are good in that I can clearly hear the people I am recoding they need to be cleaned up before I post them on my website.

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January 13, 2014

Lanisng Michigan Anishinaabeg Oral History Archive

January 13, 2014 | By | One Comment

My project is titled the Lansing Michigan Anishinaabeg Oral History Archive. The goal of this project is to record the oral history and stories of Native elders and fluent Anishinaabemowin speakers who came to Lansing MI to work in the auto industry and other jobs. These elders are now in many ways the backbone and center of the Lansing Native community are are valued for both their cultural knowledge and their fluency in Anishinaabemowin. The majority of these individuals came from reserves in and around Manitoulin Island in Ontario Canada but have made Lansing their home. This project is important for many reasons. First with the number of fluent speakers in the state down to 50 or less the wealth of information these elders have about Anishinaabeg language and culture is phenomenal. Also there stories about migrating to Lansing, their experiences working in the auto industry and their role in the community as elders is an important but overlooked part of Lansing’s historical and cultural heritage.

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December 13, 2013

Indigenous Language and Twitter

December 13, 2013 | By | No Comments

As and older student I remember being an undergraduate during a time when email was new and rarely used on campus. Most of my communication with my professors was in person or sometimes by telephone; the kind that were attached to walls! Grades were posted outside of their doors next to your social security numbers to protect your identity. Also my university mailed grades home so If you performed like me as an undergrad then opening your grades after the semesters ended was meet with half dread and half hope. I greatly appreciate the advances that have taken place sense those days and I am happy to report that I am a much better student. However while I have had a Facebook account for some time I have not delved into other things like Instagram and Twitter.  So after a few failed attempts at using twitter I finally forced myself to get an account. I am particularly interested in how Native languages are used and presented in social media.

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October 10, 2013

Naangodinong kwii bekaayaa wii noondaagoyi

October 10, 2013 | By | One Comment

One of the issues that confronts those involved with Native American language revitalization is how to teach a language whose speakers are often few and far between and potential students are often spread out over a large area. In Michigan there are less than 50 speakers of Anishinaabemowin, or the Ojibwe language. While many reservation and urban communities are engaged in language revitalization, the number of people it reaches is limited, and the small number of fluent speakers and language resources only compounds the problem. One way to solve this is through digital media and web based learning. However, Native urban and reservation communities have lagged behind other communities in terms of their access to the technology and infrastructure that could make this possible.

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September 20, 2013

CHI Fellowship Intro: Adam Haviland

September 20, 2013 | By | 2 Comments

Hello everyone. My name is Adam Haviland. I am a PhD student in the Anthropology program here at Michigan State. I am the lonely linguistic Anthropology student you see hiding out at Espresso Royal. I also am a Graduate Assistant for the Native American Institute. Before coming into Anthropology I received an M.A in American Studies from MSU. The focus of my graduate work has been on the revitalization of Native American Languages, specifically Anishinaabemowin, which includes Ojibwe, Odawa and Potawatomie in the Great Lakes. I started learning Anishinaabemowin in high school and have continued to study it as both an undergrad and graduate student. I am currently working with the Native American Institute to create an online course in the language.

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