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.
I am also thinking about ways I can make this project more interactive. I have access to maps of Lansing from before it was surveyed showing trails used by Native people in the area and different places used by them. I think it would be interesting to layer these with other maps over time to show the similarities and changes that have taken place over time. Most of these trails correspond to the main roads used in the area today. I would like also to included the elders using the language to talk about these maps and the place names around Lansing.
Right now the focus of my interviews center around the work experiences of local elders and why they came to Lansing to work. I am finding so far that many came to this area after hearing about these jobs from friends or family that already lived and worked here. While the early history of the Lansing area shows a Native presence, there were no permanent settlements. It was more a place where people passed through on their way somewhere else, or used seasonally using the Red Cedar and Grand River to get from one place to another. Native people came to the Lansing area in its early days to work and get education with the help of the Catholic Church and other organizations. Thus just like now, the early history of Native people in the Lansing area was based on movement and migration.