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.
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.