Hello! My name is Jen Andrella and I am excited to take part in the 2019-2020 CHI Fellowship. I am a fourth-year Ph.D. Candidate in the History Department. My current research explores Montana Territory as a case study to connect late 19th-century territorial development in the American West, the sovereignty of Native nations, and the politics and policies of the Reconstruction Era. I utilize ethnohistorical approaches that incorporate non-traditional documentary evidence like art, literature, and material culture which allows stronger representation of Indigenous culture and memory within US history. I am also pursuing the graduate certificate in Digital Humanities and my interests include text mining, digital mapping, spatial relationships, and large data analysis and visualization. This year, I am a research assistant for Dr. Sharon Leon in the history department and also working in the Lab for the Education and Advancement in Digital Research (LEADR), where I specialize in content management systems like WordPress and Omeka, data visualization tools, and DH pedagogical approaches.
In CHI, I look forward to developing a project that began as my undergraduate thesis and will appear as the fourth chapter in my dissertation. This project focuses on the memory of the Piegan Massacre (1870) of Piegan Blackfoot in Northwestern Montana. I believe that the skills offered through CHI could foster new and creative opportunities to assert Piegan voices and memory within this history and demonstrate the necessity of culturally-responsible historical research. For example, I hope to explore how computational approaches can assess large quantities of newspaper data and discern how Native peoples are both represented within newspapers and also combating malicious and false claims made by settler “trusted correspondents.” Additionally, I want to incorporate Piegan art, oral histories, and literary works to supplement this “reading against the grain” approach and demonstrate that culture is a fundamental asset to history. I envision this project to be collaborative with the Piegan community, so that there can be an active discussion on how to ensure the most accurate historical representation.