Hello! I’m Emily Nisch, a second-year archaeology PhD student, focusing on digital archaeology, cultural heritage, and community-based participatory methods. My research looks at the material culture of Native American boarding schools and asks how digitization and community collaborative methods can contribute meaningfully to the preservation and memorialization material culture and narratives associated with the schools. For the Chi fellowship, I am exploring these questions by developing a digital archive of digitized material culture associated with the Mt Pleasant Indian Industrial School in Mt Pleasant, Michigan.

In preparation for my dissertation work, I have been learning about the intersection of digitization and cultural heritage, and taking classes in the museum studies department, and American Indian and Indigenous Studies, and will soon complete the requirements for the Graduate Certificate in American Indian and Indigenous Studies. I am a NADAC Fellow, and have loved learning from and working alongside colleagues engaged in digital spaces. I have also been working on the Internment Archaeology Digital Archive (IADA) under the leadership of Dr. Stacey Camp and my advisor, Dr. Ethan Watrall. During that time I have using photogrammetry and structured light to make 3D models of material culture from the Minidoka and Kooskia internment camps. I’m looking forward to when the IADA platform is published!

I am excited to be a CHI Fellow this year! I have already learned a lot and look forward to continuing to build skills that will help me produce a digital platform to archive digitized material culture.

If you want to learn more about the work already happening with the schools, here are some resources I like:

The National Native American Boarding School Healing Coalition
MIIBS (about the Mt Pleasant Indian Industrial School)
The Carlisle Indian School Digitial Resource Center