UBC Library and Archives

After Digital Repatriation: Articulations of Heritage, Community, and Cultural Property in a Northern Athapascan Hunting Group Ridington, Amber


Webcast sponsored by the Irving K. Barber Learning Centre and hosted by the School of Library, Archival, and Information Studies (SLAIS). Using examples from her collaborative and applied work with the Doig River First Nation, a Dane-zaa Athapaskan group in northeastern BC, folklorist Amber Ridington will discuss some of the issues of cultural representation and cultural property that have surfaced and have been mediated within the Doig River community, and other Dane-zaa communities with shared interests, during a sequence of digital cultural heritage projects since 1999. These collaborative projects began with simple goals of digital preservation and digital repatriation, and have expanded their scope and implications to include cultural reclamation and language revitalization as they have grown to incorporate participatory ethnography, participatory exhibition, and global distribution through the Internet. Doig River's most recent collaborative project with Amber is the award winning virtual exhibit, Dane-Wajich - Dane-zaa Stories and Songs: Dreamers and the Land hosted by the Virtual Museum of Canada (www.virtualmuseum.ca/Exhibitions/Danewajich 2007). This exhibition integrates subtitled Dane-zaa and English video narratives, interpretive e-text, photographs of the production process, recordings of archival songs, and contemporary and archival images of traditional lands in order to showcase Dane-zaa culture and to address present concerns faced by the community as they negotiate legacies of colonialism and a changing relationship to the land. These projects signify the possibilities and challenges for the use of digital media to both conserve and represent Indigenous heritage. Amber will discuss her efforts to recontextualize archival materials and standardize the catalogue system, the development of a community defined process of documentation and self representation, and Doig River's initiatives to balance protecting and sharing their cultural heritage materials with the public through a tradition based attribution and clearance protocol for the use and distribution of archival heritage materials.

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