Andrew W. Mellon Undergraduate Fellow in the Humanities
2011—2012 Forum on Adaptations
Digital Adaptations: Sharing Cherokee Cultural Knowledge
My research will address the question of what adaptation means when digital technology makes it possible to return Native American cultural materials to the communities of origin. In the first stage of my project, I will be working in partnership with the American Philosophical Society and the Penn Museum to create a database of digitized cultural materials, including audio recordings and archival images, for the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians (EBCI). These digital surrogates will be returned to the EBCI’s total immersion language school as well as the tribe’s Junaluska Museum, where they will be adapted into Cherokee culture in the form of curricula and exhibits. In the second stage of my project, I will travel to the EBCI reservation to conduct interviews regarding the challenges of repatriating culturally sensitive recordings and images, and the types of policy necessary for the successful sharing of Native American archival materials.