AM Panels & Technical Sessions 2009 START Conference Manager    

Documentation and Communication in Aboriginal/Indigenous Cultures

Polit Geir Grenersen, Brendan Edwards and Ramesh Srinivasan

(Submission #6)


Documentation and Communication in Aboriginal/Indigenous Cultures

This panel session explores a number of different issues related to the nature of documentation and communication in aboriginal/indigeneous cultures, where “documents” are not traditional, knowledge systems are of varied types, and the transmission of culture and property are decidedly non-Western. The first paper, by Grenersen, examines the Samis population of Norway where an oppressed group struggled to develop language and cultural centers that documented not only water and land rights for legal purposes but also renewed the community and the culture. The paper also explores the nature of document theory as a theoretical tool for better understanding the status of documents in ongoing trials over land and water rights. The second paper, by Edwards, explores the transition of native cultures in Canada from a traditional pre-literate culture to a print/library culture while simultaneously asserting that these communities had their own kinds of literacy before Europeans arrived with their print/library culture. These methods of communication served to record and perpetuate cultural knowledge in ways both similar and different from European culture. The third paper, by Srinivasan, examines the question of how a digital museum presents different and possibly conflicting traditions and perspectives in a way that preserves the tension between the perspectives. The paper is based on a collaborative research project between the Museum of Anthropology and Archaeology at Cambridge University and the A:shiwi A:wan Museum and Heritage Center of Zuni, New Mexico. It expands on conceptions about indigenous knowledge systems, particularly in relation to digital objects, and promotes the inclusion of indigenous communities in describing these objects.


SIG SPONSORSHIP?: History & Foundations of Information Science (HFIS)


[Additional Materials, speaker bios (PDF)]  

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