The course will allow students access to rare films and photographs made by Navajo Indians in the Penn Museum’s archives and to Ojibwe Indian Sacred Pipe Carriers and students who are exploring the innovative use of film and digital technologies to preserve their language and culture. In addition to working with the Penn Museum archives, our research will include trips to the Library of Congress, the Smithsonian Museum, and the National Museum of the American Indian in Washington D.C. to look at how Native American culture is archived and displayed within the museum space, focusing in particular on the use of film and photography.
The Ojibwe section of the course will offer Penn students the unique opportunity to travel to the Ojibwe Indian reservations of northern Minnesota, where they will be hosted by a Sacred Pipe Carrier who teaches at Itasca Community College (ICC) in the heart of Ojibwe country. Tim Powell, Director of Digital Partnerships with Indian Communities (DPIC), has been working with Ojibwe tribal historians and Sacred Pipe Carriers for the past eight years to create Gibagadinamaagoom: An Ojibwe Digital Archive in partnership with the Mass Communications department at ICC. The project has produced fifty hours of video and 35 digital images of objects from the Penn Museum. Students would work in teams to curate digital exhibits using this archival material that could then be exhibited on the DPIC website.