"Visiting Native American Scholars" Program Jun 6, 2008 0:08:24 GMT -5
Post by Diane Merkel on Jun 6, 2008 0:08:24 GMT -5
I don't have a link to the program yet, but here are two excerpts from an article about a program sponsored by the Smithsonian. I think you'll agree that this project will be invaluable.
Five University of Montana graduate students leave Sunday for the nation's capital on a mission to reclaim the history of Montana's tribes.
Officially, they're called “Visiting Native American Scholars” and they will be employed for the month of June by the Smithsonian to copy all documentary materials related to Indians and tribes in Montana and to bring back the information for UM's Mansfield Library.
The project is a multi-year effort to make the nation's archival treasures available to all Montanans, said David Beck, a UM Native American Studies professor who helped arrange and secure the prestigious project.* * *
[Beck] knows for certain the famous archive houses rare field notes produced by John Ewers, one of the nation's foremost scholars of the Plains Indians and the history of the West. Ewers wrote the book “The Blackfeet” in the late 1950s, which is still considered one of the most detailed accounts of the Montana tribe, Beck said.
It is in documents such as Ewers' field notes, diaries, letters and other primary source documents where nuggets of new knowledge sleep - information that never made it into published or public works that can help provide the rich details of tribal eras long gone, Beck said.
“The work these students will do will focus on all the tribes in the state,” Beck said. “But, we may go beyond the state.”
For certain, the information will be captured through digital technology and made available to Montana's tribes, tribal colleges, and anyone else who is interested in the findings.
“The documents we collect will be the kind people use in research,” Beck said. “Instead of having to go to Washington, D.C., to see these documents, researchers can access them through their computer.
“People will be able to study tribal culture and history from a document perspective with much greater depth without having to travel across the country.”