Tag Archives: film

Session 1A: Developing Protocols for Native American Materials (APS Native American Conference)


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This is part of the conference “Building Partnerships Between Archives and Indian Communities,” held at the American Philosophical Society (APS) in Philadelphia, May 2010.

Developing Protocols for Native American Materials
Because of the value of the 1,200 hours of endangered Native American language recordings, the APS is interested in making these songs, stories and linguistic studies available in digital form to strengthen language preservation and cultural revitalization. To do so will require the development of protocols, which we hope to develop with other cultural institutions.

Browse the APS digital collections of Native American Images and Native American Sound Recordings.

Spiritually the artifacts are alive,” said Larry Aitken, tribal historian of the Leech Lake Band of Ojibwe. “Some historical societies have objects that were stolen, for example religious artifacts. Those things are so powerful, you need protection for you and your family.”

This panel highlights the larger collections of American Indian artifacts in U.S.

National Museum of the American Indian

National Museum of the American Indian in Washington D.C. / Wikipedia

National Museum of the American Indian (NMAI)
“The museum has a collection of 825,000 ethnographic and archaeological items, spanning 1,200 cultures,” said said Jennifer O’Neal, the museum’s head archivist. “We have 12,000 audio-visual materials from North and South America, and a film and video center. We also have 325,000 images, which show how colonialism took away the life ways and traditions.

“The NMAI’s main goal is stewardship, of indigenous cultural property. We have a ceremony room for seasonal blessings of the collection and staff, we have received no problems with our strict protocol, we restore and distribute media like films and then repatriation and we have recognition of knowledge keepers.”

Library of Congress’ American Folklife Center
“We have 300,000 hours of recordings, 400,00 photographs and several million pages of manuscripts,” said Judith Gray, the center’s coordinator of references. “Permission searches are changing – now researchers need the community’s consent. Protocols maintain a conversation with the communities.”

Smithsonian’s National Anthropological Archives
“For the Smithsonian, we carefully screen the materials then try to put up as many as possible until objection,” said Robert Leopold, director of the archives. “If materials are not available to scholarship, it is a loss to the historical record.”

Newberry Library’s D’Arcy McNickle American Indian History Research Center.
“Now our collection is too big to digitize everything,” said Scott Stevens, director of the center. “So we invite the community leaders to identify our collection’s most important holdings. Twenty years ago there was a fear that this would lead to evacuating the public collection, but those are completely unfounded.”


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Kazakhstan: Tulpan, Sergei Dvortsevoy’s Amazing Film on the Country’s Nomadic Shepherds

Making Connections in Kazakhstan
Tulpan, Amazing Film on the Country’s Nomadic Shepherds
This is Part 1 of the Skyline Stories series “Making Connections in Kazakhstan.”
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Tulpan Film Poster

Saw the amazing Kazakhstani film “Tulpan” at Film Forum this week. (Update: Now on DVD.) Set in the windswept “Hunger Steppe” of southern Kazakhstan, the film follows Asa, a young man who returns home from military service with the Navy to his family of nomadic shepherds. He intends to court Tulpan, the area’s only woman who can be married.

The film, shot with mostly non-professional actors and natural effects — including a 10-minute sheep birthing scene, is part ethno-drama, part coming-of-age tale. It won the 2008 Cannes Film Festival’s Prix Un Certain Regard for “original and different” work.

In a post-screening interview with Film at Lincoln Center during the 2009 New York Film Festival, director Sergei Dvortsevoy said, “All audiences loved the film, but some officials said this was worse than Borat, very bad for Kazakhstan. They ask, ‘Why you want to present to the world Kazakhstan as a poor country?'”

Dvortsevoy continues on the filming process:

“I asked the family to live together one month before the shooting in the yurt, him working as a shepherd, her as a mother to look after children, prepare everything and cook. That’s why you see children so natural, it’s like family.

“The shepherd is an opera singer in real life from Almaty. Samal [Esljamova] (who plays Samal) is a professional theatrical actress, but she was 19 years old, so it was hard for her to cook, live on the step, look after children, because she was just a child herself.”

So…I knew that Kazakhstan will not be like Borat, and I don’t think Almaty will be like this, either. What will the trip be like?

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This is Part 1 of the Skyline Stories series “Making Connections in Kazakhstan.”