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CEDaR projects bring together existing and emergent research teams to foster the co-development of collaborative and reciprocal project plans grounded in context-specific needs. Community stories are situated in territory, shared through intergenerational communication, expressive of crucial identities, and governed by ethical protocols. When translated into digital spaces, these stories thus have associated technological requirements. In conversation with university researchers, multimedia developers, and knowledge exchange platforms, community partners are supported in planning projects that require immersive media technologies, including virtual and augmented reality, 3D printing, binaural sound recording, and cross-platform game engines. Cross-disciplinary teams will facilitate, develop, and advance interwoven approaches to the digital documentation of community stories, the effective mobilization of this documentation using emergent media, and, uniquely, the community-guided and user-centred stewardship of such knowledge.

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#NativeTwitter: Indigenous networks of relations and resistance

#NativeTwitter: Indigenous networks of relations and resistance, edited by Jeffery Ansloos, Ashley Caranto Morford, and David Gaertner. Currently under contract by Wilfrid Laurier University Press.

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Social media; twitter; networks

Book Description

It is difficult to overestimate the important social, political, cultural, environmental, and technological shifts  wrought by the social media revolution, particularly the communications platform Twitter. On March 21, 2006, at  9:50 P.M. Pacific time, Twitter founder Jack Dorsey published the inaugural tweet on the platform. Less than a  decade later, Twitter would become the primary means of journalistic and political communication. Twitter has  also become a mobilizing platform for social movements around the world, including Indigenous social  movements.1 The technology of Twitter itself and the proliferation of hashtag networks arguably supported the  development and successes of Indigenous political movements like #IdleNoMore. Indeed, the story of  #IdleNoMore’s emergence on Twitter represented a massive political shift, or, as Adam J. Barker suggests, a  “renewed assertion of Indigenous sovereignty in opposition to settler colonisation … Idle No More has brought  online activism into alignment with embodied defenses of land and place, challenging Canadian sovereignty and  Settler identity in multiple and creative ways.”2 But what is Indigenous sovereignty in the context of the digital?  And how does the technology of Twitter hinder and/or promote Indigenous life?

In the 14 years since Twitter’s formation, utilization of the platform has grown substantially and, with it, so has the  platform’s sociopolitical and cultural influence. The success of multi-media campaigns like We Matter, and the  popularity and proliferation of hashtag networks like #NativeTwitter, the aforementioned #IdleNoMore, and  #WetsuwetenStrong illustrate that the socio-political as well as public health and community-engagement  purposing of social media are particularly important for Indigenous peoples. Further, like other users, Indigenous  peoples share their day-to-day life experiences on Twitter as individuals and throughout networks, configuring it as  what Dorothy Kim identifies as “mediated public space.”3 We seek to more fully comprehend how Twitter is being  taken up and implemented by Indigenous peoples as a means of cultural resurgence, language revitalization,  community development, collective support, life promotion, and anti-colonial organization and healing. We  believe that historically, sociologically, and conceptually situating these movements and practices is vital to  Indigenous peoples and the practice of interpretation within Indigenous studies. Yet we must also contend with  what Loretta Todd (Cree-Métis) recognized in 1996, and what various others have re-iterated since then4: to a  large extent, the Internet, in its current form, has been developed through Western epistemologies and, thus, is an  extension of colonial society.5 As such, settler colonialism is all too often re-enacted in Twitter’s ecosystem. For  instance, debates surrounding the intersections of freedom of expression rights and hate speech are central  challenges for Indigenous Twitter users who encounter racist content. Filtering, blocking, surveillance technology, and public policy, then, are pronounced sites of tension for Indigenous users and the platform. Additionally, the  creation of the hashtag network #SettlerCollector, which calls on settlers to take up the labor of confronting and  addressing anti-Indigenous content and conduct on Twitter, makes clear the overwhelming amount of racism  enacted on and through the platform. Given this extension of colonial violence into the digital realm, another of  our objectives is to more robustly theorize the technological dimensions of and digital practices of resistances against settler colonialism, and to understand how Twitter might be re-programmed to better support Indigenous  communities and movements.

In this edited volume, authors take up various historical, sociological, philosophical, methodological, and  ethical analyses about #NativeTwitter, to document and make sense of the profound effects of this platform for Indigenous people. Contributors consider the platform in relationship to Indigenous users, peoples, communities, social movements, and organizations, to stimulate conceptual creativity and ethical practice in the  study of Indigenous social media.

Cover image for the #NativeTwitter: Indigenous networks of relations and resistance project.

Community-Centered Content Management Systems

We are working with community partners to develop workflows and strategies that best meet their needs for digital data stewardship.

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archive; content management system; digital; data sovereignty; stewardship; metadata

Full Blog Post :

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Subpart 1

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Subpart 2

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Cover image for the Community-Centered Content Management Systems project.

Gaming Workshops

Working with Indigenous game developers such as Maize Longboat and Meagan Byrne, CEDaR is hosting gaming workshops that facilitate community-based storytelling.

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video games; collective initiative, coding, storytelling

CEDaR is proud to support two SSHRC-funded video game conference at UBC in 2022/23: 1) “Games in Action: interactivity / activation \ activism” are officially confirmed for November 4 and 5, 2022, held at the Chan Centre for the Performing Arts at the University of British Columbia. And 2) Decolonizing and Indigenizing European and Migration Studies through Indigenous Storywork Methodologies

Cover image for the Gaming Workshops project.

Grammars of Space in Kwak̕wala

Alongside community partners, we are using digital technologies and new media to document, interpret, and share how the Kwak̕wala language holds knowledge of place.

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territory; sovereignty; placenames; digital; audio; video; archive; mapping

This project focuses on the development of three interrelated resources which illuminate the richly textured ways that the Kwak̕wala language holds knowledge of place and the relationships within it: a book; a searchable digital corpus of annotated language recordings; and a pedagogical **audio installation **located in ancestral territories. Building from a linguistic descriptions of the grammatical architecture which allows speakers to paint vivid pictures of spatial relationships and their place in the world, this work encompasses multidimensional and multimodal knowledges of place.

The book, Grammars of Space in Kwak’wala, describes how the intricate architecture of Kwak̕wala grammar records and sustains deep-time relationships between people and places: how placenames archive knowledge about plants, animals, seasons and social histories; how speakers situate themselves in relation to rivers, forests, oceans, islands, and other elements of the surrounding world; how morphemes combine within a word such as tatik̕wała (‘to expect a canoe to come into sight’) to express complex human interactions with landscape; and most importantly, how these patterns within the language can be made more accessible to heritage learners. Cross-referenced with the book, a transcribed and translated collection of audio and video recordings of Elders speaking Kwak̕wala will make examples searchable in context, listenable for learners and other researchers, and accessible according to community protocols. Community-approved and protocol-governed site-specific installations of geolocated audio will allow language learners to hear placenames, sentences, and conversations about their homelands in situ as well as remotely through a web-based map.

The three parts of this project bring written Kwak̕wala examples from the book to life, restoring dimensions of space and time to compressed written representations of the language: allowing us to hear the voices of speakers and situating spoken Kwak̕wala sentences back into the landscape to which the language belongs. This planned digital trilogy is a modern complement to the ‘Boasian Trilogy’ (grammar, dictionary, and texts) originally exemplified through fifty years of collaborative documentation of Kwak̕wala, from 1893 to 1947, by speaker George Hunt and Franz Boas. (e.g. Woodbury 2011) Boas himself lamented the ‘slowness of dictation’ and wished for the ability to accurately record and present the speakers and sounds of the language (1917); what he longed to do is now possible.

Land-based pedagogy is a priority for Indigenous communities engaged in language reclamation (McGregor 2004, Daniels-Fiss 2008, Rosborough 2012, inter alia), and digital technologies radically expand our ability to create context-rich resources for oral and aural learning. Making use of new facilities in my CFI lab for community-engaged documentation and research (CEDaR), this project taps the potential for new media to restore dimension, orality, and place to silent and decontextualized written representations of Kwak̕wala. For communities revitalizing their languages, and for all of us working in partnership with these communities, there is intense interest in seeing examples of how languages know and describe territory, how others teach and learn the language of place, how technology can support land-based pedagogy, and not least, how one community nourishes their connection to place.

Cover image for the Grammars of Space in Kwak̕wala project.

Indigitization Toolkit: Transcription and Translation

We worked with Indigitization to add a community-centered resource guide for Transcription and Translation of Indigenous languages to their Toolkit.

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digitization; transcription; translation; ELAN; language revitalization; community; accessibility

As part of the National Research Council (NRC)'s Canadian Indigenous Languages Technology Project, the Indigitization Program worked collaboratively with communities and other specialists in project planning, archiving, content management, and digitization, to expand their Toolkit to include multiple additional media formats and practical manuals for recording, transcription and translation.

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Cover image for the Indigitization Toolkit: Transcription and Translation project.

Optical Character Recognition for Low-Resource Languages

We are using machine learning methods to make legacy documentation more accessible for community-based language revitalization.

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OCR; orthography; legacy documentation; language revitalization; computational linguistics; machine learning; accessibility

Kwak̕wala is an Indigenous language spoken on Northern Vancouver Island, nearby small islands, and the opposing mainland. There is an active group of language learners and teachers revitalization the language, working closely with Elder first-language speakers, many of whom are over 70 years old. The Kwak̕wala language includes 42 consonantal phonemes (twice as many as English) and a wide range of allophonic vowels. Several writing systems exist and two orthographies are in widespread use by communities: the U’mista and Liq’wala systems.
However, most documentation in the Kwak̕wala language was originally written over a hundred years ago in a complex system developed by anthropologist Franz Boas working with George Hunt, an Indigenous ethnographer and scholar based in Tsax̱is (Fort Rupert). The Boas-Hunt writing system is an adaptation of the North American Phonetic Alphabet and uses Latin script characters as well as diacritics and digraphs to represent phonemic differences. The cultural and linguistic materials written in this system are of tremendous value to community-based researchers, but are minimally accessible in their current form as non-searchable scanned images in an orthography that few can read.
Rosenblum, Kwak'wala language learners and community members, and computational linguists at Carnegie Mellon are working to improve the OCR system for thousands of pages of legacy materials written in the Boas-Hunt orthography. We will then be able to produce searchable copies of these significant cultural resources, as well as automating their transliteration into both community-preferred orthographies, vastly increasing their accessibility. You can read more about the project here at Shruti Rijhwani's github page. Shruti was named to the Forbes 30 Under 30 in Science for this work!

Cover image for the Optical Character Recognition for Low-Resource Languages project.

Recoding Relations

Recoding Relations is produced out of the Symposium for Indigenous New Media (#SINM2018) was a two-day event held on the traditional territory of the WSÁNEĆ (Saanich), Lkwungen (Songhees), Wyomilth (Esquimalt) peoples of the Coast Salish Nation as part of the 2018 Digital Humanities Summer Institute (DHSI). The symposium was a starting point for an extensive capacity building and knowledge mobilization project at DHSI that included the production of best practice materials and models to support Indigenous peoples and research in the digital humanities (DH). This initial symposium brought together scholars from across the social sciences and humanities, including Indigenous Studies, English, Psychology and Human Development, and First Nations and Endangered Languages. Scholars, students, artists, and community members collaborated closely with one another on a range of projects employing digital technologies in Indigenous contexts. Read more about Recoding Relations at Critical Inquiry: https://critinq.wordpress.com/2020/01/21/recoding-relations-dispatches-from-the-symposium-for-indigenous-new-media/

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new media; symposium; podcast

Overall Goals and Objectives

Recoding Relations was recorded at #SINM2018, an international event featuring a constellation of scholars with expertise in Indigenous studies and/or DH in order to mobilize rigorous and ethical models of research between the two fields. We were motivated by the following specific examples:

Make more space for Indigenous peoples, technologies, and knowledges in the organization and development of DH theory and practice;

Create new Indigenous infrastructure at DHSI 2018 and future DHSI meetings;

Supplement the body of research knowledge in the existing literature on Indigenous new media with a collaboratively written, open access document, podcasts, and blog posts;

Forge connections and mentorship opportunities between Canadian academics by bringing together scholars and students from various career stages and institutions to share their expertise and experiences, ask questions, and exchange ideas and best practices in a collaborative setting;

Foster the development of research-informed practices of Indigenous studies amongst DH scholars and vice versa;

Enable DH project developers from multidisciplinary specializations to share their best practices, experiences, and critical perspectives with one another and provide mentorship for emerging scholars and students;

Increase usage of existing research on Indigenous new media in DH circles;

Develop new curricula for teaching Indigenous new media both inside and outside the academy;

Provide a forum for open discussion, questions, professional development opportunities, and future collaborations for each participant, as well as new insights on trends and the future of Indigenous DH that may emerge from shared the scholarly community and public sphere, both nationally and internationally.

Episode 1: People over Tools

In Episode 1, we discuss how people and relationships, rather than technology alone, are what hold the power to support Indigenous and decolonial futures. We talk about what being a good relation to Indigenous peoples and territories looks like in the digital humanities and we highlight research relationships and collaborations that work for and with community. We hear Sarah Dupont present on her work with the Indigitization project and Mark Turin discuss language revitalization and new media. We also cover some of the ongoing impacts of Western research on Indigenous peoples, and David Gaertner and Michael and Caroline Running Wolf offer guidelines for anyone seeking to work in Indigenous contexts. (Written and produced by Melissa Haberl in collaboration with Autumn Schnell)

Episode 2: Indigeneity in DH

In Episode 2 we explore what Indigeneity means within the digital humanities. We listen to pieces by Jordan Abel, Michelle Nahanee, and Maize Longboat about their Indigeneity and how that manifests in the work they do. Jordan touches on his back story and how that inspired the creation of his book Injun; then we hear from Maize Longboat, who talks about the production of his video game. Maize is currently still in the process of developing that game, so we hear about that process and his inspiring factors. Finally, Michelle Nahanee shares her experience creating the  game Sínulhkay and Ladders. Michelle closes by explaining the goals of her Decolonizing Activity Book. (Written and produced by Autumn Schnell in collaboration with Melissa Haberl).

Episode 3: Decolonial Digital

In Episode 3 we discuss how people studying and working in Indigenous studies and DH understand and define digital technology and we talk about some of the politics involved in working in these fields. You hear presentations from Ashley Caranto Morford and Jeffrey Ansloos, two scholars who challenge normative ways of understanding the digital and who push us to think more critically about DH in relation to decolonization and Indigenous sovereignty. We discuss how the digital humanities often fail to recognize or make space for the lived experiences of Indigenous peoples, as well as Black, people of colour, queer and gender non-binary folks, and we talk about the need to decolonize DH theory and practice. (Written and produced by Melissa Haberl in collaboration with Autumn Schnell).

Episode 4: Exploring Remediation

In Episode 4 we talk about remediation. We hear from Michelle Brown, who shares a story with us about her first experience with remediation. Brown then shares the premise of her virtual reality game, and describes how (Re)Coding was inspired. We also hear from Treena Chambers and Sarah Humphreys about the work they are doing with the popular book _Cogewea. _Finally, we hear the audio piece that Jordan Abel shared with us in his keynote called Injun. We learn a lot about remediation, reclamation, and recoding throughout the episode. (Written and produced by Autumn Schnell in collaboration with Melissa Haberl).

Cover image for the Recoding Relations project.
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