Cover image for the Recoding Relations project.
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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:

Illustration image for the Recoding Relations project.

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).

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