Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Mi'kmaw Oral History Project Underway

The Federation of Newfoundland Indians has teamed up with Memorial University this summer to index and digitize oral history interviews on traditional land use conducted by FNI a decade ago. Two Mi'kmaw students - Christopher Crocker and Tyler Duhart - have been hired and trained by Janice Esther Tulk of the Mi'kmaq College Institute (Cape Breton University) to catalogue these interviews in a comprehensive database, making this important body of traditional knowledge searchable for future FNI, community, educational, and research purposes. Once the database is complete, Christopher and Tyler will begin digitizing some 682 90-minute cassette tapes to preserve the data contained on them for the future.

The many ways in which this material might be used in the future is not yet fully known; however, it is anticipated they will be of great interest to the Mi'kmaw community given their information on medicines and traditional remedies, best hunting and berry-picking grounds, harvesting practices for various seafood, Mi'kmaw placenames, and the location of burial and other sacred grounds. The information contained in these interviews may also be of use in genealogical studies and the compilation of family histories. But most importantly, the voices of Elders now passed away and the voices of community leaders of the future have been captured for the years to come.

Anyone interested in learning more about this initiative is invited to contact Janice Esther Tulk at janice_tulk@cbu.ca.

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