From the perspective of Wikimedia Canada, this sounds exciting. Many
of us believe that work with the First Nations is an important element
in Wikimedia Canada's tasks. I look forward to meeting you in Haifa.
Thanks for providing the RRN link; since I am in the Greater Vancouver
District they should be more accessible to me.
On 07/27/11 6:06 AM, Sarah Stierch wrote:
Hi all -
I came across a lighter version of this conversation on another Wikimedia
list, and felt the need to share my similar thoughts and statements that I
For the past year, I have been examining opportunities involving Indigenous
communities of North America and opportunities to utilize Wikipedia and
related websites as an affordable, unique and global form of cultural
preservation. I have my undergraduate in Native American Studies, and I am
obtaining my masters currently. My final paper (not quite a thesis) for
graduation will be a strong examination of the opportunities related to
Indigenous communities and opportunities/pros/cons related to Wikipedia. I'm
actually presenting on my preliminary observations and concerns at
Wikimania, you can learn a bit more here:
In the United States, as far as I am aware, I am the only person thinking
about this on a higher level. While right now I am quite busy with other
matters, come this Fall I will be diving head first into my research. I will
be serving as Wikipedian in Residence at the National Museum of the American
Indian, where I will be working with staff to examine these concerns. One
of our biggest concerns lies with *oral history*. We have had countless
conversations about the struggles with "no original research" however, in
oral history based societies, we will have a very hard time moving beyond
anything else. As stated previously, the majority of content created related
to Indigenous communities in North America was often written by (and still
is) Anglo anthropologists - some of that data is highly out of date and is
still being utilized on Wikipedia as a source today.
This project, Oral Citations, follows closely with the type of work I am
seeking to do. I have been planning to examine Wikipedia (English at first)
research policies and consider proposals or changes in relation to serious
research and Indigenous communities. Of course, it all comes down to
funding, and Native people of North American are often the first overlooked
group - it will take a lot of work, years of effort, and a lot of buy in
that is needed to be gathered from inside the community itself.
I'm babbling right now, but, this is a very passionate topic for me. I see
Wikipedia as providing an affordable and unique way for Indigenous
communities to not only learn valuable skills - many of the communities here
in America are among the poorest in the world, you'd think you were in a
developing country, and kids barely receive beyond an elementary school
education - but to have a broad arena to share stories (that the community
chooses to share of course), beliefs, cosmologies, and traditions so that
they are accessible and *vetted* for researchers and community members
around the world.
I do hope that some of you are attending Wikimania, I'd like to be able to
have a break out session of sorts or an unconference to discuss this topic
further. I'm hoping in the next year to have an international conference of
sorts that brings together Indigenous people, open source gurus, and
Wiki-folks to examine opportunities, processes, and belief systems in
regards to opportunities.
Feel free to email me directly, again, right now I am unable to move quickly
in any major projects due to my already big work load, but, I'm hoping that
this will be large part of my career work as an advocate for Native rights,
a scholar, and an open source-lover.