Archiving Endangerment, Endangered Archives JUDITH KAPLAN and REBECCA LEMOV

Under the salvage paradigm of Americanist anthropology during the early twentieth century, researchers gathered up all the evidence of groups under study—probing subjective experience, fixing elusive gestures, surveying cultures more globally and thoroughly than ever before. Fears about the widespread loss of “world” cultures motivated a variety of efforts to collect the most fleeting phenomena—dreams, rituals, rhythm, even the “life” of language. This article investigates the tension between ephemerality and preservation through two case studies of Americanist sound archiving: Indiana University’s Archives of the Languages of the World, and the personal archive of Ishi (1861–1917), a Yahi speaker who became famous as the “last wild Indian.” We emphasize the latent potential of recorded sound to speak across time as the basis of cultural and linguistic revitalization. We show how recordings make up a cycle of suppression and emergence—fueled by the technologies of preservation, storage, and analysis.

DOI: 10.1353/tech.2019.0067

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Video
(27.01.2014AD) 2014. “Language: The Heart Of Our Culture”. Penn Project. https://youtu.be/MnMS44xjbcw.
Object, Instrument, Technology

This website is an online learning tool designed to support Lenape language education through its expansive dictionary and language lessons. Its primary function is translating words, sentences, and phrases from English to Lenape or vice versa. Each Lenape item in the search results includes an audio clip of a speaker of Lenape saying the item. In addition to over 17,000 words in the dictionary, the site also includes stories, usage examples, photos, and historical examples.

Audio
n.d. “Tubatalabal Recording”. Smithsonian Institution. https://naturalhistory2.si.edu/anthropology/media/NMNH-sinaa_00001258.mp3.
Text
1954. ““Archives Of The Languages Of The World, Circa 1954” File”. Indiana records. http://webapp1.dlib.indiana.edu/findingaids/view?docId=InU-Ar-VAA8877.xml&doc.view=items#mets=http%3A%2F%2Fpurl.dlib.indiana.edu%2Fiudl%2Farchives%2Fmets%2FVAA8877-00382&aid=VAA8877-U-11239&page=1.
In document content:

President's Office Record from Indiana University, ca. 1954.

“Archives of the Languages of the World, circa 1954” file, Indiana University President’s Office records, Collection C213.30, Indiana University Archives, Bloomington

Text
Reyburn, William, Nellie Gansworth, Arthur Johnson, and Clinton Rickard. n.d. “Tuscarora Texts And Word Lists”. https://diglib.amphilsoc.org/islandora/object/tuscarora-texts-and-word-lists#page/13/mode/1up.
In document content:

Interviews transcribed from audio recordings. (See "Mss.Rec.9, Tuscarora Indian Material.") Consists of texts (including several versions of Crossing the Ice) with translations, word lists, phoneme lists, paradigms.

Link: https://diglib.amphilsoc.org/islandora/object/tuscarora-texts-and-word-lists#page/2/mode/1up

Image
“Ishi The Last Of The Yahi Tribe”. 1915.
Image
“Portrait Of Ishi”. 1911.
Video
“Audio Preservationist Carl Haber, 2013 Macarthur Fellow | Macarthur Foundation”. 2013.