I have been informed that I am one of six students selected to receive a scholarship from the Institute for American Indian Research (IFAIR) which will allow me to attend the Native American Graduate Students Research Conference, Planting the Seeds of Our Research, and present a paper on the power of stories and how they can be used to introduce Native students to tribal archives. This conference will include graduate students from the United States and Canada and the papers presented will cover all disciplines. The conference be held at the University of New Mexico, April 3-4.
Along with the research sessions, the conference will include keynote speaker Dr. Gerald Vizenor, student talking circles, an indigenous evening social and give away, and tours of research programs. Indigenous professors at the University of New Mexico will also comment on the papers presented in panels and sessions at the conference. I am honored to have received this opportunity and proud to be able to represent Emporia State University and SLIM.
Here the title and abstract for my paper.
The Power of Stories: Using Constructivism and Sense-Making to Introduce Native American Students to Tribal Archives
While the focus of information sharing and communication is shifting to a social bookmarking, web.2, technological, Internet, and digital viewpoint, the human-to-human, face-to-face, storytelling, oral ways of connecting families and communities remain powerful and compelling. Both constructivism (constructing our individual knowledge of the world by experiences and then considering the meaning and value of these experiences), and sense-making, (a continual process of making sense of a body of knowledge when there is a gap by gathering information and looking for patterns and connections), are influenced by cultural constructs. Both of these theories can be utilized as effective tools to make tribal archival repositories meaningful to Native American students by effectively connecting thought with emotion.
Tribal archives are like elders who protect and share our stories; they honor our ancestors, bridge generations, and share knowledge, thus preserving the history of our people. Recognizing Native American learning styles, including the use of storytelling as a teaching technique as well as language which is picture and emotion based , are techniques which can be utilized to help Native American students begin the process of recognizing that tribal archives places where we can connect with each other through time and space, providing us with a vibrant view of our history through records, letters, treaties, oral recordings, and photographs.