Assistant Cultural Collections Manager, Cultural Preservation Department, Spokane Tribe of Indians
I am Gena Peone, member of the Spokane Tribe of Indians. I am currently the Assistant Cultural Collections Manager for my tribe, responsible for the preservation of our material culture, archaeological, and archival materials. I am also a candidate for the MLIS degree from San Jose State University with a focus in Management, Digitization, and Preservation of Cultural Heritage and Records.
My job is in cultural preservation. Traditional language is increasingly incorporated in our preservation activities as part of the long term goal for language revitalization and resurgence of tribal identity. We have a collection of recordings of tribal elders telling stories, histories, and sharing traditional knowledge, both in English and the Spokan dialect. I also actively pursue remote collections of related audio and written materials that pertain to the Spokane Tribe in order to bring this information home to create a comprehensive collection of historical data to be analyzed and used by the tribe.
Audio recordings of elder speakers are valuable resources for those who are teachers of tribal history, of the language and for those who are engaged in cultural learning today. They help capture the knowledge and understanding of our elders who have passed. These recordings provide content and context for those who access them today. Inflection and tone, pauses and patterns are not translated to the written form of language, it is by hearing the way in which language is used that these qualities are preserved. At the same time, audio recordings are sensitive materials that are often threatened by conditions of storage, repeated use, and obsolescence of technology to read the data, among other factors. Through the HiPSTAS program, I want to learn about the current trends in audio preservation and the technology that is emerging that will facilitate future work with audio and visual recordings to ensure that our members have high quality, long term access to these recordings.