AIFG wins NEH Grant for Tribesourcing

National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) Supports Native Narration of Midcentury Classroom Films

A University of Arizona project to repurpose midcentury non-Hollywood educational films about Native peoples of the Southwest has been awarded a three-year NEH Humanities Collections and Reference Resources grant totaling nearly $291,000, toward a $455,294 project.

Jennifer Jenkins, associate professor of English and affiliate faculty in American Indian Studies and the School of Information—all housed in the College of Social and Behavioral Sciences—heads the project, which is based on the American Indian Film Gallery (AIFG), a collection of mid-20th century films that she brought to the UA in 2011. Amy Fatzinger, assistant professor of American Indian Studies, will be coordinating educational outreach for the project.

The AIFG team will travel to Native communities in Arizona and New Mexico to record new narrations by tribal members for the digitized 16mm Kodachrome films. New audio files will be linked to the digitized films in an online streaming site. Viewers may choose narration in English, Spanish and Native languages, as well as the original audio track. Jenkins calls this process “tribesourcing.”

“Tribesourcing places historical materials with the peoples they represent in order to tell the untold or suppressed story. While these films were made under the auspices of the mainstream culture of the day, this project seeks to balance the historical record, shifting from external perceptions of Native peoples to the voices and knowledge of the peoples represented in the films.”