Digital Collections

Lock my spirit in a picture!

Posted on: November 3, 2008

One of my classmates is compiling a digital collection of her life utilizing various pictures.   As I continue to research obstacles for indigenous cultures in digitizing their archives, I came upon a change in the Absentee Shawnee Tribe with regard to pictures of ones life.   (I am a full blooded member of this tribe.)  

I do not have any pictures of myself until I began grade school.  My parents were older and lived the traditions and practices handed down to them orally from generation to generation.  One of the firm beliefs was not to allow pictures to be taken of themselves and, especially, not their children.   Their belief was that pictures captured ones spirit and sucked the life out of the actual person.  I have noticed this belief has changed as the generation following me adopted the practice of taking baby pictures each  month of a child’s life.

This is one of the many obstacles in developing an archive with American Indian Tribes.  There are many beliefs still practiced and who determines which one’s are applicable in developing policy and procedure for preservation?   Who makes the decision as to which ones will be utilized for tribal member access versus public access?


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  • Little Axe: Your welcome.
  • Little Axe: Well, hope it has useful information in one place.
  • Little Axe: I forgot where I got that information. I know it compiles a lot of references and relevant topics for my paper. Glad you found it interesting! :D
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