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Brexit and Europe from the perspective of a citizen of nowhere | Richard Seymour on Patreon
A brisker way to put this is that capital can't be a citizen of nowhere, because it is loyal to what exists. The name for ‘nowhere’ used to be utopia, literally a non-place. To be a citizen of nowhere is to be a utopian, to have loyalties to a country that doesn't yet exist. And it may be the only space from which the apparent choice between Europeanism and racist nationalism is apprehensible as a double-bind.
Europe  identity  mythology  history  migration  borders  Frontex  refugees  Mediterranean  Turkey  Brexit  Leave  Islamophobia  UK  politics  territory  capitalism  dctagged  dc:creator=SeymourRichard 
8 weeks ago by petej
The Passamaquoddy Reclaim Their Culture Through Digital Repatriation | The New Yorker
In 1890, just months before the murder of some hundred and fifty Lakota Indians at Wounded Knee, a mustachioed anthropologist named Jesse Walter Fewkes dragged a state-of-the-art Edison phonograph to Passamaquoddy country. This was during the height of “salvage anthropology,” an attempt to document the many tribes that were being massacred into extinction, and Fewkes had received funding to study the Hopi and Zuni people, in the American Southwest. Before journeying there, he decided to practice recording on the “remnants of the Passamaquoddy.” The wife of the local Indian agent, who served as a liaison with the U.S. government, recruited members of the tribe to sing and speak at Fewkes’s request. For several days, they projected their voices into the giant metal cone of what Fewkes called Mister Phonograph. They told folk stories and performed songs and chants. They watched as a crank-powered needle inscribed thirty-six brown wax cylinders with the sounds....

The recordings were historic: the first sounds ever captured in the field. But, for the next century, they were held by Harvard’s Peabody Museum, and lost to the tribe. At least one wax cylinder included portions of a funeral ceremony that was intended to be heard only within the community but was made available to the public. Others registered facts about Passamaquoddy commerce and geography that might have been helpful to the tribal government. All of the wax cylinders contained precious audio of people’s grandmothers and grandfathers, in a language that was becoming more endangered with each passing year. In 1980, the American Folklife Center at the Library of Congress, which had obtained custody of Fewkes’s catalogue, sent cassette-tape transfers of the recordings to the tribe. These tapes arrived at a fateful time. For decades, tribal members had suffered extreme poverty, seen their language banned by the Catholic priests and nuns who oversaw the reservations, and lost their kids to the child-welfare system. But the Passamaquoddy and a sister nation, the Penobscot, propelled by the radicalism of the American Indian Movement, had just won federal recognition and litigated an unprecedented case against the State of Maine for its seizure of Native territory... Far-flung members of the tribe were drawn back to the reservations, where their children could learn Passamaquoddy in school and sing traditional songs. The wax-cylinder copies were staticky and difficult to make out, but a few elders recognized sounds from their childhood....

Today, a renewed spirit of indigenous activism, exemplified by the Standing Rock protests, in 2016, coincides with yet another homecoming for the Passamaquoddy wax cylinders. Audio engineers at the Library of Congress are using new technologies to convert all thirty-one surviving recordings into a much cleaner digital format, and, in a Native-first approach to archival work, the library is giving the tribe curatorial control. Soctomah is part of a team that is translating the audio and deciding which songs and stories the Library of Congress should make available to the public; whatever is sacred or private will be kept out of view. Tribal members, on the other hand, will have full online access, thanks to a content-management system designed for the community. According to the Library of Congress, this is the federal government’s most ambitious attempt at a practice known as digital repatriation....

In the past year, he has joined Soctomah in the task of transcribing the wax-cylinder recordings. Their process is to listen to one digital file at a time, second by second, mining it for phrases, musical elements, and cultural context. Each file is just two or three minutes long but can demand weeks, even months, of attention....

In 1978, the Standing Rock Sioux writer Vine Deloria, Jr., criticized this system, arguing that Native people had a “right to know” their past and take charge of their heritage. His vision was partially fulfilled in 1990, through the Native American Graves Protection and Repatriation Act, which required museums and libraries receiving U.S. federal funds to return Native art, human remains, and religious and funerary objects to indigenous communities. Yet the law made no provision for other objects, including photographs, maps, oral histories, films, and audio recordings....

In 2006, a group of nineteen archivists, librarians, curators, historians, and anthropologists gathered in Arizona to draft a set of best practices for dealing with such materials—an effort to repair what one researcher described to me as our “colonial collecting endeavor.” The resulting guidelines, known as the Protocols for Native American Archival Materials, encouraged holding institutions to open a dialogue with indigenous representatives, to eliminate “outdated, inaccurate, derogatory, or Eurocentric language” in catalogues, and, most controversially, to seek “clearance from Native American communities before accessing sensitive materials.” When the drafters sought an endorsement from the Society of American Archivists (S.A.A.), a battle ensued. Many S.A.A. members thought that it was wrong to prioritize the needs of a small group: If Native communities were given veto power, wouldn’t other minorities demand the same? One librarian called the Protocols “incompatible with our basic professional tenets of open and equitable access to information.”...

The idea of enlightened archival work might seem esoteric in the sobering context of indigenous peoples’ history. Yet the loss of culture is its own form of structural violence.... There was a time I thought, Who will take over all of this?” he said. “It isn’t just language preservation or cultural preservation; it’s people preservation.” Newell felt heartened by the recent ceremonial-days festival, and also by the return of the wax cylinders.
land  territory  archives  preservation  indigenous  repatriation  decolonization  colonialism 
11 weeks ago by shannon_mattern

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