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Q&A: “Revitalization at a distance: Engaging digital archives for language reclamation” -- A Virtual Discussion with Claire Bowern

Extended answers from Claire Bowern (CB), panelist from “Relationships, Reciprocity, and Responsibilities: Indigenous Studies in Archives and Beyond,” panel 6: Engaging Digital Archives to Meet Indigenous Communities Priorities (Click here to watch)

Question: Do you think version control of data and metadata would be a useful software feature in Mukurtu and archive websites? (Kavon Hooshiar)     
CB: I think that would be very useful in theory, though there's always the question of how much more additionally complex it might make the software (which is already quite complex).

Question: Do the panelists see consent as an event or an ongoing process? (Anonymous)    
CB: It's definitely an ongoing process for the work we do, as the nature of the work changes and we all learn more, it's reasonable that opinions may change. This work is a partnership, not one person deciding what gets to happen with initial input.

Question: How do you define the communities you work with? The communities themselves are not homogenous, so how do you identify the people you work with and call "the community"? (Taylor Hummel)
CB: In the grammar bootcamp cases, we work with representatives who are recognised as authorities on language. Regional language centres typically have local boards, who represent their language groups, and language centres typically consult widely (and are much more able to do so appropriately). The bootcamp projects use and acknowledge their views. 

Question: As part of your projects, are you digitizing or working with material that are only for the community that will not be of open access. And if so, how are you planning on doing this? (Luz Maria Mejia Ramos)
CB: Some of the bootcamp grammars are "public" in the sense that they will be published as open access grammars, while others are only for the communities and we expect that the language centre and language representatives will distribute them locally.