Tlingit Dance on Camera, cultural resiliency through video documentation
2020, Dance Documention Project in Sitka, Alaska
in partnership with the Sheet'ka Kwaan and Naa Kahidi Dancers of Sitka, Alaska
supported by Mellon Public Scholars Fellowship
Tlingit songs and dances were not allowed to be performed in public for generations, yet they have survived and are thriving. How can Tlingit embodied knowledge be digitized in a way that is accountable and accessible to the community? With the support of the Mellon Public Scholars Foundation I will collaborate with the Sheet’ka Kwaan / Naa Kahidi Dance Groups in Sitka, Alaska to video document Tlingit song and dance to create a digital knowledge source for preservation, education, and creative innovation. This project will attend to consent, intellectual property, and employ my own method of documentation that includes embodied camera work, drawing, and audio recordings of songs and interviews. My professional experience as a filmmaker specialising in dance documentation, my academic path as a PhD student in Native American Studies, and my community commitment as a Tlingit descendent has prepared me for this project.