Powell, Timothy B

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Now showing 1 - 10 of 11
  • Publication
    A Drum Speaks: Partnership to Create a Digital Archive Based on Traditional Ojibwe Systems of Knowledge
    (2007-01-01) Powell, Timothy B
    I want to take back, as an ambassador to my people [the Ojibwe], that new lesson I learned [at the Penn Museum (UPM)], we no longer have to be afraid of having pictures taken because they don’t steal the spirit of what’s being taken. They can invigorate and enliven and inspire knowledge and wisdom and learning … Digital imaging is a new thing … that can [bring to life these Ojibwe artifacts] for our kids and our generation … We’re going to digitally image some of the things and take them back to our people … All of these things . . .
  • Publication
    Digital Repatriation in the Field of Indigenous Anthropology
    (2011-10-01) Powell, Timothy B
    As the term “digital repatriation” gains wider circulation, it has come under increased scrutiny and criticism. At the 2010 AAA Annual Meeting in New Orleans, Kim Christen convened an Executive Program Committee session entitled “After the Return: Digital Repatriation and the Circulation of Indigenous Knowledge.” Despite abundant examples of how digital technology creates opportunities for working in partnership with indigenous communities, questions focused on the inadequacies of the term “digital repatriation.” Panelist Chip Colwell-Chanthaphonh (Denver Museum of Nature and Science) stated the problem most succinctly by recounting that the Native communities he worked with always wanted to know if “digital repatriation” meant that they were going to get the original materials back. The answer, of course, was no.
  • Publication
    Steering a Course Set by Thomas Jefferson: New Developments in the Native American Collections at the American Philosophical Society
    (2015-09-01) Powell, Timothy B
    As the director of Native American projects for the past 7 years, I have been watching distinguished scholars give talks like this one from the back row of the upper balcony. One of the things I noticed is that almost everyone, from Nobel Prize winners to astrophysicists, begins his or her talk by admitting how intimidating it is to speak to such a distinguished audience. And I can certainly second that emotion here today. So as I was writing the talk, I was trying to imagine a way to calm my anxiety and I came up with a highly questionable solution. What if, I imagined, I were talking to Thomas Jefferson? It would, no offense, make the American Philosophical Society (APS) audience seem tame by comparison. So I began by asking: How would I explain myself to Jefferson, who started the Native American collection in the late 18th century when he served simultaneously as the president of the United States and the president of the APS? Oh, yeah—I’m feeling calmer now!
  • Publication
    How to Buy a Continent: The Protocols of Indian Treaties as Developed by Benjamin Franklin and Other Members of the American Philosophical Society
    (2015-09-01) Wallace, Anthony F C; Powell, Timothy B
    In 1743, when Benjamin Franklin announced the formation of an American Philosophical Society for the Promotion of Useful Knowledge, it was important for the citizens of Pennsylvania to know more about their American Indian neighbors. Beyond a slice of land around Philadelphia, three quarters of the province were still occupied by the Delaware and several other Indian tribes, loosely gathered under the wing of an Indian confederacy known as the Six Nations. Relations with the Six Nations and their allies were being peacefully conducted in a series of so-called “Indian Treaties” that dealt with the fur trade, threats of war with France, settlement of grievances, and the purchase of land.
  • Publication
    The American Philosophical Society Protocols for the Treatment of Indigenous Materials
    (2014-12-01) Powell, Timothy B
    The APS Protocols have played an important role in helping the Society build stronger ties to the indigenous communities whose cultural materials are housed in the library. Beginning in 2008, the APS implemented a Digital Knowledge Sharing (DKS) initiative that established partnerships with four indigenous communities in the United States and Canada. The DKS program brought teams of Native American elders, teachers, and scholars to the APS. The teams selected materials for digitization that would strengthen ongoing language preservation and cultural revitalization projects in their communities. During the course of this process, indigenous community members helpfully identified archival materials considered to be culturally sensitive. Although the APS will keep with its tradition of allowing open access to collections (except for those accepted into the collection with restrictions), material designated by indigenous communities as culturally sensitive may not be photographed or otherwise reproduced without express permission from the communities of origin, a policy especially designed to keep sensitive material from circulating on the Internet. It is a compromise that respects the traditions of the APS and our current and future Native American partners.
  • Publication
    Building Bridges Between Archives and Indian Communities
    (2010-01-01) Powell, Timothy B
    The APS has a long, distinguished history of preserving Native American languages. It began when Thomas Jefferson was the President of the Society in the late eighteenth century. A new chapter in this history was written this past May at the “Building Bridges between Archives and Indian Communities” conference—the first time in more than two hundred years that a large number of Native Americans have been invited to the Library to reconnect with their heritage. It was my great privilege to organize the conference. As Larry Aitken, tribal historian from the Leech Lake band of Ojibwe, who performed the Sacred Pipe ceremony that began the conference, said, “It is good that the APS invited us here, opened their doors and their books so that we can bring these things back to life.”
  • Publication
    Introduction to The Singing Bird: A Cherokee Novel
    (2007-01-01) Powell, Timothy B
    John Milton Oskison was a mixed-blood Cherokee known for his writing and his activism on behalf of Indian causes. The Singing Bird, never before published, is quite possibly the first historical novel written by a Cherokee. Set in the 1840s and '50s, when conflict erupted between the Eastern and Western Cherokees after their removal to Indian Territory, The Singing Bird relates the adventures and tangled relationships of missionaries to the Cherokees, including the promiscuous, selfish Ellen, the "Singing Bird" of the title. The fictional characters mingle with such historical figures as Sequoyah and Sam Houston, embedding the novel in actual events. The Singing Bird is a vivid account of the Cherokees' genius for survival and celebrates Native American cultural complexity and revitalization. Jace Weaver is the author of Other Words: American Indian Literature, Law, and Culture and That the People Might Live: Native American Literatures and Native American Community. Timothy B. Powell is author of Ruthless Democracy: A Multicultural Interpretation of the American Renaissance. John Milton Oskison (1874-1947) was a distinguished New York editor and published five books, including Tecumseh and His Times. Melinda Smith Mullikin is a former media editor for The New Georgia Encyclopedia. (Key Words: Cherokee Indians, American Indians, Native Americans, Fiction, John Milton Oskison, Melinda Smith Mullikin, Timothy B. Powell, Jace Weaver).
  • Publication
    Toni Morrison: The Struggle to Depict the Black Figure on the White Page
    (1990) Powell, Timothy B
    This problem of how to represent the black self on the white page, how to overcome the inherent ethnocentrism of the Western literary tradition, is one with which both the critic and the novelist of Afro-American literature must struggle to come to terms. As Gates points out, it is a tradition which dates all the way back to Plato's metaphor of the soul -of a white horse which is described as a "follower of true glory" and another, "of a dark color," which in turn attempts to lead the soul "to do terrible and unlawful deeds." For those who are able to control the dark horse and allow the white one to lead the way, Plato promises a vision of the soul which goes on to "live in light always," whereas those charioteers who cannot control the black horse are condemned "to go down again to darkness," to a life below the earth.
  • Publication
    A Digital Partnership: Penn Museum and Ojibwe Tribal Historians
    (2007-02-12) Powell, Timothy B; Aitken, Larry
    In January 2007, the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) awarded a grant to the Penn Museum in collaboration with tribal historians and language teachers from the White Earth, Leech Lake, and Fond du Lac bands of the Ojibwe Nation in northern Minnesota. This partnership—entitled Gi Bugadin-a-maa Goom (Ojibwe: “To Sanction, to Give Authority, to Bring to Life”)—offers an exciting glimpse into how digital technology can be utilized to benefit the Museum and Ojibwe communities on equal terms.
  • Publication
    Digital Knowledge Sharing: Forging Partnerships Between Scholars, Archives, and Indigenous Communities
    (2016-01-01) Powell, Timothy B
    The article reviews a digital repatriation project carried out by the Center for Native American and Indigenous Research at the American Philosophical Society over the course of eight years (2008-present). The project focused on building digital archives in four indigenous communities: Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians, Penobscot Nation, Tuscarora Nation, and Ojibwe communities in both the United States and Canada. The article features insights from traditional knowledge keepers who helped to create a new system of co-stewarding the APS’ indigenous archival materials and recounts how the APS established protocols for cultural sensitivity. A new model of community-based scholarship is proposed to create a more equal and respectful relationship between indigenous communities, scholars, and archives.