Kahnawà:ke Oral History Project
Written by Jeremy Zafran on July 22, 2021
A Kahnawà:ke Oral History Project is being developed, a collaboration with The Mohawk Council of Kahnawà:ke (MCK) and the professional historical research firm Know History (KHI) to gather, record, and share life stories and oral histories of Kahnawà:ke elders. The Project Manager is Gerald Taiaiake Alfred:
“If people want to do a history of Kahnawà:ke or anytime somebody comes here or tries to look online and tries to get a picture of what happened in this place and to our people, they’re always relying on written sources and most of those sources have been written by non-Native people.”
The company, KHI, has worked alongside Indigenous nations from across the country and has to date completed many projects in collaboration with Indigenous communities including more than 250 traditional knowledge and oral history interviews. Skylee-Storm Hogan joined in as well on the Partyline Talkshow today on K1037:
“We’re noticing some similar themes, or similar topics even some of the same stories but from different perspectives coming from elders and what we’re going to do is summarize all of those interviews, Gerald is going to have them transcribed and what we’ll do is we’ll separate them into edited themes or vignettes, we’ll also have like ‘tags’ available and things like that so they’re easily searchable for someone who wants to find those things. So, if you’re interested in daily life or occupations or even like political movements or pre-history, those types of things will be tagged, so if you search for that specifically, what information will pop-up will be relevant to that search.”
The Project is designed to preserve and present an essential part of the cultural heritage of Kahnawà:ke to community youth who are in danger of losing the knowledge, wisdom, and sources of identity that are contained in the life stories and our elders’ remembrances of families, the land and of community life.