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date: 24 January 2020

Abstract and Keywords

“The Songs are Alive” recounts the digital repatriation of Frances Densmore’s audio recordings of Ojibwe/Anishinaabe songs that were originally made on wax cylinders in the first decade of the twentieth century and are held by the Library of Congress. Powell, a digital humanities scholar at the University of Pennsylvania, discusses the process of creating a database that converted a huge digital file of undifferentiated songs into individual recordings given cultural context by Densmore’s remarkably detailed ethnographic descriptions. Jaakola, the director of the Ojibwemowining Center at Fond du Lac Tribal and Community College, writes about bringing the songs back to life by carefully circulating them through the community, identifying culturally sensitive songs, and making new recordings of the songs deemed suitable for the public by working with elders and youth. The songs are now being used by Ojibwe communities in the Great Lakes region for cultural and language revitalization as well as in Minnesota public schools.

Keywords: digital humanities, curriculum development, Ojibwe, Anishinaabe, music, traditional knowledge, Minnesota, digital repatriation, wax cylinder, Ojibwe values

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