Digital Project Pitch: Indigenizing Historical Thinking

The final project for this semester will generally revolve around the creation of a tool that expounds upon a topic in a way that allows for the application of historical thinking. Here, I will provide a rough outline of what my final project will cover and how I am currently envisioning its execution.

topic

I have been running through several topics for this. At first I wanted to create something pertaining to the study of Genocide, perhaps a collection of resources and an analysis of the concept of genocide with sections demonstrating its applicability. However, I decided I could not develop a presentation of this topic in a way that satisfied the learning outcomes of this particular class. Furthermore, I realized I could expand on this topic by delving not into the topic itself, but by detailing how to broach this topic.

Therefore, I have decided to make my final project a foray into Indigenizing historical thinking. In other words, how can Indigenous Ways of Knowing and Indigenous methodologies be employed to reshape how we understanding historical thinking and how this reshaping can be used to encourage the outcomes we seek when training others to think historically.

Project presentation & Details

To present my digital project, I will create a website using either WordPress or Omeka as a platform to host my content. The website will be divided into sections that explore different facets of Indigenous research methods and approaches to studying history. These will primarily be essay-type content, but could utilize visual components to accompany the information being presented. This project will also include a section dedicated to a more in-depth investigation into a topic, an example of a more direct application of these methods to be discussed.

Furthermore, I envision creating some assessment activities that can be used for assignments/practices for in-class work for students. The other content will also be constructed in a way that could be turned into mini-lesson plans for an appropriate type of curriculum.

Audience

Right now, I am thinking of two audiences in mind for this project. The first is professional and student researchers. This is a desired audience of mine because research is the foundation with which historical thinking is based upon. Without a research question or topic to do research on, there are no stable grounds to begin the process of “doing” history. Researchers are the premiere questioners. And these questioners are often given instruction on how to begin their investigations and how to start interpreting this evidence. But my concern for them is that they will lack the multiple viewpoints we strive to observe when it comes to historical thinking–not in the sense of using multiple viewpoints to inform their research, but the lack of multiple viewpoints on how to do that very research.

The second audience will be teachers, primarily college instructors, but also high school teachers. The content and activities to be housed within this site will prove to be useful for educators as it offer the materials necessary to incorporate Indigenous methods into lesson plans and expand the overall utility of a curriculum through diversity of thought.

source material

A number of the sections will, as previously mentioned, likely utilize items to accompany the information. The investigative section into a particular topic will also do the same. This will involve examining primary sources such as letters, newspapers, and perhaps even oral histories. These posts will also include a large amount of secondary sources.

The activities I am planning will utilize primary source documents to offer exercises in practicing historical thinking while also introducing Indigenous interpretations of the documents. For example, historical documents such as treaties or even ledger artwork created by American Indians could serve as the document to be studied.

incorporating historical thinking

The goal of this project is to introduce ways of understanding history through the lens of Indigenous Peoples. It will not only offer conventional ways of thinking about the past and the tools associated with the discipline of history as largely steeped in Western cultural frameworks, but also Indigenous methods of approaching history and understanding the sources to be used. Virtually every section will either question, critique, or add to the concept of historical thinking and how it can be implemented when studying history. The activities will provide practice for the target audience to engage with the ways being discussed and allow for them to both engage in the act of thinking historically while demonstrating a paradigm with different cultural values that can lead to novel interpretation and the fostering of a different relationship between the researcher (or teacher) and the history they are familiar with.

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Kyle

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