Returning language materials and archival records to speech communities
In addition to the Centre’s work to gather language material collections, train members on best-practice archival processes and data management and support PARADISEC, another important aspect of CoEDL operations, particularly for the Centre’s Archiving program, was efforts to support the repatriation and preservation of heritage language materials.
For many studies of language and culture until the late 20th Century, researchers would extract knowledge from a community without returning these treasured materials. CoEDL took a number of initiatives to amend past practices by working collaboratively with communities and making the outputs of these collaborations accessible. Sometimes, improving accessibility involved digitising information gathered during earlier research and repatriating these materials to communities. In other cases, CoEDL members developed resources to support the preservation of traditional knowledge and the passing of this knowledge to younger generations.
Read on to discover three projects CoEDL members participated in, including the repatriation of language recordings to communities in the Daly River region of Northern Australia, the digitisation of papers from an early twentieth-century ethnographer and a project to document and develop resources about kin and clan knowledge in the Nagovisi language.