This week has been very fruitful. We’ve been settling more framework questions, but also starting to move into the actual gathering, and creating that will get us to the final expression of the project.
Ramona Peters joined our last team meeting. Ramona, who has graciously agreed to collaborate with us on the project, is a Mashpee Wampanoag tribal member who served as the Tribal Historic Preservation Officer and now focuses on the work of the Native Land Conservancy, an organization she founded 10 years ago focused on putting as much Wampanoag land in trust. Ramona is considered a Firekeeper—a keeper of traditions within the tribe and also has extensive experience managing the complicated relationship between scholarship, institutional frameworks, and Indigenous world views. Her initial feedback on our project framework and wireframes included an important reminder that our language must be as accessible as possible to truly make the project successful. Overall, her encouragement and excitement about the work served as an important reminder that this project will be of longer term use and service.
For my part, I worked to fine tune some aspects of the project flow in Click Up that the team created together, created templates to guide research capture, wrote a budget to account for the $200 available via CUNY, gathered design inspiration to inform Estefany’s work on the visual identity, and started researching our activists. While visiting the National Park Service’s outpost in New Bedford on Sunday, I, by chance, encountered a mention of Mary J. “Polly” Johnson’s heritage as mixed Native and Black. Based on her place of birth and maiden name I feel confident she is Wampanoag, but will need to do a little digging to verify this. Besides being well respected abolitionists and confectioners (!), she and her husband hosted Frederick Douglas when he first captured his freedom. This discovery amplified my excitement about what else may be brought into the light through the work we are doing.
Regarding data management, I am thankful for Zelda’s expertise and longview. Their design has captured some of the key questions we have: who has access, how do we ensure perpetual availability and usability of the data, and what tools in particular are needed to make that happen. Data management conversations are the most likely to remind you of the precarious legs that DH projects can stand on, and to be honest, I have been considering in what ways to bring these stories, this data, into the real world to make it perhaps more accessible for some but also tied to a lived experience.