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*REVISED* project proposal

meerajay's picture

(This entire thing was first written as an email to Jody so it's not in very formal project proposal-type language! Just a disclaimer)

Ok, so it's a little late for revisions.

But I've been reconsidering how I want to structure and display my final project. I feel like though the interactive part (about assimilation and people answering questions on index cards) would still be an effective addition,  but I've been having second thoughts about the main, complex visual portion. Especially lately, I've been thinking I want to emphasize the "art" in Arts of Resistance, because in "normal" academia I so rarely get the chance to do that. I was having a conversation with Madison today and it sparked an idea for changes that I could make. 
So, I now have this wealth of knowledge from doing research on the Carlisle prison experience alongside Native American incarceration today. I have an understanding of the way that history has repeated itself and has affected the present in so many ways. To give a few examples: capital punishment being used in the boarding schools, the trauma from assimilation, the use of former prison barracks as dorms for the school. I also have a lot of photographs, scanned from the books and also from online. Many of these pictures are of Native Americans posing, or of them "before and after" assimilation, etc. There are also many of the students posing in large groups outside of the boarding school dorms, which look sinisterly like prison barracks. Since these do not outwardly show the trauma that happened in these schools, and the trauma is shown in more subtle ways, how can I use history to give them a voice? 
Here is a struggle, because I do not want to appropriate their voices by imposing certain narratives on them. But I do want to expose the truths that I have researched, especially about trauma. 
What I am thinking now is that I want to get some of these (probably 3-4) pictures printed in poster size, and then I want to use a black marker to write poetry directly onto them. It does not have to be long poetry, but it could be complex and more freely interpreted. I have some choices with the poetry; I can use the voices of actual incarcerated folks by taking some of the poetry that they have written and writing it on these pictures (and then crediting them obviously). Or I can write my own, from what I have read and researched about. The first option would mean placing the quotes of CURRENT incarcerated individuals onto the photos from the PAST, blurring the line between past and present... It would reflect a lot of what I have come to understand about the way history repeats itself. 
The pictures would have a visual flow to them even if it would not be a flowchart like I planned earlier. Then, on the side, there could be a short explanation of what has been done; I could explicitly state some of the issues facing Native Americans today and their high incarceration rates, and talk about Carlisle as well. Overall, it would be raising understanding of Native American incarceration as I had previously planned.
Beside that, there would still be the interactive portion about traumatic assimilation; it ties in pretty nicely, I think.
I figure, why hold myself back from venturing more into the artistic?


meerajay's picture

Also, my budget would be about the same as before! Just wanted to add that. (Because I would still need the printed posters as my main component, and then the corkboard + index cards)