Digital Storytelling

Digital resources that involve the public, advance research, energise teaching, and drive knowledge exchange, built in partnership with the UK’s foremost research software engineers.

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Kinetic Map: Movement and Common Worlds in Early America

Associated Project: Brightening the Covenant Chain

Funder: Arts and Humanities Research Council

Partner: King’s Digital Lab; Northeast Native Research Collaborative; Georgian Papers Programme

Built in collaboration with King’s Digital Lab, this sequential, dynamic and interactive animation reveals how the treaty process drove the transformation of the Northeast American political and intercultural landscape over 230 years. With layers based on twenty historic maps of the American Northeast, the Map showcases the permeable boundaries and spaces of Indigenous-colonial interaction, traditional routes of movement, and the development of new transportation infrastructure.

It illustrates how geography shaped diplomacy, settlement and exchange, and highlights the fundamental role of rivers and waterways in the power dynamics of the Northeast. Integrating key treaties and archives with the latest research on movement in the region, the Map brings the common worlds of the Northeast alive. 

Immersive Soundscape: Voices from the Edge of the Woods

Associated Project: Brightening the Covenant Chain

Funder: Arts and Humanities Research Council

Partners: Johnson Hall Historic Site | North American Native Museum Zurich

People: Thanyehténhas / Nathan Brinklow (Turtle Clan, Tyendinaga Mohawks of the Quinte Region). Academic Profile | Not Defeated

Producer and Recordist: Dr Hein Schoer

This Soundscape brings alive the centrality of language and sound to diplomacy between the Haudenosaunee and representatives of the British Crown. What precedes any interaction are the ‘words that come before all else’ – the greeting at the wood’s edge in which Haudenosaunee speakers give thanks and recite their connection to all of creation, welcome the opposite delegation, and symbolically cleanse their bodies in preparation for a full and equal exchange around the council fire. 

This Soundscape, recorded at Johnson Hall Historic Site in present-day New York, recreates Haudenosaunee Council oratory in Kanyen’kéha – the traditional Mohawk language and in Cayuga. It showcases the skills of Thanyehténhas Nathan Brinklow, Queen’s University‘s Indigenous Orator and Ken Maracle, Faithkeeper of the Lower Cayuga Longhouse, Six Nations of the Grand River, Ontario, Canada. It revitalizes elements of Council oratory, speech and song frequently omitted in British transcriptions of treaty councils. 

The Soundscape will be available on this website and is planned for exhibition within the Sound Chamber at the Nordamerika Native Museum (Zurich), Johnson Hall Historic Site and at the British Library.

Zooniverse Platform: Mapscapes: Revealing Indigenous Placenames in the American Northeast

Associated Project: Brightening the Covenant Chain

Mapscapes is a new digital initiative hosted on the Zooniverse platform that invites volunteers to recover the Indigenous cultural geography of the American Northeast. Using a range of historic sources, volunteers first find, then locate, and finally position the names the Haudenosaunee and other Indigenous nations used to denote the villages, towns, and significant places within their homelands. 

Many Indigenous place names have been obscured or deliberately erased from public memory, but some still survive in old maps and reports. Through the combined efforts of researchers and members of the public, we pull together these disparate sources of information to create a unique map of the American Northeast filled only with the place names used by Indigenous communities. 

Mapscapes is the first digital map of the earliest recorded Indigenous place names of the Northeast. It is accessible to volunteers of all ages and technical backgrounds and is Open Access.  It is a free, people-powered learning tool for students and teachers of Indigenous history that will fascinate every resident of the Northeast.

Data Visualisation: Cherokee Riverkeepers

Associated Project: Native Ecologies

Funder: British Academy

Partners: The Digital Humanities Institute, University of Sheffield

People: Professor Gregory Smithers

Cherokee Riverkeepers is a data visualisation that showcases the work of Treatied Spaces British Academy Global Professor Gregory Smithers. It focuses on Cherokee language, naming practices and storytelling to centre waterscapes in Cherokee history.

Spanning 12,000 years of human history, the website uses an interactive map, story maps and historical and contemporary photography to asks some fundamental questions about Cherokee and environmental history.

How did/do mountain rivers and their tributaries begin life? What larger environmental roles do free-flowing streams play in mountain watersheds? How did language and storytelling help Cherokee people navigate and give meaning to landscapes and waterscapes? And how have Indigenous relationships with Southern Appalachia’s waterways changed over time?

Research Programmes

Diplomacy and Treaties

International collaboration revealing globally significant cultures of diplomacy between the Crown, the Haudenosaunee and their neighbours in North America.

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Resource Use and Environmental Futures

New research on the roots of American Republican environmentalism and pipeline history, and a vision for Canada’s green future.

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Digital Storytelling

Digital resources that involve the public, advance research, energise teaching, and drive knowledge exchange, built in partnership with the UK’s foremost research software engineers.

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Political Ecologies

Timely interventions that examine the power relations between Indigenous actors and the world’s most pressing environmental challenges.

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Globalising Archives, Museums, and Heritage Sites

Connecting significant national collections with their global Indigenous histories.

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New Treatied Spaces

Projects in development

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