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Title: A Brief (Media) History of the Indigenous Future
Authors: Lewis, Jason Edwards
Issue Date: 5-Jul-2016
Series/Report no.: Practices: Differential Sites;08.11.2015 Session 8A
Abstract: I​ndigenous people have been subject to willful misrepresentation via Western media technologies since the first written accounts returned to Europe from the conquistadores and colonists in the 15th century. Paul Kane used oil paint, Edward Curtis used still photography, and John Ford used the motion picture to promote their own particular vision of what they thought Indigenous were and to shape the imaginations of generations of settlers. Contemporary media such as movies, television, and videogames often advance a similar vision of what Tsimshian/Haida scholar Marcia Crosby calls the “Imaginary Indian”, or the Indian as Westerners would like her to be rather than the Indian as she is. This paper will provide a brief history of research and practice in media arts that have investigated a different sort of imaginary, that of Indigenous people themselves and how we see ourselves in the future seven, ten or twenty generations from now. I will discuss the work we have undertaken in the Aboriginal Territories in Cyberspace research network developing the concept of the Indigenous Future Imaginary and how we use digital media to illustrate and enact these visions. I will also look at work that has been produced at research­creation centres such as the Banff New Media Institute, the Aboriginal History Media Arts Lab, the Centre for Indigenous Media Arts, and the Making Culture Lab that has focused on digital media production by and for Indigenous communities.
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