A word on Preserving the Past Together Seminar

On a cold but sunny Thursday afternoon, I sat upon a wood bench within a beautiful wooden conference space at the Intellectual House on the campus of UW. That afternoon there was the Preserving the Past Together seminar. This work shop focused on the collaboration of heritage in the Salish Sea. As the panelists discussed various topics of collaboration, my thoughts and notes centered on two ideas that came up. One was the hesitance felt by many native communities and elders in sharing key knowledge about certain sites. The second involved the simple yet largely overlooked idea of coming to the archives, the teachers, and the elders of native communities when looking for information. These two topics can come at odds when researchers, developers, and politicians finally come looking for information but are stopped by communities that do not wish to share their knowledge. As said by a member of the panel, “how do you protect something you can’t talk about?” These ideas stuck in my mind as I contemplated the two sides to the topic. But as the panelists continued it became clear that no matter what work that goes on between the tribes and the State, etc. there needs to be mutual understanding and respect for one another if cooperation and collaboration are to happen. In an expanding world, certain knowledge needs to be shared in order to keep avoidable destruction from happening, but we must also stop assuming what we know and spend time and share knowledge with the tribes themselves.

The seminar will continue with three more workshops targeted at working together to keep the past. The next one will be held, February 16, 2017   12:30-2:30pm I look forward to what comes from this as well as the rest of the workshops.

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