The Confederated Tribes of Warm Springs and a pair of University of Oregon programs have been awarded an Oregon Heritage grant for a pilot project that will preserve 40 hours of existing tribal sound recordings.
The recordings – which will be chosen on the basis of cultural value and preservation risk – include documentation of cultural practices, tribal languages, council meetings and public events. All are considered useful to tribal members and organizations, but are currently inaccessible because they were created with recording technology that has become nearly obsolete. The recordings are in danger of being lost because they are recorded on unstable media.
The $10,200 grant from the Oregon Heritage Commission – a program of the state Parks and Recreation Department – will be used jointly by the Confederated Tribes of Warm Springs Cultural and Heritage Language Department, the UO Libraries and the UO-based Oregon Folklife Network.
The Folklife Network– which replaced a similar program that operated within the Oregon Historical Society before being discontinued in 2009 – launched from its new hub at the University of Oregon in Fall 2010. Its mission includes documenting, sustaining and promoting Oregon’s historic and contemporary cultural heritage.
Work to be completed under the Warm Springs Audio Preservation Projectgrant began in June and will continue through next May.
A preservation workstation will be installed, and UO Librarian Nathan Georgitis will train an archivist from the Warm Springs tribe in preservation techniques during a one-week recording project. Georgitis will assist in the digitization of 15 hours of sound recordings, then the newly-trained Warm Springs archivist will consult with the UO librarian while continuing to perserve another 25 hours of recordings.
The Warm Springs Culture and Heritage Language Department will work with tribal members and organizations to determine policies of access to the preserved recordings.