Circles of Story Circles

Eurocentric history has been used "to suppress the ways of knowing, and the languages for knowing, of many different indigenous peoples. Reclaiming a voice in this context has also been about reclaiming, reconnecting and reordering those ways of knowing."  

Linda Tuhiwai Smith, Decolonizing Methodologies (1999)


Since the 1930s, Eurocentric documentary filmmaking has exploited the supposed “transparency” of photographic representation to naturalize bourgeois values, economic interests and political view, reinforcing the erroneous idea of homogenous white, middle class nations. From their privileged position of power within Western societies, Eurocentric documentarians have created timeless depictions of non-Western cultures that either romanticize or demonize them and then opposed these stereotypical representations to their bourgeois view of subjectivity, which they set as a standard of normalcy. Currently, documentarians from around the globe are increasingly rejecting this type of Eurocentric white-supremacist discourses, crafting counter-narratives that highlight the multiplicity of cultural realities inhabiting any given society. Yet, this new trend in documentary filmmaking tends to disregard Indigenous epistemologies in its storytelling approach and employment of stylistic conventions. Additionally, when developing stories about Native cultures, contemporary documentarians, who are still predominantly white and middle class, very rarely establish meaningful and lasting relationships with members of these communities, leading to a widespread misrepresentation of Indigenous peoples.

In this project, I intend to address these deficiencies by providing Native American peoples who cannot afford to pay distribution and exhibition costs with an online multimedia platform to showcase their audiovisual stories. Specifically, Circles of Story Circles aims to reclaim the disregarded histories, experiences and ways of knowing of Native Americans, hopefully contributing to their struggle for self-determination. This online multimedia project offers an accessible yet rigorous model for implementing Indigenous research methodologies by Native Americans, who will contribute to determine the project’s content and methodological approach for the dissemination of their histories and cultural knowledges. 

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