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November 12, 2008

New Oral History Book

Filed under: Books, Resources — debbie.miller@mnhs.org @ 4:06 pm

Mentioned at the October researchers meeting, and now out:

The American Indian Oral History Manual: Making Many Voices Heard

by Charles E. Trimble (Lakota), Barbara W. Sommer, Mary Kay Quinlan
Walnut Creek, Calif.: Left Coast Press, Oct. 2008
160 pages; $22.95 paper
(25% discount on web orders through November 16)

Oral history is a widespread and well-developed research method in many fields, but the conduct of oral histories of and by American Indian peoples has unique issues and concerns that are too rarely addressed. This essential guide begins by differentiating between the practice of oral history and the ancient oral traditions of Indian cultures, detailing ethical and legal parameters, and addressing the different motivations for and uses of oral histories in tribal, community, and academic settings. Within that crucial context, the authors provide a practical, step-by-step guide to project planning, equipment and budgets, and the conduct and processing of interviews, followed by a set of examples from a variety of successful projects, key forms ready for duplication, and the Oral History Association Evaluation Guidelines. This vital manual will be the go-to text for everyone involved with oral history related to American Indians.

“This is an excellent guide and sourcebook for anyone conducting oral history projects in Native American and Alaska Native contexts. The guide is equally helpful for those working in villages, reservations, and heterogeneous schools. Although written with the Lower 48 in mind, the book’s suggestions and information are relevant throughout North America. The writing is good and clear, the organization helpful, the suggestions right on point. The section on intellectual copyright is a particularly valuable contribution to the literature. The guide is both timely and timeless: its treatment of the ever-changing realm of recording equipment, which wisely references Internet resources, will remain useful for many years to come.”

-Patricia H. Partnow, Ph.D.
Vice President of Cultural and Educational Services
Alaska Native Heritage Center

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