PROJECT: Unsettling Colonial Mapping: Sonic-Spatial Representations of amiskwaciw√Ęskahikan

Kateryna Barnes and Kendra Cowley (University of Alberta) have developed “Unsettling Colonial Mapping: Sonic-Spatial Representations of amiskwaciw√Ęskahikan,” a digital project exploring sonic landscapes of the University of Alberta. You can listen on Soundcloud here.

This map is a sonic exploration and representation of the North Campus of the University of Alberta. Campus has a long history as Native Land, be it as a traditional meeting place for diverse Indigenous peoples (Cree, Blackfoot, M√©tis, Nakota Sioux, Dene, Saulteaux/Anishinaabe, Inuit, Haudenosaunee and many others) on the banks of the kisiskńĀciwani-sńępiy (North Saskatchewan River), as a Papaschase settlement, or as the homestead of M√©tis leader Laurent Garneau.  All of this was long before the University‚Äôs founding in 1908.

With this digital experiment, it is the project owners’ goal to detail spacetime aurally on this land where we learn, grow, and imagine, with a focus on Indigeneity, gender and sacred ecology. To hear the stories of the Land and its people reimagines mapping as a potentially decolonial praxis where boundaries aren’t lines on a map at a specific place in time drawn by the powers that be.

This project may be of interest to DH librarians who are interested in how our work can contribute to furthering social justice, particularly in relation to exploring the relationship of campuses to indigenous communities. The audio that was produced is also an example of how sound-based projects can contribute to the digital humanities.