CSUMC News

"Native American Language Revitalization in Wisconsin: The Case of Menominee" Talk by Monica Macaulay, February 10, 12-1, 254 Van Hise

02/09/2015

Please join us this Tuesday for Monica Macaulay's talk on her work with the Menominee on language revitalization, from noon to 1 pm in Van Hise 254.  The talk is part of the series "Language Matters: Language, Power, Equity and Justice." This public brownbag is sponsored by the Language Institute, the Department of Linguistics, the Center for the Study of Upper Midwestern Cultures, the Department of Anthropology and the American Indian Studies Program.

"Pennsylvania Dutch in the Public Eye," Talk by Mark Louden, January 29, 12-1, 254 Van Hise

01/14/2015

Pennsylvania Dutch is a North American language that developed from the migration of German speakers to eighteenth-century Pennsylvania. Though it resembles southwestern German dialects, it is not mutually intelligible with standard German. Until the twentieth century, most active speakers of Pennsylvania Dutch were residents of rural Pennsylvania known as the "Fancy Dutch." A minority of speakers were members of conservative Amish and Mennonite groups known collectively as the "Plain People." Today, the language is no longer actively spoken by most Fancy Dutch, but among the Plain sectarians Pennsylvania Dutch is thriving. Due to high birth rates and low attrition, the number of speakers is doubling every twenty years, an exceptional situation for an American minority language that is supported neither institutionally nor through continued migration from abroad.

Already in the 1700s outsiders began to take note of the Pennsylvania Dutch and formed a negative view of their language as an unnatural mixture of German and English. This stereotype endures, though Pennsylvania Dutch is gradually becoming recognized as a language in its own right. In this presentation I will share some of my experiences as an interpreter and cultural mediator between Pennsylvania Dutch speakers and outsiders, especially in the legal and health care systems. All Pennsylvania Dutch are bilingual, yet their proficiency in English varies, as does their comfort level in discussing certain matters relating to their faith and lifestyle in English. While the sociolinguistic situation of the Pennsylvania Dutch resembles that of non-English-speaking immigrants to some extent, there are a number of important differences that we will consider.

Sponsored by the University of Wisconsin-Madison Language Institute, Department of German, and the Center for the Study of Upper Midwestern Cultures.

Ojibwe Winter Lodge Opening Ceremony January 14 at Lac du Flambeau Indian Reservation

01/06/2015

The Ojibwe Winter Lodge Project—an
intergenerational, traditional arts project—will be celebrated with a public
dedication ceremony on Wednesday, January 14, at 12:00 pm, at YMCA Camp
Nawakwa, on the Lac du Flambeau Indian Reservation
The project
has been supported by the Wisconsin Humanities Council, the Lac du Flambeau
Ojibwe Language Program, the ENVISION Program, the Lac du Flambeau Public
School, UW-Madison’s Collaborative Center for Health Equity (CCHE), the Native
American Center for Health Professions, the Department of Comparative
Literature and Folklore Studies (CLFS), and the Center for the Study of Upper
Midwestern Cultures.

 

This traditional winter lodge style has
not been built in Lac du Flambeau in a very long time.  This
ingenious structure features peat-moss insulated walls, a radiant-heat floor
made of large river rocks, and an underground air-intake to provide oxygen for
a fire made of birchbark rolls.  This design averts several major
problems with other traditional wintertime dwellings.  It minimizes
smoke in the living quarters, as only a small fire is necessary to sustain even
heating after the underground stones are warmed.  It does not pull
cold air directly into the living quarters to provide oxygen for the fire,
instead drawing oxygen directly into the fire pit through an underground
duct.  The heated floor also resolves the problem of discomfort when
trying to sleep on cold earth at night.

 

The Winter Lodge was constructed by
master Ojibwe artist Wayne Valliere—an Ojibwe language teacher at the Lac du
Flambeau Public School.  Valliere is an accomplished Ojibwe artist,
having dedicated his life to the learning and teaching of traditional
arts.  A recent winner of the First People’s Fund Community Spirit
Award, Valliere has placed his artwork in venues such as the Museum of the
American Indian and the Evergreen Longhouse.  He is also an accomplished
birchbark canoe builder and the founder of the annual Ojibwe Winter
Games.  He was assisted by his apprentice, Lawrence Mann, and
supporting UW personnel, including Tim Frandy (CCHE), Thomas DuBois (CLFS), and
Colin Connors (CLFS).  According to CLFS professor Tom DuBois, the
project fits well with the ideals of public humanities and engaged
research.  “We are helping create and document an artwork that not
only celebrates but sustains Ojibwe culture in our state.”

 

Students in Lac du Flambeau’s ENVISION
program also assisted with the lodge’s historic
construction.  ENVISION uses Ojibwe methodologies, pedagogies, and
teachings to meet the needs of students in a culturally responsive
way.  Students learned not only about the lodge’s construction techniques
and the lodge’s historical importance, but also about the degree of scientific
and technological sophistication that their ancestors possessed.  The
students actively assisted UW folklorists in documenting the project, and they
will also participate in the curation of website detailing the lodge’s
construction.

 

Although the construction of the Winter
Lodge began only this fall, the harvesting of the natural materials—cedar bark,
birchbark, maple lodge poles, and more—began last June, when the bark was ready
to be peeled.  During the process of building the lodge, students
were actively working in the woods along their teachers and representatives
from UW-Madison, peeling cedar and birchbark, sewing together birch panels,
cutting maple saplings for the frame, digging the underground rock chamber, and
laying down nearly a ton of rocks into the subfloor.  “Not only are
they learning their culture, they are also getting lots of exercise from both
gathering the natural materials and building the structure,” says Wayne
Valliere.  “This is putting them on the path to good physical
health.”

 

Wayne Valliere sees the Winter Lodge
Project as a way to pass on Ojibwe heritage to a new generation of cultural
leaders.  His fascination with the art and ingenuity of his ancestors
has led to a lifelong passion to preserve and pass on the traditions of his
people.  “I’ve made my life about keeping our traditional ways, and
bringing back our traditional ways, so that they will be a part of our tribe’s
life in coming generations.”  

 

The planned dedication ceremony is free
and open to the public. Members of the public will be able to view and enter
the heated winter lodge, meet its makers, and observe and participate in the
dedication ceremonies that celebrate its opening.  A traditional
feast will be served.

 

For further information, contact Carol
Amour, Community Outreach and Special Projects Coordinator for Lac du Flambeau
Public School at (715) 439-3978 or amourcarol@yahoo.com.

Oral History Association Annual Meeting

10/08/2014

The Oral History Association will be holding its annual conference in Madison this year, from October 8 through October 12.

Certain events are free and open to the public:

Oct. 8: “Uncivil Disobedience”/Memorial Union Theater/6:30-8:30p Performance will highlight the oral histories of thunderous events in the Vietnam-era anti-war movement, including the 1970 bombing of UW–Madison’s Sterling Hall.

Oct. 10: “Private Violence” Documentary screening/Madison Public Library/7:30-9:30p Private Violence, an HBO documentary that premiered at the Sundance Film Festival, intimately reveals the stories of two women: Deanna Walters and Kit Gruelle. This feature-length documentary film explores a simple, but deeply disturbing fact of American life: the most dangerous place for a woman in America can be her own home.

Oct. 11: Best Practices Teacher Workshop/Concourse Room Capitol B/9:00a-noon Three-hour teacher workshop will focus on best practices for 4-12 grade educators. **Please note this event has limited space and availability**

Oct. 11: Community Showcase/Concourse Hotel/1:30-4:30p Nearly two dozen oral historians and history groups will display the results of their projects and talk to guests and attendees about oral history in general and their projects in particular.

Oct: 11: Richard Davis Oral History Interview/Concourse Hotel/7:30-9p Legendary jazzman and UW–Madison music faculty member Richard Davis will sit down and be interviewed; the oral history will eventually reside at UW–Madison Archives’ oral history collection.

Wiigwaasi-Jiimaan: These Canoes Carry Culture--Birch Bark Canoe Launch Nov. 21, 2013 at 3 p.m.

11/15/2013

The intergenerational, intercultural, environmental arts project Wiigwaasi-Jiimaan: These Canoes Carry
Culture
will reach its completion with a public canoe launching, Thursday,
November 21, 2013, at 3:00 pm, at the future site of the UW Alumni Park, on the
shores of Lake Mendota, beside the UW Memorial Union. 
The project has been supported by the
Windgate Foundation, the Wisconsin Humanities Council, The UW Office of the Vice
Provost and Chief Diversity Officer, the Brittingham Foundation, the
Collaborative Center for Health Equity, the Department of Art, the Department
of Comparative Literature and Folklore Studies, the American Indian Studies
Program, the Wunk Sheek student organization, the Center for the Study of Upper
Midwestern Cultures, Goodman Community Center and the ENVISION program of the Lac du Flambeau school
district.

 The innovative project brought Wayne Valliere (Mino-giizhig), of
the Lac du Flambeau Band of Lake Superior Chippewa Indians to the UW campus to
construct a traditional Ojibwe birchbark canoe, a tool and object of beauty
known in Ojibwe language as wiigwaasi-jiimaan. Mr. Valliere is an artist and
Ojibwe language and culture educator at Lac du Flambeau Public School on the
Lac du Flambeau Indian Reservation in northern Wisconsin. His residency in the
Art Department began in September, but the harvesting and preparations for the
canoe began as early as last spring.  The
canoe launching will represent the culmination of hundreds of hours of careful
preparation and work.

Central to the project was the involvement of youth from the Lac
du Flambeau Reservation as well as from the Goodman Community Center in
Madison. Students helped in the harvest and processing of the materials for the
canoe—white cedar, birch bark, spruce roots, and pine pitch—and assisted Mr.
Valliere and University of Wisconsin students and faculty in the canoe’s construction at the Wood Shop of
the University of Wisconsin Art Department, on the top floor of the Humanities
Building on the UW campus.

Tom Loeser, chair of the Art Department, was pivotal in planning
and realizing Mr. Valliere’s
work here in Madison. With the help of the Windgate Foundation, the Art
Department established a series to bring practicing artists to the
Wood/Furniture Shop to share their skills with department students and staff.
Mr. Valliere is one of ten such visitors brought to campus over the last
several years. Loeser states: “We see the residency as a way to highlight
alternative ways and understandings of materials and ways to generate
form.  Having visitors like Wayne on
campus enhances our curriculum by exposing students to novel ways of generating
objects, ways that they may not have encountered before.”  Both graduate and undergraduate art students
have participated in the harvesting and construction process.

Tim Frandy, outreach specialist at the UW Collaborative Center
for Health Equity has also been closely involved in the project from its
outset. According to Frandy: “This project brings the University and Native
community members together under the common cause of improving the health and
well-being of youth. Not only does the project offer the youth who are involved
a healthy dose of physical exercise, it also advances students’ cultural and social well-being.  It encourages them to participate in
activities that strengthen the traditional culture and sense of identity in
their communities.”

Students from the Goodman Community Center’s Seed to Table program have also
collaborated on the project. Seed to Table is an innovative education program
focusing on urban agriculture and culinary arts. As Keith Pollock of the
Goodman Community Center explains, the Seed to Table program focuses on natural
products and has a strong multicultural focus, making the birch bark canoe
project a natural interest. Goodman students will share in a traditional Ojibwe
feast prepared by the Lac du Flambeau students and teachers on the day of the
launch.

Students of the Department of Comparative Literature and Folklore
Studies (CLFS) have helped in the harvesting and construction of the canoe as
well.  They have also produced a film
record of the building process, sharing images and video with the public daily
on a Facebook page and website that they designed
(http://wiigwaasijiimaan.wordpress.com/). 
According to CLFS professor Tom DuBois, the project fits well with the
ideals of public humanities and engaged research.  “We are helping create and document an
artwork that not only celebrates but sustains Ojibwe culture in our
state. This canoe reminds us of the central importance of birch bark canoes of
this kind in the history of our region. 
But the project also demonstrates the vibrant Native cultural traditions
that are alive and well in our state today.” The website and Facebook page have
attracted thousands of visitors, some from as far away as Alaska, Australia,
Japan, and Finland, and reflect the UW’s ongoing commitment to humanistic research that reaches far beyond
the walls of the University’s
classrooms and facilities.

Wayne Valliere sees the canoe project as a way to pass on Ojibwe
heritage to a new generation.  Valliere
first began learning about canoe building from an Ojibwe elder when he was only
fourteen years old. His fascination with the art and ingenuity of his ancestors
led to a lifelong passion to preserve and pass on the traditions of his
people.  “I’ve made my life about keeping our
traditional ways, and bringing back our traditional ways, so that they will be
a part of our tribe’s life in
coming generations. “  At the same time,
Wayne has been eager to share his people’s traditions with the many people who visit the wood shop daily to
check on the progress of the canoe or who follow the process via the Internet.  As he notes: “A lot of people from a lot of
different cultures have helped on this canoe, and that is important.”

The planned launching is free and open to the public. Members of
the public will be able to view the canoe, meet its makers, and observe and
participate in the ceremonies that prepare it for its maiden voyage.

For further information, contact Tom Loeser (tloeser@wisc.edu) or
Tom DuBois (tadubois@wisc.edu).

New Affiliation with Mayrent Institute

07/24/2013

The UW–Madison Mayrent Institute for Yiddish Culture announces its new affiliation with the UW–Madison Center for the Study of Upper Midwest Cultures (CSUMC). The two units share a keen dedication to bringing together the popular, the vernacular, the scholarly, and to producing dynamic programming that engages communities both on and off campus. Like the Mayrent Institute (MI), CSUMC is dedicated to the active study, documentation, and dissemination of traditional folk culture through innovative research, collections development, programs, classes, partnerships, and projects. This transition to CSUMC allows the MI to honor its core mission of strengthening research and knowledge about Yiddish culture, music, and history while, at the same time, further contextualizing Yiddish culture within the broader frame of American and Midwestern vernacular practices. The Mayrent Institute would like to thank the Center for Jewish Studies for its hospitality over the last two years, which allowed for an important incubation within the university system. We look forward to future collaborations.

Language Matters for Wisconsin

01/21/2009

The Center for the Study of Upper Midwestern Cultures is pleased to announce that its sister organization, the Max Kade Institute for German-American Studies has received an Ira and Ineva Reilly Baldwin Wisconsin Idea Endowment grant for the project "Language Matters for Wisconsin." Thomas Purnell of UW-Madison's Linguistics Department and Eric Raimy of the English Department will lead this project, and work with community partners across Wisconsin to identify unique regional language features, hold public forums to address local language issues and concerns, map language and community details for community-linked Web sites, and produce a general-interest book exploring languages and dialects across the state.à This project builds on the highly successful "Wisconsin Englishes" project (csumc.wisc.edu/wep).

2008 Midwest Folklife Festival Aug. 23 and 24

10/01/2008

CSUMC is proud to be one of the sponsors of this stellar event at Folklore Village in Dodgeville, August 23 and 24. Featuring traditional artists, musicians, food demonstrations, activities for children and more, the 2008 Midwest Folklife Festival is free and offers the opportunity to meet many of the Upper Midwest 's cultural treasures. The festival runs from noon until 7 p.m. on both Saturday and Sunday.

Hosted by Folklore Village, the festival will include narrative sessions to probe more deeply into cultural traditions; training sessions for educators to learn how to interview and use traditional arts in their classrooms; demonstrations of various arts and foodways; as well as concerts by a variety of musical groups from Wisconsin, Iowa and Illinois.

For more information and directions, please go to: http://www.folklorevillage.org/t2/folklifefest.

CSUMC AWARDED PRIZE FOR ARCHIVING PROJECTS

10/01/2008

CSUMC has been selected as one of two recipients of the 2007 Brenda McCallum Prize from the American Folklore Society’s Archives and Libraries Section.  Honoring exceptional work dealing with folklife archives or the collection, organization, and management of ethnographic materials, the prize has been awarded annually since 1994 for noteworthy products or documented activities that provide education, techniques, or services to those who collect, organize, and preserve folklife materials, either on the individual or institutional level.

Janet C. Gilmore (Department of Landscape Architecture and the Folklore Program) and her archiving team won the prize for their survey report on the region’s wealth of public folklore archival collections, and their creation of a growing repository of detailed online collection guides that provide project histories and virtually organize the scattered yet rich documentary record.

The Survey of Public Folklore Collections in the Upper Midwest, 2005-2006 report, funded by the National Historical Publications and Records Commission, resulted from a survey of key public folk arts and folklife collections identified in Illinois, Iowa, Minnesota, Missouri, Wisconsin and the western Upper Peninsula of Michigan. Archivist Nicole Saylor visited repositories, inventoried collections, assessed conditions and accessibility, and prepared the draft report. A revised online version of the report will debut in 2008 on the CSUMC web site.

Since 2006, Janet Gilmore, Nicole Saylor, and Karen Baumann have overseen the publication of eighteen collection guides as “Public Folk Arts and Folklife Projects of the Upper Midwest” in the University of Wisconsin Digital Collections’ Archival Resources in Wisconsin: Descriptive Finding Aids (http://digicoll.library.wisc.edu/w/wiarchives/csumc.html). Developed with funding from the National Endowment for the Arts, these resources capture project histories and convey a comprehensive sense of the ethnographic documentation created from public folk arts projects conducted in the Upper Midwest from the 1970s on.  The online guides virtually organize collections that often are scattered over several repositories, and make the material much more accessible to scholars and the general public.

The South Georgia Folklife Project also received the 2007 McCallum Prize. A list of McCallum Prize recipients and brief statements of their research topics may be viewed at: http://www.afsnet.org/sections/archives/prize.cfm.

WISCONSIN ORAL HISTORY DAY TO BE CELEBRATED APRIL 14

04/07/2008

April 14, 2008 will mark the first Wisconsin Oral History Day, organized by the UW-Madison Oral History Program, a part of UW Archives and Records Management. The event will take place in Madison at the Pyle Center on the UW campus, April 14, from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. A morning workshop with UW oral historian Troy Reeves focuses on how to conduct oral history interviews. The cost of the workshop, with lunch, is $40. Afternoon sessions are free, and feature two talks: Doug Boyd of the University of Kentucky Libraries will speak about oral history in a digital environment, and Jennifer Abraham of Louisiana State University will speak on oral histories of Hurricanes Betsy and Katrina. In addition, two Round Tables will explore various oral history projects in the state. For a full description of the day’s schedule, please visit: http://www.slis.wisc.edu/continueed/oralhist




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