Fixing the Books: Secrecy, Literacy, and Perfectibility in Indigenous New Mexico
Erin Debenport, Assistant Professor of Ethnology, Department of Anthropology, University of New Mexico
Colloquium, SAR Boardroom
Wednesday, June 24, 2015, 12:00–1:00 pm, Free
Using ethnolinguistic examples from over ten years of fieldwork at a New Mexico Pueblo, Dr. Debenport traces the history of tribally-directed indigenous language literacy used as part of local language revitalization efforts. Choosing to write an indigenous language is especially controversial in Pueblo settings where there is great emphasis placed on controlling access to cultural knowledge and materials. Following the negotiations behind the creation of a tribal alphabet, community dictionary, and the eventual end of this community experiment with Native language literacy, Debenport connects her findings to theories of secrecy and indirectness, perfectibility and refinement, and indigenous subjectivities in Pueblo and other contexts.