Video in the Villages

Wired has an article about indigenous media production, based on the 13th Native American Film + Video Festival, organized by the National Museum of the American Indian (NMAI).

The emphasis of the article is on how indigenous media is being used as an organizational tool. This is nothing new for anthropologists, Terence Turner having written about the same phenomenon as early as 1992. This being an article from Wired, I’m surprised that there wasn’t more of a focus on online media. Obviously in many communities it is difficult to access online media, however, activists do often have access to the web and being able to download material and redistribute it offline seems like a reasonable next step (if it isn’t already being done). This is one of the premises of the v2v network. CurrentTV is also interesting, working like Digg in allowing users to vote on which material will get broadcast. Taiwanese Aborigines are already using online media quite extensively, with blog.ohaiya.com and the more wide ranging Docupark wiki also hosting some Aboriginal content.

For anthropologists wishing to teach Turner’s article the Video in the Villages collection is available from DER, and I see that the film festival website links to various distributors for each of the works they presented. The advantage of material screened at festivals and distributed in the US is that it will have English subtitles. The need for subtitling is a big barrier for indigenous activism that seeks to reach a wider audience. One option is dotsub.com which “provides free browser based tools that allow anyone to translate films from one language into countless other languages.”