Please use this identifier to cite or link to this item: http://hdl.handle.net/10125/42023

Reigniting the Many Voices of a Communal Bison Hunt in Virtual Reality

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Title: Reigniting the Many Voices of a Communal Bison Hunt in Virtual Reality
Authors: Running Wolf, Michael
Running Wolf, Caroline
Issue Date: 03 Mar 2017
Description: A major challenge to language and culture revitalization is geographic dispersal, as over 60% of Native Americans do not live on their language communities’ reservations. Immersive environments in Virtual Reality (VR) bridge this distance for those Native Americans who can’t readily sit down with a tribal elder. We are grassroots language activists who are combining VR technology with GIS data, film, and 3D imaging to create rich, interactive experiences for language, history, and culture teachings. Our pilot project focuses on buffalo jumps and the buffalo culture. Our culturally relevant software centers on a sacred site in Montana, the Madison Buffalo Jump. Now it is a popular recreational park. For millennia, this was a shared hunting ground for dozens of Indigenous nations. Before the horse and rifle, buffalo jumps served as the center of tribal nourishment. Though communal bison hunts are not practiced in this form anymore, there is great reverence for these sacred sites by all tribes in Montana. Each tribe has a unique perspective on communal bison hunts, and our software demonstrates this with the support of our partners. The VR experience shares culture teachings, traditional environmental knowledge, and Indigenous botanical science from various tribal nations of Montana in multilingual scenes. This presentation will demonstrate how we are using advanced 3D gaming technology, consumer mobile devices, and the voices of tribal elders to recreate an exhilarating communal bison hunt in Virtual Reality. We will also outline our non-exploitive data-collection process under consideration of the 6 R’s: Respect, Relevance, Relationality, Responsibility, Reciprocity, and Representation. Tribal communities shaped our VR software to foster knowledge sovereignty and ownership by our collaborators. We believe this is just the first step in delivering language and cultural material on a compelling and technologically advanced platform. Our VR experience not only contributes to the respectful preservation of American Indian cultures, languages, and oral histories, but also reintroduces tribal histories, knowledge, and perspectives to the public, and helps preservation efforts at the Madison Buffalo Jump State Park.
URI/DOI: http://hdl.handle.net/10125/42023
Appears in Collections:5th International Conference on Language Documentation and Conservation (ICLDC)



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