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Dissertation Information for Ruth Elaine Bayhylle

- Ruth Elaine Bayhylle

- Ph.D.

- Library and Information Science

- University of California, Los Angeles (USA) (2011)

- Anne Gilliland-Swetland

- Virginia A. Walter
- Clara M. Chu
- Nancy Reifel
- Ellen Pearlstein

MPACT Status: Fully Complete

Title: Tribal Archives: A Study in Records, Memory and Power

Abstract: The purpose of the dissertation was to problematize the discursive practices of determining what a Tribal Archives is and how it can represent not only the institutional memory of a community but how it also represents the collective memory of the community as well. It also seeks to know who the memory keepers are in a community, how memory is managed and what power structures exist that guide the process.

Historically the study of collective memory tended to isolate memory and memories rather than placing them together with one another and with society as a whole. The result is that memory is very often seen as an operation of political power within a society or the result of some social action. We see representations of memory in the literature as the politics of memory or the politics of identity represented in the archives often to the exclusion of the social and we are the poorer for it because we fail to see power in areas that are not normally politically evident.

The research analyzed some of the ways in which theory and practice of the archival profession can be made more inclusive and sensitive to the needs and memory keeping practices of under-represented communities such as the Native American archival community. I explored these issues at the Tribal Archives for the Seneca Nation of Indians located on the Allegany Reservation in Salamanca, New York. The literature surrounding the nature of records suggests that they are the natural, organic by-products of their creator's actions, but if a community of actors does not always create records in written form, how then does one go about discovering the nature of those transactions? In order to truly interpret and articulate records, particularly records that are kept orally, we must first change the ways in which we think about the nature of archives.

Using a case study approach involving observation and document analysis and Grounded Theory and the Transformative Interpretive Paradigm, I challenged certain archival concepts and issues by proposing research questions that might stimulate Native archival communities to explore these ideas for themselves. How does the Tribe or community view the nature and role of the Archives within its community? What does the community consider a record? What is the warrant for record keeping? Who are the record keepers? How is memory created, constructed and preserved? What are the issues of trust or areas of tension?

The results of the study show that the intersectionality of collective memory, the record and power are dependent upon an understanding that power is not a fixed entity nor is it an institution or structure. It is neither domination over someone or domination over something, nor is it a certain strength we are endowed with but rather it is the result of individuals or groups interacting with each other and creating a social space for people, things, and objects and the nature of reality to be established.

MPACT Scores for Ruth Elaine Bayhylle

A = 0
C = 0
A+C = 0
T = 0
G = 0
W = 0
TD = 0
TA = 0
calculated 2012-07-28 15:11:24

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Students under Ruth Elaine Bayhylle

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