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Mountain Chief, Chief of Montana Blackfeet, in Native Dress With Bow, Arrows, and Lance, Listening to Song Being Played On Phonograph and Interpreting It in Sign Language to Frances Densmore, Ethnologist, March 1916, by Harris & Ewing, Smithsonian National Anthropological Archives

One of the ways Recovering Voices seeks to connect communities to collections is through distinct products for communities with whom research staff and affiliates are engaged with. These materials are designed with and for communities to either make research results legible, and/or help with revitalization efforts. A core aspect of Recovering Voices is to develop community specific and appropriate ways to convey project related information and to engage the communities we work with. 

Papua New Guinea

In 1922 the Australian assistant government anthropologist F.E. Williams spent 8 months in the Purari Delta in the territory of Papua [Papua New Guinea]. In addition to producing the first monograph about the region (The natives of the Purari Delta, 1924), he took numerous photographs which are now mostly found in the National Archives of Australia in Canberra, Australia. These images document rituals, material culture and ways of life that are now primarily in the memories of a dwindling group of elders. Pulling all known photographs by Williams together, along with his sketches and maps, this book is attempt to re-foreground this heritage for communities. Organized thematically, each section has a short framing introduction and all of Williams' captions have been reproduced. The book is in I'ai and English. The target audience for this publication is regional elementary schools in the Purari Delta where the vernacular Purari is taught.

Becoming aware of the possibilities that books are misplaced and too easily become private property, Bell and Ke'a also created two posters for the schools in the Purari Delta. Working with illustrator Alexis Demetriades, the first focused on I’ai terms of the sago palm (Metroxylon sagu). A central facet of communities’ subsistence and material culture, local knowledge of the palm is fading as people increase their consumption of commodities. The poster charts out the local names for different portions of the palm. The second poster focused on the sago palm baskets, a ubiquitous aspect of material culture. Documenting basic elements of the making of these baskets, the poster also presents different designs which invoke totemic relationships and stories. 

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