Monday, March 6, 2017

Blog Seven - Indian Country: Telling a Story in a Digital Age

This book offers a new perspective on storytelling as we know it. Two different angles are presented. One is how the digital shift has changed storytelling and the other is how it impacted Native American communities (and journalism). It was an interesting read with insight from many Native American journalists' personal viewpoints. Most of them agree that the Native American culture with respect to the digital world has increased the distribution of such stories and had a positive impact on the culture itself.

For years, Native Americans have told stories through words, art, medicine, and more. However, the book explains how, now, these stories are extended into the digital world. While many of these stories were simply shared communally, now such discussions can take place within Native communities or non-Native communities. This allows for the spread of such stories like never before. These stories are even offered a way into mainstream media. The authors make clear in the introduction that the Native American population is incredibly underrepresented and overlooked as a minority. I enjoyed reading how the rise of digital storytelling has helped this group of people gain access to a larger, more secular platform to share their experiences and their stories. I believe this helps incredibly when negating stereotypes that plague Native communities.

Politics play a roll in the Native communities as well. I found it interesting when the authors discuss how important it was to Native Americans in 2008 for President Obama to be reelected. They explain how they felt like relations with other Americans had improved, along with the improvement of gaming relations, under his first term. It is amazing how digital media allowed for this discussion to take place. Previously, this group may not have had such a loud voice in an election.

Another pertinent discussion was the renaming of the Washington Redskins. Many conversations were had about the situation among Native Americans, and trending subjects and hashtags were created and shared repeatedly. Here is another example of how a minority group could come together in solidarity to discuss something that may have marginalized their ethic group.

The existence of the Digital Age is helping to circulate stories on a bigger stage for all of the world to see. What I gained most from this book was an understanding of how important digital tools have become in storytelling - especially for Native Americans. This made me think about how other minority groups use social and digital media to share stories and experiences that have the potential to enrich others' understanding of such groups.

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