From the First Beginning: the iPad and a Native Tradition of Innovation


kalifornskyTuesday, May 7
12:00 PM – 1:00 PM
Virginia Foundation for the Humanities
145 Ednam Drive
Charlottesville, VA  22903    
A complimentary lunch will be provided.

VFH Fellow Katherine McNamara will present her interactive digital archive of the late Alaskan writer Peter Kalifornsky’s thoughts and manuscripts with a demonstration built on the iPad.

Kalifornsky, who brought his ancient oral language into writing, portrayed his people, the old Dena’ina, as innovators who enjoyed being the first to learn a new thing, then pass it on to their neighbors. During the 1980s, McNamara served as Kalifornsky’s amanuensis, the one to whom he told the “back story” of his writings.

In her presentation, McNamara uses text, audio files, and visual materials on a touch-based digital platform to present Kalifornsky’s stories. She illustrates how the iPad can be an instrument for scholars, small publishers, or tribal groups who wish to present texts and songs in recordings controlled by their own elders and scholars for language and cultural renewal.

For more information, contact Ann White Spencer,

Katherine McNamaraKatherine McNamara is the author of Narrow Road to the Deep North, a Journey into the Interior of Alaska (2001) and, with Peter Kalifornsky, of the archival manuscript From the First Beginning, When the Animals Were Talking. She is the publisher of Archipelago Publishers, Inc., and its new imprint Artist’s Proof Editions