Indigeneity, Videomaking, and the Future of the Ethnographic Archive
Just as the exploration of geographic areas such as the Amazon is economically extractive, an extractive logic has informed ethnographic image production from its inception. Travelers collect valuable records to fulfill the interests and needs of metropolitan publics, as well as to furnish their museums, libraries, and archives—often leaving indigenous subjects diminished by the experience of contact. The cooperative Video in the Villages (VNA) attempts to invert this extractive pattern through the repatriation of archival images to indigenous communities and the introduction of video technology for indigenous use. Focusing on the group’s inaugural video and several recent works made in collaboration between indigenous and non-indigenous filmmakers, this chapter traces the group’s attempt to rework the contact imaginary and re-orient the ethnographic archive to serve indigenous needs.
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