Tribal Elder Hears Grandfather's Voice in Archived Songs

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    Judi Lynn
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    A set of wax phonograph cylinders.
    PHOTO FROM THE ARCHIVES OF TRADITIONAL MUSIC/INDIANA UNIVERSITY

    Researchers at Indiana University have been digitally preserving recordings of Native American songs made on fragile wax cylinders more than 100 years ago.

    BY MARY ANNETTE PEMBER
    5 MIN READDEC 23, 2019

    Alvin Schuster could scarcely believe his ears. He was hearing the voice of an ancestor whom he’d never met but whose legacy was a constant guiding presence in his life.

    Schuster, 75, listened with wonder to the restored recording of his grandfather, Louis Mann—made more than 100 years ago.

    And although his grandfather died before he was born, Schuster was raised hearing stories of his courage as a fighter for the rights of the Yakama people. That legacy influenced and guided Schuster’s life as a leader in local and national Native education. “It made me so happy to hear his voice; growing up, I knew him only by word of mouth,” Schuster says.

    The recording was originally made in 1909 by photographer Edward Curtis. Although well-known for his photographs of Native Americans, Curtis also created several recordings of Native people on wax cylinders.

    More:
    https://www.yesmagazine.org/social-justice/2019/12/23/songs-native-american-preserve/?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+yes%2Fmost-recent-articles+%28YES%21+Magazine+Most+Recent+Articles%29

    Information on the man who recorded the voices of Native American people in 1909, Edward Curtis:

    Edward Curtis’ Epic Project to Photograph Native Americans
    His 20-volume masterwork was hailed as “the most ambitious enterprise in publishing since the production of the King James Bible”

    https://www.smithsonianmag.com/history/edward-curtis-epic-project-to-photograph-native-americans-162523282/

    Many wonderful images in The Edward S. Curtis Gallery:

    https://www.edwardscurtis.com/

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