Along with a team from Eastern Washington University, Washington State University, and Maastricht University in the Netherlands, two UA faculty members are part of a $179,713 Landmarks Grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities entitled “Grand Coulee Dam — The Intersection of Modernity and Indigenous Cultures.” Co-PIs for the project are David Pietz, UNESCO Chair of Environmental History at the UA and Dorothy Zeisler-Vralsted, Political Science and International Affairs at Eastern Washington University. Lead faculty on the grant is Benedict (Ben) Colombi, associate professor of American Indian Studies.
The project will provide workshops during the summer of 2017 to two cohorts of teachers of grades 6-12. The workshops will explore how different social groups experience history – actual historical events and the memory of those events. More specifically, the project will unpack the history of Grand Coulee Dam as a landmark of contested narratives. One narrative celebrated the social, economic and cultural power of modernity. The other focused on the loss of indigenous cultural identities and practices. Participants will explore these historical dynamics in discussion with experts, site visits, and engagement with primary historical material including oral histories, art, song and photographs. The project’s goal is to equip teachers with unique and meaningful analytical frameworks to engage their humanities and social science students in conversations centered on how social groups experience and interpret transformative changes of the landscape.