The Indigeneity lab was founded in the spring of 2021 as a new opportunity for undergraduates to robustly collaborate with both Native and non-Native faculty on several inter-related cross-disciplinary research projects in the sciences and humanities. They include:
Indigenize Milwaukee Mapping Project
The first project combines historical research and digital humanities tools to create an interactive virtual map of the greater Milwaukee area that will return and transform the many spaces and places of Milwaukee into an Indigenous space and place. This map takes present-day locations to illustrate their Indigenous roots, as well as their continued shaping by Milwaukee’s Indigenous community today. While in the formative stages, the students, with their faculty mentor, have identified 136 spaces and places in Milwaukee to be “Indigenized” and in multifaceted, multi-medium ways. The effort foregrounds the knowledge that even before it was named, the city of Milwaukee has been and continues to be home to a vibrant community of Indigenous Peoples from throughout North America.
Native American Boarding Schools in Context
The intention of the second project, Native American Boarding Schools in Context, is to bring awareness and context to the extensive Bureau of Catholic Indians Missions records in Marquette Library’s special collections. The hope is that the website Indigeneity Lab website will inform and create an entry point for the Marquette University community as well as Indigenous communities and outside scholars. The student research is illuminating the rather obscure and rarely used archives related to Catholic boarding schools and is setting the foundation for a digital site that will explore those schools and Indigenous student experiences. This project speaks to the various ways in which Marquette University continues to reckon with its own historical relationship with Indigenous peoples and knowledge production of shared Catholic and Indigenous relationships and histories.
Wild Rice Initiative
The third project intertwines and involves the revitalization (and hopeful reintroduction) of wild rice in the Menomonee River Valley in the heart of Milwaukee. Several undergraduate students are working to determine the viability and sustainability of this biological study, while others developed a more rooted understanding of the cultural, historical, political, and spiritual importance of wild rice to Wisconsin tribal nations. This initiative requires a unique holistic approach and innovative interdisciplinarity between arts, culture, and sciences.