Linda Tuhiwai Smith
A De-colonized Database
Looking at Smith’s text causes us to contemplate where we center ourselves when we begin to conduct research. That is, who and what are the sources that we trust to provide us with information we are seeking? Smith discusses how terms and definitions, specifically as it relates to Indigenous peoples, can become problematic. This is the result of a variety of factors, some of which include, who is or decides to become the “authority” on a given matter, and the often “default” Western lens from which research “starts.”
This made me think of a terminology/dictionary/encyclopedia-like database that allows the user to re-center themselves or deliberately choose the context from where they will get their information:
- A matrix that indicates where the information came from, how it was collected, how it relates to similar areas of research or where overlapping may occur; present points of contention on a given term.
- This could help take away the tendency to generalize and lump peoples together, especially peoples who have been marginalized.
- As a firm believer in oppressed peoples reclaiming language that has been used to oppress them, this type of project could allow contributors to dictate, re-define, and become more instrumental in how these terms should be used.