Composing as Culturing

An American Indian Approach to Digital Ethics

Authored by: Kristin L. Arola

Handbook of Writing, Literacies, and Education in Digital Cultures

Print publication date:  August  2017
Online publication date:  August  2017

Print ISBN: 9781138206304
eBook ISBN: 9781315465258
Adobe ISBN:


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While I’ve always known that there is a right way and wrong way when it comes to writing, particularly when it comes to issues of plagiarism, I can’t say I ever thought much about the idea of cheating in craft. To me, if someone could show me a finished product—say a knitted scarf, beaded earrings, or a hand-sewn skirt—the finer points of how they actually constructed the text didn’t occur, or matter much, to me. This all changed when I took part in a number of events surrounding the Spirit of the Harvest powwow—an autumn powwow sponsored by my alma mater and my mother’s tribe, the Keweenaw Bay Indian Community. The two-day event includes a speaker series and workshops for the undergraduate students involved in the powwow. As part of this event, I attended a regalia making workshop where elders teach students involved in the American Indian student group methods for crafting powwow regalia. While my mother had been involved in the cultural life of her tribe for years, for a variety of complicated reasons it was something I hadn’t yet paid much attention to.

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