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Tuesday, September 19 • 13:30 - 14:00
Asx̂alakan ayulakan ting as tin ukuux̂tin. IRENE Restores Unangam Tunuu (Attuan) Songs

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Four acetate/lacquer coated records found their way into the Oral History Collection at the University of Alaska Fairbanks. Recorded by anthropologist Verne Ray in 1945, they were labelled Aleut (Attu). Realizing that playing these records could actually destroy them, we partnered with the Northeast Document Conservation Center. Using the IRENE system, a new technology developed by the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratories and tested at the Library of Congress, the system takes ultra-high resolution photographs of the grooves on discs or cylinders and then software translates the images into sound, all without touching the object’s fragile grooves.
After restoring and digitizing the records, we discovered that they were indeed in the Attuan dialect of Unangam Tunuu, the most poorly documented Unangam dialect and one that is no longer spoken.
Working Mr. Dirks, with a speaker of a similar dialect, he translated one of the songs into English. The singers on the recordings identified themselves as husband and wife. Mr. Dirks had personally known them and led us to one of their children.
This paper will address the importance of archivists, linguists and native speakers working together to discover the context, meaning, and significance of these rare recordings. The urgency of preservation of early anthropologic records will be stressed as many of the media used are now disintegrating. And finally the ethnical, legal and intellectual management of these rare recordings will be discussed.

avatar for Jacqueline Arb

Jacqueline Arb

Director, Norwegian Institute of Recorded Sound
Past President, International Association of Sound and Audiovisual Archives

avatar for Leslie McCartney

Leslie McCartney

Curator of Oral History, University of Alaska Fairbanks
For the last almost twenty years, Leslie McCartney has conducted and led oral history and other projects in the Canadian sub-arctic, Alaska, England and Ireland all of which involved the archiving of audio/visual recordings.

Tuesday September 19, 2017 13:30 - 14:00 CEST
Ethnologisches Museum, Room 1 (Auditorium, off the Lower Foyer) Lansstraße 8, Berlin, Germany