Jennifer Jenkins was awarded a grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities for her project to repurpose midcentury non-Hollywood educational films about Native peoples of the Southwest. Jenkins, who has taught courses in American Literature and Film, the Humanities of the Americas, Southwest and Border Studies, Mexican Cinema, and Film History and Theory at the undergraduate level, has been awarded a three-year NEH Humanities Collections and Reference Resources grant totaling nearly $291,000, toward a $455,294 project.
The project is based on the American Indian Film Gallery (AIFG), a collection of mid-20th century films that Dr. Jenkins brought to the UA in 2011. The 60 films in this project represent 11 cultural groups and two ancestral cultures in the U.S. Southwest and date from the mid-1940s to the late-1960s.
“The value of the AIFG films lies in their quite remarkable visual images of Native life in the mid-20th century, but that value is tempered by the films’ audio expression of mainstream understandings of indigeneity in that period, often narrated by an authoritative male ‘voice of god.’ This project will return the knowledge source and authority to Native communities,” said Jenkins.