Debbie Cutler
School of Visual Studies

Linking Indigenous People’s Knowledge to the World

Mark Palmer and Joseph Erb work to help save indigenous language and art, while introducing it to the world.

There are many schools and departments across the College of Arts and Science that have researchers delving into studies of and research with indigenous peoples – including the departments of Geography, English, Religious Studies, Sociology, the School of Visual Studies, and many more.

There are collections of indigenous works, databases and peer-review journal articles written by professors and graduate students; there are indigenous majors, minors, and certificates; there are Mizzou researchers who strive to work with these peoples to free them from the pains of their pasts, save their languages and customs, and aid their communities.

So, it is not unusual to run across the likes of Mark Palmer who works in the Department of Geography. He explores indigenous story-mapping in New Zealand and is the principal investigator for a National Science Foundation-funded project on indigenous virtual realities in central Mexico. He is also a member of the Kiowa Indian Tribe of Oklahoma.

Or Joseph Erb, in the School of Visual Studies, who is from the Cherokee Nation located in Oklahoma and is a digital media artist and storyteller, using both to help indigenous peoples.

Each has their own goals, own stories to tell, own reach into their communities and the world. Each is motivated to embrace their culture, to live and learn from their pasts and present, and create a better life for those both like and unlike them.