IDENTIFICATION OF KNOWLEDGEABLE ELDERS/INTERVIEWEES
Once a project has been selected and the goal or direction that you wish to pursue refined, knowledgeable people must be identified (note: this list may contain both elders and younger individuals). Interviewees should be chosen who potentially have the most to offer, given your chosen theme or direction. Once the names of interviewees are identified, they should be prioritized. Selection for participation should focus on an individual’s range of knowledge over a broad area or depth for a given site or subject. Individuals not able to participate in the initial phase of the project can become involved in later segments. Both men and women should be selected so as to provide an opportunity to collect a wide range of perspectives from varying age groups and socioeconomic backgrounds.
If interviewees will be selected that speak languages other than English, knowledgeable people capable of interpreting and transcribing tapes, from their native language into English, should also be identified. Many interviewees feel most comfortable in speaking in their native language or find that it is impossible to express particular concepts or ideas into English. Use of whichever language interviewees feel most comfortable in should be encouraged. Individuals capable of accurate language interpretation and transcription need to be identified. These individuals should also be prioritized as to their knowledge of the language, dialect, geographic area involved in interviews, potential biases
, and their availability.
DESIGN OF DATA RECORDING FORMS
Standardized recording forms should be designed prior to the commencement of the interview process. These forms should include an Oral History Information Form, Informant Biographical Data Form, Interview Consent Form, and a Cultural Resources Site Form (when applicable to project, use the Oregon SHPO site form). In addition, a summary index of all oral history tapes needs to be compiled for easy reference to area sites, appropriate transcripts
, and knowledgeable interviewees.
An Oral History Information Form
should include the following information: Tape number; date of interview; interviewee’s name and place of residence (age?); place of interview; name of interviewer, interpreter, and transcriber; language(s) spoken; geographic areas discussed during interview
, and the appropriate U.S.G.S. map # covering the areas discussed. In addition, information on tape length, quality, recording problems, content, and transcription priority should also be included. Original tape deposition should be listed. A Guideline for Completing the Oral History Information Form
is included here.
An Interviewee Biographical Data Form
should include useful information regarding the interviewee such as name, birth date, place of residence
, place of birth, occupation, parents names and place of birth, and, if applicable, subsistence use areas (i.e., general location for fishing, hunting areas, camps). This document will prove useful if you need to identify knowledgeable individuals to assist in future projects.
An Interview Consent Form
needs to be designed to insure that the interviewee understands the nature of your project. It is important that each interviewee participating in your project understands how his/her assistance will further the knowledge of your project area and how such information gathered will be used. Be sure that any legal requirements on the use of human subjects have been satisfied prior to beginning the interview process (i.e., Human Subject Protocol requirements are outlined for any federally funded project – be sure to check with applicable federal agency). Sample oral history forms for all types mentioned above can be found later in this guideline.
It is recommended that all interviewees
, interpreters, and transcribers be paid for their services. The interviewee should realize that their knowledge is considered valuable and their assistance is considered an essential ingredient of the project. An agreed upon wage should be determined for their services prior to the beginning of the interview process. The interview process should continue throughout all phases of your project. With this in mind, care needs to be taken during the initial phase to insure that recordings remain consistent with the standards of later recordings.
IMPORTANCE OF ORAL HISTORY INTERVIEWS
Oral history interviews can produce a range of products. After the creation of audio and/or videotapes, cultural data from each interview needs to be compiled and stored on various written forms. These forms provide researchers with a means to track cultural information to its original source; the oral interview. There are three key products paramount to an oral history interview or project. They are: (1) a Tape Index form; (2) Oral History Interview Summary form; and (3) Oral History Cultural Resource Inventory form. Each of these forms should be considered essential products to be completed after each interview. Samples of each of these forms are included below (see Figures 1-3).
(1) The Tape Index Form
serves as a quick guide or directory to all interviews completed during a given project. It includes the following information: the tape number; date of interview; the name of the interviewee, interpreter, and interviewer; location of the interview; language(s) used; and a brief summary of tape contents (i.e., sites discussed, key words).
(2) The Oral History Interview Summary Form
provides a detailed summary of each interview's contents. Each form identifies the name of the interviewee, interpreter, and interviewer; specifies the date, length, and location of the interview; tape number; language(s) used; a summary of topics discussed; and a detailed breakdown of the tape contents referenced by time and counter number location. This form provides a researcher with the means to quickly track important recorded information on identified cultural properties back to the information source - the interview recordings.
(3) The Oral History Cultural Resource Inventory Form
provides a complete summary of each identified site's location, description, and significance. It should include the following information for each identified site: Site name (Native/ English) and its translation; complete legal description; site type; season of use; duration of use; site description
; age; significance; list of citations containing historic/ prehistoric information regarding the site (both oral history tapes and historical documents); and a map of the site showing its exact location and extent (boundaries). This Cultural Resource Inventory Form will provide researchers with a means to document each identified property and insure that protection measures will be enforced.
While the above products are not essential for every oral history project their use can greatly facilitate access to interview recordings and provide a mechanism to track the location and progress of each interview tape and transcript. Tape transcripts provide a complete description of a tape's contents and are much easier to use then a tape. While ready access to this information can prove extremely helpful to later researchers, tape transcripts may be a lower priority for some projects because they are not deemed necessary for your current project and are expensive to complete.
18 Childhood memories at Celilo.
U.S.G.S. 7.5' Series (1:24,000): Quadrangle: East Lake, Oregon Date 1982
Historical Accounts: ___________________________________________________________