As the incubator portion of this digital project comes to end, I’d like to provide a bit of transparency about how and why I am using the text files.
As a historian and digital humanist, I am always plagued by the lack sources. For those of us who work in Native American history, it is especially troubling—and even worse for those who examine the lives of 19th century American Indian women.
Race and gender are very important to me as a historian. One way to get at how both of these topics operated in the data sets was analyzing them separately and then together. First, I split the data sets into the following groups: American Indian males; Jewish male settlers; and Jewish female settlers. I am still actively seeking American Indian female transcripts or journals. By analyzing them in this way, it allows me to understand how each how race and gender shaped their historical experiences in the Dakotas.
From there, I analyzed all of the male text files and the female text files separately. When I am able to locate more female American Indian files, I will be able to complete the American Indian data sets. Once those are located, I will then process those with the same code as the others to look for similarities and differences in the topics by gender.