2019 has been a year of many changes for me and the blog. I am now fully employed at OSU in Anthropology and Native studies. This has been very good for my finances and work in education and for finding a base of operations for my work. But, as I am now teaching 3-4 classes a term and working for advancement this leaves less time for researching, writing, and publishing on the blog. I need to begin publishing in a more professional manner and have begun mining my essays for ideas and content for a series of publications.
The first such publication will be in the new issue of Oregon Historical Quarterly where Tom Connolly and I have written an essay on white supremacy on the Oregon coast. The issue is just days from being released. I have another project with two scholars, one of whom is Leilani Sabzallian, about education and history in Eugene, Oregon. I don’t know when that article will be completed.
But I have additional projects in the works. I still have a project I call “Stories of the Willamette Valley” which will bring together my essays about the Kalapuyans and Molallans within the settlement era in one volume. I also am working with a team of editors to produce the book “Kalapuyans of Western Oregon,” and we have just signed the OSU press contract for this book. In this book, I will bring to the fore essays about the Kalapuyans on the reservation, much of which were beginning on my blog. Finally, I have a few other plans in motion, a publication about the new David Douglas collection which I found last year. and an article about anthropologically assigned Molalla territories. These are all essays on my blog which I plan to expand into publications. There are other ideas as well, I was just asked if I will combine my essays on Grand Ronde education into one book. This could easily be done, but I am still researching the foundations of education at Grand Ronde, and recently found another key issue which I am working on writing up this next week.
2019 has been the least productive year for essay writing for the last four years with only 35 essays this year. Compare to this my production in 2018 where I wrote 113 essays. But this year I have a number of unique finds. The first 1856 census at Grand Ronde was identified as such this year at Oregon Historical Society Library; then a good number of education essays were written from new letters and reports found in microfilm sets; stories and story excerpts from the central Willamette Valley were published, based on my research with Linn County museum and the production of the Kalapuyans exhibit in Brownsville. Recently, I found details about the north Shasta peoples as I continue to work on essays about the 27 to 35 tribes who were removed to Grand Ronde and the Coast reservations.
However, this year has had more visitors and views than any other year at over 70,000! This is due to the openness of my blog, as all of my essays are live and open at all times, and the increased use of my essays for education. I use my blog to assign readings for my classes, and as I have taught at 5 colleges in the past year, the stats show that my students have been accessing the essays regularly. But I also get information about students from Linfield, Willamette, Linn-Benton, UO and other colleges, schools, and universities accessing the site regularly, suggesting that other instructors and professors are assigning material from the site. I just had an email from a teacher in Junction City about this very issue and asking clarifying questions about the Kalapuyans. So my readership is continuing to go up and I predict at least 30% more next year due to the roll-out of the new SB 13 Native curriculum in January. Teachers from school districts throughout the state will be looking for content and my site is somewhat rare in offering free content about Native peoples from the state. Oddly enough no native curriculum writers have asked for my help with producing content?!
So as you can see my monthly readership is greatly increasing in 2019, with the high in the 7,000 range. It’s hard to believe I am getting over 7,000 readers a month! for my little blog! But then I believe I am setting a new model for native histories, the likes of which I have rarely seen elsewhere. I think Patty Whereat Phillip’s blog Shichils is the next closest one.
Overall I think my little experiment in history and native studies is proving successful. Somewhere, I think in Jace Weaver’s writing, I recall some advice, like: “if you know you are doing the right thing, never give up,” something to that effect.
My best essay, the only truly viral essay was that of January 6, 2016, when I wrote about the true inheritors of the Malheur, the Paiute peoples. That essay to this day got more view than any essay ever, over 10,000 in the first week. Sometime in early 2020, I will hit 400 essays for the lifetime of the blog. I also predict over 100,000 visitors in 2019, and 250,000 views are not out of reach. I still do not know how far this will all take me. For me, the benefit of making native history immediately available to the public outweigh to use and learn from outweigh any other model of publication. In my experience our native histories have never be told appropriately, there are too many missing pieces, too much invisibility, too much stereotyping, too much relying on the scientific models of research which have slowed down and stopped our histories from being revealed. My blog cuts through all of that to make these issues immediately available to all after responsible scholarship.
My work on the history is completely unfunded. Over the years I have gotten one small grant of $500 for research, and donations each year from readers. I do not get the support of any type from my tribe for my research, regardless of the rumors. These donations have allowed me to travel to historical societies and conduct research and paid the annual fees for the WordPress blog. I am extremely happy with the level of donations I receive as people clearly see what I am doing as a valuable contribution to historic and native scholarship in the region. Please consider a small donation to help me with additional research and to pay the annual fees of the blog. For similar memberships in historical societies, annual membership dues are $25 to $50, which may include one or more printed publications. Thank you all for your support over the years!
Qa’pai, David G. Lewis, PhD