Center for Ethnomusicology Announces Hopi Music Repatriation Project

The Center for Ethnomusicology holds copies of, and rights to, the Laura Boulton Collection of Traditional Music, consisting of field recordings of folk and traditional musics made around the world by collector Laura Boulton, from the 1930s through the 1960s.  In 1933 and again in 1940, Boulton recorded a total of 129 Hopi songs, ranging from secular to spiritual genres.  (The 1933 recordings were made at the Chicago Century of Progress Exposition; the 1940 recordings at Hopi.)

The Center is committed to repatriating the Boulton recordings, especially those made in indigenous communities.  In addition to projects with Navajo and Iñupiaq music (the latter now funded by the National Science Foundation), we are pleased to announce a new initiative to bring the Hopi songs "back home" to the tribe, as a project in what we call "community-partnered repatriation" -- not just returning recordings and rights, but working in the community to develop contemporary uses for these materials in collaboration with tribal officials, educators, activists, and leaders. 

Our Hopi Music Repatriation Project is led by Trevor Reed, an MA student in Arts Administration at Columbia University Teachers College, and a member of the Hopi tribe.  This past summer, Mr. Reed spent several weeks at Hopi laying the groundwork for the community-based repatriation of Boulton's recordings.  We are delighted and grateful to have received a research permit from the Hopi tribe for the period from September, 2009 to December, 2010.

Mr. Reed's initial work has been funded by the Center for Ethnomusicology, Teachers College, and the Lynn Reyer Tribal Development Award from the Society for the Preservation of American Indian Culture. 

You can read more about the Hopi Music Repatriation Project and Mr. Reed's summer visit to Hopi (including his visit to the community's high school) on Trevor Reed's HMRP blog.