Native American History Month in Lenapehoking

November is Native American History Month, and a good time for New Yorkers to acknowledge and honor the indigenous peoples who lived here before us. The Lenape thrived for thousands of years before the arrival of Europeans. They called their homeland Lenapehoking, and their territory included portions of New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania and Delaware.

In Brooklyn, the Lenape had settlements in what are now the neighborhoods of Bushwick, Canarsie, Flatlands, Fort Hamilton, Gowanus, and Sheepshead Bay. 

Indian Villages, Paths, Ponds, and Places in Kings County 1946 Map
Center for Brooklyn History, Brooklyn Public Library 1946

The concept of shared land use was fundamental to Lenape society. Lenape peoples lived in fixed settlements, and their lives revolved around communal hunting and planting. Planting was managed by women, who cultivated corn, squash, beans, and tobacco. The men cleared the field and broke the soil. During the rest of the year, they would fish and hunt.  

The arrival of Europeans was devastating to the Lenape. By the 17th century, Europeans were setting up colonies to extract resources from Lenapehoking. They pushed the Lenape out of the East Coast and pressed them to move west. In 1626, the Lenape “sold” the island of Manahatta to the Dutch. The Dutch were of course deceptive in their dealings, as the concept of private land-ownership was not recognized by the Lenape. 

The loss of land led to a scarcity of essential resources, as the Lenape peoples could not farm and were forced to over-hunt. Their population fell sharply, due to infectious diseases brought by Europeans, such as measles and smallpox. Between 1600 and 1700, the Lenape were decimated by diseases and war. By 1750, they had lost an estimated 90% of their people.

The Treaty of Easton, signed in 1758 between the Lenape and the English, forced the Lenape to move westward into Pennsylvania and Ohio. Other deceptive land treaties and forced migrations followed, and the Lenape were pushed further and further west. In the 1860s, the federal government sent Lenape remaining in the eastern United States to the Indian Territory (present-day Oklahoma) under the Indian removal policy. Today, Lenape communities are found in Oklahoma, Kansas, Missouri, Wisconsin, Ontario, and New Jersey.

Land acknowledgements, or statements serving as offerings of honor and respect, are one way to pay respect to the Lenape and other tribes who were killed and displaced by European settlers.  Land acknowledgements are not a substitute for substantial reparative justice but they can raise awareness about histories that are often suppressed or forgotten.

The acknowledgement process involves asking: “Who lived here before us?” “What happened to them?” “Who should be accountable for their displacement?” “What can be done to repair the harm done to them?”

The U.S. Department of Arts and Culture (not a real government agency but a “people-powered department”) offers a resource called Honor Native Land: A Guide and Call to Acknowledgement.

Here are their answers to the question: “Why practice Land Acknowledgement?”:

  •     Offer recognition and respect
  •     Share the true story of the people who were already here
  •     Create a broader public awareness of history  
  •     Begin to repair relationships with Native communities  
  •     Support larger truth-telling and reconciliation efforts
  •     Remind people that colonization is an ongoing process
  •     Opening up space with reverence and respect
  •     Inspire ongoing action and relationships

And here is their step-by-step guide to acknowledgment:

  1. Identify: “The first step is identifying the traditional inhabitants of the lands you’re on. . . it is important to proceed with care, doing good research before making statements of acknowledgement.”
  2. Articulate: “Once you’ve identified the group(s) who should be recognized, formulate the statement.. . . Beginning with just a simple sentence would be a meaningful intervention in most spaces.”
  3. Deliver. “Offer your acknowledgement as the first element of a welcome to the next public gathering or event that you host . . . Consider your own place in the story of colonization and of undoing its legacy.”

How can we do reparative work with Native communities who still live in New York? What role can an educational space like City Tech, on occupied Lenape land, play in reparative justice? 

This post was written by Rachel Jones.

Spotlight: Open Education Resources

For many City Tech students, the high cost of textbooks may be an insurmountable obstacle. Students may not register–or may end up withdrawing or failing classes–because they cannot afford required materials. City Tech Faculty can reduce financial strain on students by designing their courses around Open Educational Resources (OERs).

Open Educational Resources are freely accessible teaching, learning, and research materials. Traditionally, textbooks are published under copyright, with strict limitations. But the OER model is more flexible; it uses Creative Commons licenses that allows educators to retain, reuse, revise, remix, or redistribe (the 5Rs) educational resources.

The 5 Rs:

  • Retain – make, own, and control a copy of the resource
  • Reuse – use original, revised, or remixed copy of the resource  
  • Revise – edit, adapt, and modify copy of the resource
  • Remix – combine original or revised copy of the resource with other existing material to create something new
  • Redistribute – share copies of original, revised, or remixed copy of the resource with others.

City Tech’s OER program is a CUNY success story. Since its launch in 2015, City Tech librarians have collaborated with professors to create course materials through the City Tech OpenLab, leading to the development of free and open resources for classes across the curriculum. City Tech professors, with library support, have created outstanding low-cost, high-quality OERs for students. 

Here are a few examples of OER materials created by faculty in our Social Science departments through the OER program. 

For US History Since 1865, Dr. Ryan McMillen uses The American Yawp, augmented with other materials. Instructions for the class on Reconstruction asks students to: “Read Chapter 15, Reconstruction…the text of the Mississippi Black CodesJourdon Anderson Writes His Former Master, 1865…Pick out one part of the Codes that strikes you as problematic, in that its main justification would be to criminalize the activities of former slaves in defending their freedom, and analyze it.”

Professor Diana Mincyte’s Environmental Sociology OER “examines the complex interactions between societies and the natural environments on which they depend. Special emphasis is placed on the link between the deepening ecological crisis and the operation of the capitalist socio-economic system.” For the first class, to introduce the subject, she assigns: The environment and society. The perfect conditions for coronavirus to emerge, Pangolins and pandemics: The real source of this crisis is human, not animal and What is Deep Ecology.

Dr. Jinwon Kim’s Urban Sociology is a course that encourages students to explore issues in Downtown Brooklyn, from gentrification to the new economy, and to use the neighborhood as a laboratory. Dr. Kim created her OER with links to open access readings, videos, and photo collections. For Class 4, Modernity and Modern Cities, he asks students to, “First, read The era of industrialization…in order to learn more about the historical background of modern cities. Second, read Industrial Manchester, 1844 in The Condition of the Working-Class in England in 1844. Third, learn more about New York City context by reading Jacob Riis’ How the Other Half Lives: Studies Among the Tenements of New York…Watch The Tenement Museum in the Lower East Side. See Photos provided by Museum of the City of New York.”

More information about the OER program at City Tech

Questions/comments? Contact Cailean Cooney, Assistant Professor, Library at: ccooney@citytech.cuny.edu.

Trans Day of Remembrance

Flyer with event info listed below

It’s transgender awareness week and student leaders are organizing an important solidarity and remembrance event this Friday, November 19th at 12pm in downtown Brooklyn.

Join City Tech SGA and NYPIRG for a rally and solidarity march to celebrate trans lives and to honor lives lost.

The event will start at City Tech in the courtyard outside of the Tillary Street entrance where students will lead a speak out and rally. At 12:30pm participants will march across the Brooklyn Bridge, following the march, there will be a moment of silence to commemorate lives lost.

Attendees are encouraged to bring signs and share their own stories.

The City Tech Library is also screening the film Disclosure this week in celebration of transgender awareness week. Learn more about the screening and how to access the film.

 

Screening of Disclosure for Trans Awareness Week

November 13th through the 19th is Trans Awareness Week. The library is providing a free screening of the film, Disclosure, which examines the portrayal of the trans community in American film.

The film is directed by Sam Feder and stars Laverne Cox, Bianca Leigh, Jen Richards, and more. Exclusive to Netflix subscribers, the library has been able to acquire a streaming version for this week for the City Tech community.

Click here to view the film.

For questions or comments, contact Prof. Junior Tidal.

Build a better library website and receive $20

The Ursula C. Schwerin Library is conducting a participatory web design research study. If you are 18 or older and interested, please fill out the survey here: https://citytech-cuny.libwizard.com/f/participatoryWeb

Selected participants will receive a $20 gift certificate to the City Tech bookstore for participating. 


For more information or questions, please contact Prof. Junior Tidal at jtidal@citytech.cuny.edu.

Faculty Workshop: Zotero Basics, Nov. 9

Zotero logo

Zotero Basics
Nov. 9, 3-4 PM
Attendees will learn the capabilities of this powerful, free open-source reference management software program. The session covers the functionalities of the Zotero client, adding the Zotero plugin to your browser, and importing citations to generate a bibliography. To maximize our workshop time, please download Zotero from https://www.zotero.org and create your username and password in the Zotero client software by going to EDIT > PREFERENCES > >SYNC
Registration

Privacy Workshops and Coded Bias Screening at City Tech Library

“Five Data Privacy Principles from Mozilla (Put on a museum wall) 2014” by vintagedept is licensed under CC BY 2.0

The library will be hosting workshops on digital privacy and a film screening of Coded Bias this month. Descriptions and Zoom registration links are below.

These events are open to all City Tech students and faculty. Feel free to share with your students and colleagues, and reach out if you have any questions or concerns.

Digital Privacy Workshop
Tuesday, Nov. 9, 2:00 pm

Do you have concerns about corporate or government surveillance, the security of your financial data, or who can view your personal information online? Wondering why virtual advertisements follow you around? Worried about how to make secure passwords and not always forgetting them? Confused about social media privacy settings or what information the apps you use might be collecting about you?
Learn more about privacy and take control of your digital identity! In this hand-on workshop, City Tech faculty, students, and staff will learn how to protect themselves against surveillance and unwanted data collection. Specific topics covered will include: password security, social media privacy, browser settings, and alternative search engines.
Register

Algorithmic Autobiographies and Fictions Library Workshop
Tuesday, Nov. 16, 2:00 pm
Ever wonder what Google thinks of what kind of person you are based on the ads you see? Does Facebook accurately reflect your true self? This library workshop explores how social media platforms and search engines create identities of our digital selves. Participants will learn about search engine and social media algorithms, how to access their ad preferences for Google, Facebook, and Instagram, and will then create a short story, poem, drawing, or other creative product about their “algorithmic self.” The workshop will conclude on ways to keep your data private. It is not necessary, but it is highly encouraged that workshop attendees have a Google, Facebook, or Instagram account. This workshop has been adapted from the work of Dr. Sophie Bishop (King’s College, London) and Dr. Tanya Kant (University of Sussex).
Register

Coded Bias Screening
Tuesday, Nov. 30, 2:00 pm
The library is hosting a free virtual screening of the award-winning film Coded Bias, on Tuesday, November 30th at 2:00PM, open to City Tech faculty and students. Coded Bias, directed by Shalini Kantayya, explores the work of Joy Buolamwini, a MIT Media lab researcher who discovers that facial recognition does not “see” dark-skinned faces. The film documents Buolamwini’s effort to advocate for the ban of technological bias and algorithms. The documentary film was released in 2020 and has a running time of 83 minutes.
Register

NYC Public Libraries: A Resource for City Tech Students

As you may know, the City Tech Library has re-opened, and on-site services are available for students, faculty, and staff. However, many students are still studying or attending classes at home at least some of the time. Coming to campus may not be convenient for community members for a variety of reasons. If you need an alternative space for study, research, wifi, and computer access, consider locating your closest public library branch, and signing up for a card. Our public library systems have amazing (and free!) resources for City Tech Students to tap into. City Tech librarians consider public librarians to be our partners, and encourage students to view them as part of their academic support team.

The New York Public Library is one of three separate and independent public library systems in New York City. The other two library systems are the Brooklyn Public Library and the Queens Public Library. You just need one card to use all three systems. 

The New York Public Library has more than six million items in its circulating collections; the Brooklyn Public Library holds almost three million items; the Queens Public Library’s collection includes more than five million items. The three systems also collectively offer around 15 million items, as well as housands of free educational, cultural, and civic programs every month.

Signing up for a card

Do you live in Brooklyn? Brooklyn Public Library’s cards are free for people who live, work, pay property taxes or go to school in New York state. 

First step: apply online for a library card

Next step: Find your closest branch library here.Once you apply for a library card, you must visit a branch within 30 days and validate your card by showing a government-issued ID with your name and present address.

Acceptable government issued IDs include:

  • Current New York State Driver’s License
  • Current New York State Driver’s Permit
  • Current New York State Identification Card
  • Current IDNYC Municipal Card

The other systems have the same policies and similar procedures. Are you in Queens? Apply for a card here. Find your closest branch library here. Locations of NYPL branches are here. You can apply for a card online here

Maybe you stop using your public library because of fines? Guess what! All three local public library systems have eliminated all late fines going forward—and all existing fines and fees in patron accounts have been cleared. This is great news!

Our NYC public library systems combined have millions of print and digital resources in their collections, all accessible with one card. They also have librarians on staff who provide reference support in person or by chat or phone. They offer free wifi, as well as computer and printing equipment for library patron use. This November, take a tip from Library Buzz and visit your local library branch to look around, say hello to the staff, and get that library card!

A Celebration of Faculty Scholarship on Teaching and Learning in Academic Works

Open Access Week 2021: It Matters How We Open KnowledgeFor Open Access Week 2021, we celebrated scholarship about teaching and learning at City Tech in Academic Works this month. 

Here are some highlights:

All NYCCT publications related to teaching in Academic Works 

New Podcast Episode: The Library One Shot

The latest episode of City Tech stories features an interview with Prof. Anne Leonard, Coorindator of Library Instruction, and a discussion about the “library one-shot”–a term that refers to the discrete instruction sessions that the library offers to help support students doing research, usually in their first semester of college.

A recent editorial from the journal College & Research Libraries by Nicole Pagowsky on “The Contested One-Shot” is used as a reference point for the discussion which touches on classroom power dynamics, student engagement, and the challenges and opportunities presented by online learning.

Check out our latest episode, and subscribe to the podcast!