Rozanne Gooding-Silverwood (2015)

While completing her undergraduate degree in cultural anthropology at the Columbia University School of General Studies, Rozanne Gooding Silverwood has been enrolled as a provisional student of Columbia University’s Oral History BA/MA program.

Her undergraduate coursework culminated with a historical analysis of archival material related to her Chickasaw ancestry found in her mother’s collection of 19th century documents and genealogy records, literature and photographs. The uncanny evidence of her Chickasaw ancestors’ determination to preserve the family’s indigenous heritage resulted in her thesis “The Indigenous Uncanny: An Ethnography of Erasure and the Resurgence of Chickasaw Identity.”

She has presented her work at conferences, such as CUNY’s 2016 Public History Collective conference “Afterlives: Place, Memory, Story” and at the 2017 Dynamic Women of Chickasaw Nation Conference. To deepen her sense of Chickasaw belonging, Ms. Gooding Silverwood embarked upon the study of the Chickasaw language and anticipates its usefulness in an oral history project “What Makes Us Chickasaw?”

In the fall of 2017 Ms. Gooding Silverwood will engage as a full-time graduate student with OHMA where she looks forward to interviewing Chickasaw citizens and persons of African ancestry who are the descendents of Chickasaw freedpeople. She hopes to foster dialogues about indigenous identity as expressed through language, resurgence programs, ceremonial practices, and traditional foodways. Ultimately, these interviews may aid the Chickasaw citizenry in discussions of reparative pathways of belonging that might address the historic harms of the Chickasaw’s slaveholding history.