I invited by Madeliene Charney to join in on an event at UMASS Amherst to celebrate Open Access Week by bringing together members of the community to edit Wikipedia. The community was editing and writing articled related to the #NoDAPL protests going on at the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe Reservation in Cannon Ball, North Dakota. Being as I’ve just recently returned from the site I elected to use my knowledge to aid in the effort.
Specifically, while Wikipedia only allows for information that has been published to be used as sources, my firsthand knowledge was able to point to some important people and places that hadn’t been captured yet because no one knew to look for them. The information was out there, but needed to be compiled. Also there were topics that were know and needed articles to go along with them. I chose to write the article for Mni Wiconi, a phrase that means ‘water is life’ in the Lakota language. It is important to add to Wikipedia because going forward it has significance to the water protector’s movement.
So sitting on the 19th floor of the library over pizza and soda for four hours, volunteers and students coming and going as they were able, learned more about Standing Rock and also how to edit Wikipedia. It was a great experience for me. I love to write and having the opportunity to learn something new while providing a service for the community was very cool!
I’ve submitted my article on mni wiconi which, if approved, will be posted probably in three or more weeks.