A collaboration between the University of South Carolina Center for Digital Humanities, the Channel Islands National Park, and the National Park Service, the Lone Woman and Last Indians project is comprised of a virtual museum, annotated online archive, and print critical edition centered on Scott O'Dell's Newbery-winning children's novel Island of the Blue Dolphins (1960). Together, these resources will provide an innovative, rigorous reading of the most widely taught children's novel of the twentieth century, and of the person who inspired it: an American Indian isolated on the most remote of the California Channel Islands between 1835-53.
The Lone Woman and Last Indians project seeks to engage a heterogeneous, multi-aged public with questions central to American identity in an age of multiculturalism and globalization. Specifically, it helps visitors to reflect on how efforts to scientifically understand and artistically represent "the Indian" have played a central role in American nation-building and American identity formation, and to consider what that means for the nation, Native peoples, and in fact, all Americans, today.
The Lone Woman and Last Indians archive makes newly discovered and newly translated documents and artifacts relative to both the Lone Woman and Island of the Blue Dolphins available. We are marking up the text in TEI for named persons, places, historical events, and literary and cultural tropes such as "Robinson Crusoe" and "the last of her tribe". Additionally, we are building in textual summaries using Xqery and basic analytics with XSLT. The archive will also feature interactive map and timeline features, which will place these sources in a larger geographical and historical context.
Work on this project has been funded by USC Provost Humanities grants, a USC Aspire I Innovation grant, USC Magellan Scholar grants, the College of Arts and Sciences, the English Department, the School of Library and Information Science, the Center for Digital Humanities, the Women's and Gender Studies Program, the National Park Service, the Mission Canyon-Santa Barbara Chapter of the National Society for the Daughters of the American Revolution, the Western National Parks Association, an American Library Association, the Children's Literature Association, the University of Minnesota Libraries, and private donors.