My name is danah boyd and I'm a Principal Researcher at Microsoft Research and the founder/president of Data & Society. Buzzwords in my world include: privacy, context, youth culture, social media, big data. I use this blog to express random thoughts about whatever I'm thinking.

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me + National Museum of the American Indian

I’m pleased to share that I’m joining the Board of Trustees of Smithsonian’s National Museum of the American Indian (NMAI) in 2015.  I am honored and humbled by the opportunity to help guide such an esteemed organization full of wonderful people who are working hard to create a more informed and respectful society.

I am not (knowingly) of Native descent, but as an American who has struggled to make sense of our history and my place in our cultural ecosystem, I’ve always been passionate about using the privileges I have to make sure that our public narrative is as complex as our people.  America has a sordid history and out of those ashes, we have a responsibility to both remember and do right by future generations.  When the folks at NMAI approached me to see if I were willing to use the knowledge I have about technology, youth, and social justice to help them imagine their future as a cultural institution, the answer was obvious to me.

Make no mistake – I have a lot to learn.  I cannot and will not speak on behalf of Native peoples or their experiences. I’m joining this Board, fully aware of how little I know about the struggles of Indians today, but I am doing so with a deep appreciation of their stories and passions. I am coming to this table to learn from those who identify as Native and Indian with the hopes that what I have to offer as a youth researcher, technologist, and committed activist can be valuable. As an ally, I hope that I can help the Museum accomplish its dual mission of preserving and sharing the culture of Native peoples to advance public understanding and empower those who have been historically disenfranchised.

I am still trying to figure out how I will be able to be most helpful, but at the very least, please feel free to use me to share your thoughts and perspectives that might help NMAI advance its mission and more actively help inform and shape American society. I would also greatly appreciate your help in supporting NMAI’s education initiatives through a generous donation. In the United States, these donations are tax deductible.

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