Wick R. Miller Collection

Wick R. MillerThe Wick R. Miller Collection (WRMC) refers to the set of materials collected and created by Wick Miller during the time he worked with the Shoshone and Goshute communities.  All the materials in the Wick R. Miller collection have been or are being digitized and documented using the E-MELD best practice guidelines (http://emeld.org/school/index.html).  The WRMC materials include: Audio Recordings, Binders, Notebooks and Transcriptions, which we are currently in the process of revising.

Ethnographic Field Notes

The collection includes two binders that Wick R. Miller compiled based on the interactions that he and his students had with the Shoshone and Gosiute communities in Nevada and California during the years 1965-1968. These binders contain a wealth of information in their 511 pages, including summaries of interviews with over 100 Shoshoni speakers, and profiles of about 40 speech communities, reservations, and colonies.

The profiles of Shoshoni speakers include kinship information, places they had lived, and language background. Some of these interviews included memories of traditional practices that date to the early part of the 20th century or commentary on the state of the American Indian people in the late 1960s. There are in-depth descriptions of woven spoons, pine-nut harvesting, fandangos people traveled to as children, and how particular geographical features tie into traditional stories.

Some of the community profiles are extensive and include maps and information on the internal political climate of the communities and insight into the ways the communities were dealing with pressure from outside policies and increasing contact with mainstream American culture. Others are very brief, illustrating the weakening of many peoples’ ties with the Shoshoni community as only a few (or no) Shoshoni speakers who lived there could be named.

The information contained in these binders gives us a glimpse back to a place in time that cannot be recovered. Many of the people named are no longer living and much of this information is not available elsewhere.

Recordings

For a complete list of all the Shoshoni recordings that we have, please click here.

The central component of the Wick R. Miller collection is audio recordings made by Wick of Native American speakers produced during the years 1966–1972. Topics of the narratives include coyote stories, stories about the speakers’ early lives at the turn of the century, how things were done in the old days, family histories and songs.

There are 151 reel-to-reel tapes in the following languages: Shoshoni, Comanche, Kawaiisu, Panamint, Guarijio, Tarahumara, Lillooet, some Australian Aboriginal languages and English. Additionally, there are 13 cassette tapes in the following languages: Shoshoni, Kawaiisu, Comanche, Western Mono, Guarijio and English. These tapes have all been digitized and remastered for preservation.