‘Playing the Field’ Conference Proceedings | Social Anthropology | York University 2009
I thought to mysel:
ok, I didn’t manage to get tothe event, or to ollow the debates, but at least I saw the movie...
I traveled to the city where my main inormantlives. At 11 p.m. on the day I arrived, I was in mypyjamas, working on my eld work notes, whenthe phone rang. It was rom the hotel hall:
There is a person here who wants totalk to you.
It was my inormant.
Ok, I’m going down, I said.
I got ready quickly and met him in the hotel hall. To my surprise, he said:
I’m not doing any movie now becauseI have a problem and you are the only person that can help me... I’m fnishingmy Undergraduate Studies and I need to write my thesis. I have only two weeksto write it, the deadline is coming... Can you help me?
I was surprised, but I was also glad to be asked tohelp in this way, because it was something thatI elt I could do. I had written two theses or myCommunication Undergraduate Studies, and Ihad a major in Journalism –which developed mywriting skills. Thereore, the next day, I went with my inormantto the Indigenous Research Centre at hisuniversity, because he had a computer there towork. By coincidence, when I arrived there, I sawthe woman who did not allow me to enter theevent... She worked in the Indigenous ResearchCentre. My inormant presented me to thecoordinator o the Centre. He was extremelyriendly:
From which university are you?
(I said the name o the university)
Oh! Who is your advisor?
(I said his name)
Oh! He`s a very good riend o mine! What are you researching here?
(I explained)them, I ound out that they would exhibit theirmovie about Indigenous students or the rsttime during a conerence they were organizing.I asked i I could ollow their work related to thenew projects and i I could go to the conerence. They agreed and the one who directed the moviesagreed to meet me beore the conerence. WhenI asked or inormation about where to stay,such as suggested hotels, he suggested that Isend an email to someone rom their universitywho knew more about these details. I wrote theemail, but the person never replied. So, I plannedmy second eldwork trip without this help andew to my eld site, thinking that I would goto the conerence and ollow the work o myinormants. In act, I didn’t manage to do any o these things...I arrived in the city where the conerence wouldtake place. First surprise: where was my inormant?He didn’t arrive, but I went to the conerenceanyway. The movie produced by the Indigenousstudents was exhibited in the beginning o theopening ceremony o the conerence. Aterthe opening ceremony, I managed to nd theother Indigenous student who produced andperormed in the movie. Since the other dayso the conerence would take place in anotherlocation, I asked or some directions. He askeda person rom his university or this inormationand to my surprise, she said I could not go. Itwould not be an open event: only Indigenouspeople and a ew researchers were allowed togo. I said that I had got permission rom two o the organizers, so she sent me to talk to anotherperson rom the university, who sent me to talk to another person and so on, until I nally metthe person to whom I had sent the email beoretravelling. Her answer was very direct:
Yes, I got your email. Yes, I didn`t reply.No, you cannot go.But I came rom ar away just to attend this event! I have permission rom twoo the organizers.Sorry. It`s only or Indigenous people...Ok then...
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