Episode 46
Stewarding Sound and Ancestral Memory with Nathan Young

Episode 46 of Future Memory features artist, scholar, and composer, Nathan Young. Young is a member of the Delaware Tribe of Indians and a direct descendant of the Pawnee Nation and Kiowa Tribe, currently living in Tahlequah, Oklahoma. His work incorporates sound, video, documentary, animation, installation, socially-engaged art, and experimental and improvised music. Young is also a founding member of the artist collective, Postcommodity. He holds an MFA in Music/Sound from Bard College's Milton Avery School of the Arts and is currently pursuing a PhD in the University of Oklahoma's innovative Native American art history doctoral program. His scholarship focuses on Indigenous Sonic Agency. Nathan talks with Co-host Li Sumpter about his art and practice and a public art project at Historic site Pennsbury Manor entitled nkwiluntàmën, funded by the Pew Center for Arts & Heritage and curated by Ryan Strand Greenberg and Theo Loftis. 

Paul Farber: You are listening to Monument Lab Future Memory where we discuss the future of monuments and the state of public memory in the US and across the globe. You can support the work of Monument Lab by visiting monumentlab.com, following us on social @Monument_Lab, or subscribing to this podcast anywhere you listen to podcasts.

Li Sumpter: Our guest today on Future Memory is artist, scholar, and composer, Nathan Young. Young is a member of the Delaware Tribe of Indians and a direct descendant of the Pawnee Nation and Kiowa Tribe, currently living in Tahlequah, Oklahoma. His work incorporates sound, video, documentary, animation, installation, socially-engaged art, and experimental and improvised music. Young is also a founding member of the artist collective, Postcommodity. He holds an MFA in Music/Sound from Bard College's Milton Avery School of the Arts and is currently pursuing a PhD in the University of Oklahoma's innovative Native American art history doctoral program. His scholarship focuses on Indigenous Sonic Agency. Today we discuss his art and practice and a recently opened public art project at Historic site Pennsbury Manor entitled nkwiluntàmën, funded by the Pew Center for Arts & Heritage and curated by Ryan Strand Greenberg and Theo Loftis. Let's listen.

Welcome to another episode of Future Memory. I'm your co-host, Li Sumpter. Today my guest is Nathan Young. Welcome, Nathan.

Nathan Young: Hello. Thank you. It's nice to be here with you today.

Li: Future Memory is the name of Monument Lab's podcast. In the context of your own work, when you hear the words "future memory," what does that mean to you? Do any images or sounds come to mind?

Nathan: They really do. There's one. It was a website of a sound artist, a writer, an educator, Jace Clayton, DJ/Rupture, had a mixed CD called "Gold Teeth Thief". I remember it was kind of a game changer in the late '90s. I got that mixed CD from a website called History of the Future.

Li: That's very close. It was very close.

Nathan: It's always stuck with me. I'm fortunate enough to be able to grapple with a lot of these kind of ideas. I'm not really quite sure how I feel about some of the history of the future because in some ways I work within many different archives so I am dealing with people's future or thinking about or reimagining or just imagining their future.

But future monuments are something that I grapple with and deeply consider in my artwork. I think it's one of the more challenging subjects today in art. I think we see that with the taking down of monuments that were so controversial or are so controversial. But I find it fascinating the idea of finding new forms to make monuments to remember and the idea of working with different communities of memory. It's key to my work. It's just a lot of listening and a lot of pondering. Actually, it's a very productive space for me because it's a place to think about form. Also, it opens doors for me just to think about the future. I will say this, that one problem that often arises as a Lenape Delaware Pawnee Kiowa person is we're often talking about the past, and I really like to talk about the future and to work with organizations that are thinking about the future.

Li: I can relate to that.

Nathan: I think it's a misunderstanding. We always really are talking about the future. I've had the great fortune to be around some people. Actually, I grew up in the capital of the Cherokee Nation, Oklahoma. A lot of people know that Oklahoma is the home to 39 federally recognized tribes. I was fortunate enough to grow up in Tahlequah, which is the capital of the Cherokee Nation, and was able to be around a well-known and respected medicine man named Crosslin Smith, also an author. I remember being a part of an interview with Crosslin. I grew up, he was a family friend.

He said, "I'm often asked about the old or ancient ways and the new ways." What Crosland said was, and I'll try my best to articulate this idea, is that there is no difference between the ancient ways and today. These things still exist. It might be an illusion or we might not be able to comprehend or understand it, but there is no difference between the ancient, when we're thinking of things in the sense of the sublime, I think. There is no understanding the ancient and what is contemporary. That was really an important moment for me as an adult. To hear him articulate that was really important. So I think about that. I'm not really sure about a lot of things, but I really like to think about that when I'm working.

Li: It kind of runs through your mind as you're working and creating. It's a deep thought, that's for sure, connecting those things. Even thinking back on your own personal history with sound, when did you first connect your relationship to place and homeland to sound and music?

Nathan: Well, my earliest remembrances of music, honestly, are my dad driving me around in his truck, picking me up after school, and singing peyote songs, Native American Church songs, peyote songs. The members of the Native American Church call that medicine. My father was an active member of a chapter of the Native American Church at that time. I was fortunate enough to receive my Lenape Delaware name in a peyote meeting. But the first things I remember are the music he played in the car, but really the singing in the car, the singing in the truck that he would do of those peyote songs. Even after he quit going to meetings or he wasn't active in the Native American Church anymore, he still would sing these peyote songs, and I would ask him about the peyote songs, because they're different for every tribe. The forms, they still have their kind of conventions, but they're very tribally specific.

Everything in what we call legally Indian Country here in the United States is super hyper local. So just down the road, that's really the beautiful thing about living in Oklahoma, is you have people whose ancestors are from northeast, southeast, southwest. There's only one tribe here from California. So it's a really rich place for sound and song. Both of my parents are Indigenous American Indian. My mother is Pawnee and Kiowa. My father is Lenape Delaware. I also grew up around the Big Drum, what we call the Big Drum at powwows. I never became a powwow singer or anything like that. Never learned anything around the Big Drum. But I did eventually learn Pawnee songs, Native American Church Pawnee songs.

But really, I was just a kid in a small town in Oklahoma. When skateboarding hit and you become kind of an adolescent, you start to discover punk rock and things like that. Those to me were the way that the culture was imported to me. I didn't realize that I was already surrounded by all this beautiful culture, all of the tribes and my parents' tribes and my grandparents'. But then it was like a transmitter. Even these tapes were just transmitters to me. So those were really important also. I have a lot of thoughts about sound. Other thing I remember is my father often would get onto us or make fun of us for being so loud and saying we would be horrible scouts or hunters.

Li: Making too much noise.

Nathan: The Native Americans, yeah, yeah. We weren't stealth. You'd hear us coming a mile away. So he would always say, "You wouldn't be a very good one," just to try to get us quiet down.

Li: No one wants to be a bad hunter, right? Can you break down the concept of Indigenous Sonic Agency? is this based on ancestral traditions, your artistic practice, academic scholarship, or a bit of all the above?

Nathan: Well, Indigenous Sonic Agency is really one piece of a larger subject sonic agency, which I encountered in a book titled Sonic Agency by Brandon LaBelle. I was a former member of this collective, Postcommodity, and I'm reading this book. When we were first starting the collective, we had the opportunity to work with this Czech poet named Magor, Ivan Jirous Magor. It means blockhead, I believe. It's a nickname. He was kind of described as the Andy Warhol of the Plastic People of the Universe. He was an art historian. He spent most of his life in prison just for being an artist, an art historian. He was an actual musician. He didn't play with the Plastic People of the Universe, to my knowledge, but he did to write the lyrics, to my knowledge. We had the opportunity to record with Magor. So I'm reading this book about sonic agency, and here I find somebody that I'd actually had an experience with sonic agency with in my early days and as a young man and an artist.

But ultimately Indigenous Sonic Agency is, in some sense, similar but different to tribal sovereignty. So when you think of agency or sovereignty, it's something that they sometimes get mixed up. I'm really trying to parse the differences between this, what we understand so well as political sovereignty as federally recognized tribes and what agency means, say, as an artist. But in my research, in the subject of sonic agency and Indigenous Sonic Agency, it encompasses pretty much everything. That's what I love about sound. Everything has a sound, whether we can hear it or not. Everything is in vibration. There are sounds that are inaudible to us, that are too high or too low. Then there's what we hear in the world and the importance of silence with John Cage. I think that they're just super productive.

I was introduced really to sound studies through this book called Sonic Warfare by Steve Goodman. It was really about how the study of sound was, in a sense, still emerging because it had mostly been used for military purposes and for proprietary purposes such as commercials and things like that. As I stated earlier, I felt like music was my connection to a larger world that I couldn't access living in a small town. So even everything that came with it, the album covers, all that, they really made an impression on me as a young person, and it continues to this day, and I've been focusing deeply on it.

My studies in sonic agency -- Indigenous Sonic Agency -- encompass everything from social song, sacred song, voice, just political speech and language, political language. There's so much work to be done in the emerging sound studies field. I felt that Indigenous Sonic Agency, there was a gap there in writing and knowledge on it. Now though, I acknowledge that there has been great study on the subject such as Dylan Robinson's book, Hungry Listening. I am fortunate enough to be around a lot of other Indigenous experimental artists who work in all the sonic fields. So it's an all-encompassing thing. I think about the sacred, I think about the political, I think about the nature of how we use it to organize things and how language works. Silence is a part of it. Also, listening is very important. It's something that I was taught at a very young age. You always have to continue to hone that practice to become a better and better listener.

Li: That's the truth.

Nathan: My grandmother was very quiet, but whenever she did talk, everybody loved it.

Li: That's right. That's right. Let's talk about the Pennsbury Manor project. Can you share how you, Ryan Strand Greenberg, and Theo Loftis met and how nkwiluntàmën came to be?

Nathan: Well, to my recollection, I try to keep busy around here, and oftentimes it means traveling to some of the other towns in the area such as Pawnee or Bartlesville or Dewey or Tahlequah. I wasn't able to do a studio visit with Ryan, but I wanted to see his artist talk that he was giving at the Tulsa Artist Fellowship, which I was a fellow at at that time. I remember seeing these large public art projects that were being imagined by Ryan. We had worked on some other projects that, for one reason or another, we weren't unable to get off the ground. Eventually, Pennsbury Manor was willing to be this space where we could all work together. I remember rushing back and being able to catch Ryan's artist talk. Then right before he left town, we had a studio visit and found out how much we had in common concerning the legacy of the Lenape in the Philadelphia area, what we used to call Lenapehoking. So it was a really a moment of good fortune, I believe.

Li: Monument Lab defines monument as a statement of power and presence in public. The nkwiluntàmën project guide describes Pennsbury Manor as a space to attune public memory. It goes on to say that sites like these are not endpoints in history, but touchstones between generations. I really love that statement. Do you think Pennsbury Manor and the land it stands on, do you consider it a monument in your eyes? Why or, maybe even, why not?

Nathan: Well, yeah, I would definitely consider Pennsbury Manor, in a sense, a monument. I think that we could make an argument for that. If we were talking about the nature of it being William Penn's home and it being reconstructed in the 20th century, you could make a very strong argument that it is a monument to William Penn and also as William Penn as this ideal friend to the Indian. Some people don't like that word. Here in Oklahoma, some of us use it. Technically, it was Indian Country legally. But I use all terms: Native American, Indigenous, Indian. But I'd mostly like to just be called a Lenape Delaware Pawnee Kiowa.

I definitely would say that you could make an argument that is a monument to William Penn especially as part of that, as this ideal colonist who could be set as a standard as for how he worked with the Lenape and then other tribes in the area at the time. I think that's kind of the narrative that I run into mostly in my research, literally. However, I would not say that it was established or had been any type of monument to my Lenape legacy. I did not feel that... I mean, there was always mention of that. It was, like I said, as this ideal figure of how to cooperate with the tribes in the area. But I would definitely say it's not a monument to the Lenape or the Delaware or Munsee.

Li: Canyou share a bit more about the project itself in terms of nkwiluntàmën and what exactly you did there at Pennsbury Manor to shift and really inform that history from a different perspective?

Nathan: Well, first of all, at Pennsbury Manor, I was given a lot of agency. I was given a lot of freedom to what I needed to as an artist. I was really fortunate to be able to work with Doug and Ryan and Theo in that manner where I could really think about these things and think deeply about them. I started to consider these living history sites. My understanding is that they're anachronisms. There's a lot of labor put into creating a kind of façade or an appearance of the past, and specifically this time, this four years that William Penn was on this continent. So this idea that nothing is here that is not supposed to be here became really important to me. What I mean by that is, say, if you threw in a television set, it kind of throws everything off. Everybody's walking around in clothing that reflects that era and that time. If you throw some strange electronics in the space, it kind of is disruptive. I didn't feel the need to do anything like that.

I felt that one of the great things about working in sound and one of the most powerful things about sound is that sound can also be stealth. You can't see sound. We can sonify things or we can visualize it or quantify it in different ways. But to me, this challenge of letting the place be, but using sound as this kind of stealth element where I could express this very, very difficult subject and something that really nobody has any answers to or is sure about... I was trained as an art historian, and I know that we're only making guesses and approximations just like any doctors. We are just trying to do these things.

But sound gave me the ability at Pennsbury Manor and nkwiluntàmën to work stealthy and quiet, to not disturb the space too much because there's important work that's done there, and I want to respect people's labor. As a member of the Delaware tribe of Indians of Lenape, I felt that it was a great opportunity to be the person who's able to talk about this very difficult subject, and that is not lost on me. That's a very, very heavy, very serious task.

Li: Yeah, big responsibility.

Nathan: Yes. It is not lost on me at all how serious it is, and I feel very fortunate. I think without such a great support system in place, it wouldn't have been possible. Nkwiluntàmën means lonesome, such as the sound of a drum. We have a thing called the Lenape Talking Dictionary, 

Li: I've seen it. I've seen it.

Nathan: I'm often listening. I'm listening to Nora Dean Thompson who gave me my Delaware name, my Lenape name, Unami Lenape name in a peyote ceremony. So I often go there to access Delaware thought and ideas and to hear Delaware voices and Delaware language being spoken. I know that some people have different views on it, but let's say, I think artists and people have used the Unami Lenape before and art exhibitions as a lost or an endangered languages. I know that in the entire state that I live in, and in most of Indian country, there's a great language revitalization movement that I was fortunate to be a part of and contribute to.

Really, that's where I discovered that that's really where through language, there's nothing more Lenape, there's nothing more Delaware, Unami Lenape than to be able to talk and express yourself in that manner or, say, as a Pawnee or a Kiowa to be able to talk and express. Embedded in those words are much more than just how we think of language. They're really the key to our worldviews. Our languages are the keys to our worldview and really our thought patterns and how we see the world and how we should treat each other or how we choose to live in the world or our ancestors did. So I'm fascinated by the language. I was fortunate enough to be around many, many different native languages growing up. But ours was one because of the nature of us being a northeastern tribe that was very much in danger of being lost. Some would say that at one point it was a very, very, very endangered language to the point to where nobody was being born in what we call a first language household, where everybody could speak conversationally in Unami Lenape.

So these things, we all think about this, by the way, all of my community, the Delaware Tribe of Indians. I was fortunate enough to serve on the Tribal Council as an elected member for four years. We think about these things definitely all the time, and people do hard work to try to revitalize the language. I know at this time that the Delaware Tribe of Indians is actively working to revitalize our language.

Li: That's a part of that preservation and remembrance because your work, really does explore this idea of ancestral remembrance and is rooted in that. Then again, you're also engaging with these historic sites, like Pennsbury Manor, that tap into public memory. So in your thoughts, how are ancestral remembrance and public memory connected? Are there any similar ways that they resonate?

Nathan: Well, I think of different communities of remembrance. Within this idea of memory there are just different communities. I don't want to want to create a dichotomy, but it's easily understood by those who focus on the legacy of William Penn and those who focus on the legacy of the Lenape or the Pawnee. But ancestral memory is key to my culture, I believe, and I really don't know any way to express it other than explaining it in a contemporary sense. If you're deeply involved in your tribal nation, one of the one things that people will ask you is they'll say, "Who are your folks?" Literally, people will say, "Who are your folks?"

Li: Who are your peoples?

Nathan: "What family do you come from?" I didn't start to realize this until I was an adult, of course. It's not something you think you would ever think of as a child or anything. It started to become really apparent to me that we're families that make up communities that have stayed together in our case for hundreds of years across thousands of miles. It's a point to where we got down to very small numbers. We still stuck together. Then there was also a diaspora of Lenape that went to Canada, the Munsee and the Stockbridge. There was the Delaware Nation who has actually lived more near the Kiowa. My grandmother was Kiowa. But we still had the same family names. For instance, there are people and members of the Delaware Nation that are actually blood related to the Delaware Tribe. So that is really our connection to each other is our ancestors. That's purely what binds us to together is that our ancestors were together, and we just continue that bond.

Li: Thank you. A part of Monument Lab's mission is to illuminate how symbols are connected to systems of power and public memory. What are the recurring or even the most vital symbols illuminated in your work?

Nathan: Oh, that's a really tough question because my work is all over the place. I work across a lot of different mediums, although I've trained as an art historian, so I came into this as a visual artist. I just happened to be a musician and then discovered installation art and how sound works in art. But for me, the story I feel that I'm trying to tell cannot be held by any number of symbols or signs. I want to give myself the freedom and agency to use whatever is needed, actually, whatever is needed to get across the idea that is important to me. So going back to nkwiluntàmën, lonesome, such as the sounds, these colors, we use these white post-Colonial benches, and there's four large ones, placed across the grounds of Pennsbury Manor. You'll see that, if one were to visit, they would see a black bench, a yellow bench, a white bench, and a red bench.

Nathan: If you're from my community, a Delaware Tribe of Indian member and you know that you're a Lenape, you understand that those colors have meaning to our tribe, and you'll know that those colors have sacred meaning. So in some sense, I will use whatever I think is the most appropriate way to use it also. I want to give myself the freedom to use any type of symbolism. I loved growing up with my mother and my grandmother being able to go to powwows. My mom would say, "Well, here comes the Shawnee women. Here comes the Delaware women. They dress like this. Here comes..."

Li: You can recognize from their dress.

Nathan: My mother and my grandmother taught me that iconography of our clothing, what we now call regalia.

Li: I was curious if perhaps the drum or even the idea of homeland show up in your work?

Nathan: Oh, they definitely show up in my work when appropriate. But rather than a drum, I would say sound or song or music. We do have these iconographies and symbols that are deeply meaningful to us, and I often use those in my artwork. But really the question for me is how to use them appropriately and, also at the same time, expand the use of these things appropriately. It's just being accountable to your legacy and your community in a sense and not crossing these boundaries, but still at the same time pushing form, pushing the edge.

I'm a contemporary person. We're all contemporary people. We want to add something. We want to contribute. We want to be useful. So I'm searching for symbols and forms all the time, different ones. Whether it be a mound, whether it'd be a swimming pool inside an art gallery or a singing park bench or a post-Colonial bench in Pennsbury Manor, in some ways you could say I would be indigenizing and musicalizing those benches. But I consciously work to have a very broad palette. I want my work to be expansive and be able to encompass any subject or idea, because that's why I got into art is because you can talk about anything.

Li: Yeah, it's boundless. It's boundless. Then also thinking about the connections and the symbols that you mentioned, the colors that you mentioned, the iconography, what systems of power might they be connected to?

Nathan: Well, ultimately, I think that most of the power that is embedded in these symbols comes from the sublime, that come from the sacred. It's complicated. The sacred means to not be touched. That's my understanding, it's to not be touched. However, it's been the source of inspiration for artists of any continent of any time is, if you want to call it, a spiritual, sublime, religious connection, inspiration, whatever, but ultimately, that is my understanding. From my research, even as a young person studying Pawnee mythologies at the University of Oklahoma and special collection and learning stories, our origin stories and what color meant and how the world was seen by my ancestors from other tribes as well as Lenape stories, it's something that's hard to grasp and to hold onto, but that's how we've come to identify each other. It's as simple as we have car tags here that represent our tribes. We have a compact with the state. So everybody's looking around at all these different car tags.

Li: Wow.

Nathan: You see a regular Oklahoma one, and then you'll see... A very common one is a Cherokee because they're one of the biggest tribes. You'll see a blue one, it's Pawnee. Now you'll see a red one, and it's Delaware or Lenape. It says Unami Lenape on it, and it has our seal. So we play this kind of game all of us. I mean, it's not a game, but we're always looking at license plates to see... It might be your mom's car you're driving that has, say, a Kickapoo license plate or something, and it's a Cherokee driving it or a non-Indian or something, a relative, say. It's not for me to say where these came from. It's something that I actually just really explore and that fascinates me. It's very rich growing up and being a member of my tribal communities. I learn something new almost daily.

Li: I can imagine like you said, the learning experience that you have as a child growing up in your community. You mentioned mythologies earlier. I study mythology. One of the purposes I've come to understand is education, educating through these stories. I recently interviewed Jesse Hagopian from the Zinn Education Project and the movement for anti-racist education. The struggles for education reform and reckoning with Eurocentric understandings of history seem to be deeply connected efforts. So on nkwiluntàmën, I understand an educational curriculum has been developed for younger audiences. What do you hope that people take away from this project that they might not find in a textbook or a classroom?

Nathan: Well, I would hope that when people visit the large-scale sound installation and visual elements of it that they would understand... my greatest hope that people would learn what I learned while creating the work was that I really don't know what it felt like. I just came across, I was looking for the words in the Delaware Talking Dictionary for feelings, and I found a sentence or a way of saying feeling that said, "It did not penetrate me. I did not feel it." It made me realize that I don't know. I've never had this happen to me. The history of the Delaware Lenape is of constant removal, of constant pushing. Most people know the Cherokee Nation and the Trail of Tears. Actually, there were many movements of the Cherokee. It's very complex. All tribes are very complex. You always have to qualify. But the Trail of Tears is what most people know about. It was this very long, two-year complex journey. It was fraught.

Li: That's one of the stories that we learned in school, if at all.

Nathan: So our story is of nine of those and, to my understanding and research, was about once every 30 years. So it seemed to me that most Lenape, who came to be known as the Delaware Tribe, who I grew up with as, had ancestors that had experienced a removal. It's something that we still live and deal with today. We came to Oklahoma from what is now Lawrence, Kansas, when this was called Indian Territory. We had been living before that north of Kansas and had adapted our way of life as we changed across this territory and through time to survive.

So as we moved into the Plains, we started to hunt buffalo, and then we get kind of crosswise with some other tribes. I think when the federal government was constituting Indian Country, they were concerned with the relationships between other tribes and how they felt. My understanding is we had upset some... By Buffalo hunting and adopting that way of survival and life, there was some trepidation about us. They wanted our reservation. The railroad wanted our reservation, and Lawrence, Kansas, to run directly through our reservation. They were forcing us to move off that reservation, and they couldn't find a place. That was kind of my understanding of the situation. So we ended up in the northernmost part of the Cherokee Nation. This made us a landless tribe for a very, very long time. Technically, we didn't have a reservation. We were living in the Cherokee's reservation because we had this very ancient but kind of tangential connection to the Cherokees. So that's a very long and complicated story as well.

Li: That's actually a beautiful setup for one of my last questions actually. This idea of documentation and stewardship are key for Indigenous communities, as you just mentioned, that continue to contend with stolen land, forest displacements, cultural erasure, and lost languages. Monument Lab thinks a lot about the future archives that can hold the dynamic nature of public memory in all its forms. What would a future archive of ancestral memory look, feel, or even sound like for you?

Nathan Young: I love that question because we do work with future archives of our ancestors, all of us do today. So I think it's really a question of form. I've encountered this in my studies of Sonic Agency and Indigenous Sonic Agency. The invention of the phonograph and the wax cylinder are very important. It didn't look like anything. It looked like sound or that archive. I think that unknowingly, we're all living in an archive. We're archiving moments now as things speed up constantly. Paul Virilio, the theorist, was very, very important to my thinking because he theorized about speed and the speed of, say, how a camera shutter and a gun are very similar in their repeatingness. I think about repetition a lot. But today, we live in this hyper surveillance society that any moment could be archived, any moment could be filmed, and also these things will be lost. So that is a fascinating thought to think about what may survive and become the archive and what may not, even with all of this effort to constantly surveil and document everything.

But it's my hope that archives are important just because they give us a deeper understanding of a connection to something we will never be able to experience. So I think that a future archive is something that we cannot imagine. We don't know what it's going to look like, and it's up to us to find out and to explore form and explore possibilities so that we're not stuck in this mindset that has to be in steel and monumentalized as a figure or a person or something like that. So in my mind, it's just to be revealed to us. We'll know later, but I would hope that were to make...

I know this is what people still do today that make monuments. They want to make something beautiful, but that means something different to Lenape or a Pawnee or Kiowa, so that seems very different to us. And so we do that. We do memorialize things in different ways. But I think that we think of them as more ethereal, whether we think of them as things that we know that aren't going to really last forever. I feel that way, at least. I don't speak for all of my culture. But I know that some of us are trying to find new forms to really memorialize our past and unite our community of memory and our tribes, our experiences.

Li: Like you said, time, everything's moving so fast and everything's evolving. Everything's constantly changing. So who knows what the forms will take. This has been such a wonderful conversation. I really appreciate your time. I just wanted to see if you had any final words or even gems of ancestral wisdom you might want to leave with us before we finish.

Nathan: No, I can't share any ancestral wisdom, not knowingly or very well. I just appreciate the opportunity to create the piece. I appreciate the opportunity to expand upon the piece by talking with you about this because I'm just trying to figure this out. I don't have all the answers.

Li: Right, that is part of  being a life learner and walking this path. Everyone's on their journey. We are constantly learning at every turn. I'm with you, Nathan. I often admit that I do not have all the answers. That is for sure. I really enjoyed learning about your work and your practice. I definitely plan on getting down to Pennsbury Manor and look forward to the curriculum for the youth when it comes out.

Nathan: Well, thank you. I hope you enjoy it. I hope that it's a meaningful experience for you. I'm a very fortunate person to be able to work on such a project and very grateful to the entire team and everybody that supported the process.

Li: Thank you, and thank you again to Ryan Strand Greenberg, who is also the producer of this podcast and worked with you on the project for nkwiluntàmën. Thank you to Nathan Young, our guest today on Future Memory. This is another one for the Future Memory archives.

Monument Lab Future Memory is produced by Monument Lab Studio, Paul Farber, Li Sumpter, Ryan Strand Greenberg, Aubree Penney, and Nico Rodriguez. Our producing partner for Future Memory is RADIOKISMET, with special thanks to Justin Berger and the Christopher Plant. This season was supported with generous funding by the Stuart Weitzman School of Design and the University of Pennsylvania.