Stealing the Turtle’s Voice

Stealing the Turtle’s Voice: A Dual History of Western and Algonquian-Iroquoian Soundways from Creation to Re-creation (2018)

By Michaela Ann Cameron

Abstract: Stealing the Turtle’s Voice (former working title: “The Jesuit Relations Remastered”) brings the oppressed geography or “cosmography” of Turtle Island (Native North America) to the surface of the mainstream along with the sacred history of this forgotten place, submerged beneath European maps and histories for centuries.

To this end, Stealing the Turtle’s Voice traces the development of the western harmonic tradition and the subsequent mythical “narrative of conquest” that has dominated “the master record” of history; a narrative in which the sounds of Christian European modernity completely drowned out and destroyed the so-called primitive “howling wilderness” of Native North America and in which the “vanishing Indian” was also a silenced Indian. The thesis then listens below this “white noise” and turns up the volume on the Algonquian-Iroquoian rhythmic tradition in order to “remaster the record.” The result is a story, not merely of conquest and destruction but of Turtle Island’s sustained sonic sovereignty and re-creation via sound-based neurodecolonisation.

The thesis draws on musicology, psychoacoustics, anthropology, linguistics, and archaeoacoustics to generate a narrative that simultaneously spans, in a material sense, from pre-contact to the present-day Powwow and, in a spiritual sense, from creation to re-creation.

PhD Examiners:

  • Philip J. Deloria, Harvard University
  • N. Bruce Duthu, Dartmouth College
  • Mark M. Smith, University of South Carolina


Michaela Ann Cameron – Stealing the Turtle’s Voice (2018)

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Title: Stealing the Turtle’s Voice: A Dual History of Western and Algonquian-Iroquoian Soundways from Creation to Re-creation

Author: Cameron, Michaela Ann

Keywords: sensory history | aural history | audition | sound | soundscape | acoustemology | Ethnohistory | Jesuits | Native American | American History | Colonial History | Seventeenth-Century New France | Early America | Turtle Island |

Submission Date: 14 February 2018

Examination Pass Date: 11 May 2018

Document Issue Date: 16 May 2018

Publisher: Department of History, Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences, University of Sydney

Access Level: Open access

Rights and Permissions: The author retains copyright of this thesis. It may only be used for the purposes of research and study. It must not be used for any other purposes and may not be transmitted or shared with others without prior permission.

Type of Work: PhD Doctorate

Type of Publication: Doctor of Philosophy, PhD