When we—Shantel Keys, Graham Caesar and Caitlin Ottenbreit—were considering topics for this website, we knew from the start that we wanted to examine an aspect of Victorian Victoria's underworld. We did not know when we started research how many obstacles we would face along the road to the understanding we sought of the position of Native women, and Native dance halls, in the time period.
Because we selected a topic that was hidden under layers of taboo and euphemism, we found it incredibly difficult to find sources and photographs. This was frustrating, because despite our enthusiasm for the project, we quickly came to the understanding that this was not going to be an easy topic to pursue. Thanks to the myriad of euphemisms, the lack of consistent documentation, and the fact that because of both their race and their profession most of the women whose lives we wanted to uncover were ignored and left nameless, it was nearly impossible to follow a smooth, organized path through the topic. We were forced, as historians often are, to pursue our goal by a very round-about manner.
We also faced problems keeping our topic to a micro-historical scale. As we worked through the articles we were uncovering, we found it very easy to draw connections to the macro-historical context that our topic fits into; however, because many of the newspaper articles that make up the bulk of our sources were not directly connected to one another, it was difficult to determine where we wanted to focus our thesis to the specific topics that we were considering.
Our group found that Microhistory lends itself well to a website rather than an essay format. This project has been informative for all of us in pushing us to understand the methods of research, article writing, and webpage building. All these sklls are necessary to working on a microhistorical project of this type. This site is built to be explored in a way that suits the browser, not the authors. The information is accessible through any number of avenues, allowing for researchers and students to glean what ever level of information they wish, in which ever method best suits them.