The Experiential World of D’Arcy McNickle was originally made possible through an Undergraduate Research Consultant Team grant from the Office of Undergraduate Research at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill that lasted from January 2020 to May 2021.

Building on Professor Dan Cobb’s ongoing research, the URCT adopted innovative research methods and ways of approaching biography to seek new ways of imagining and representing the experiential world of D’Arcy McNickle (1904-1977), a citizen of the Confederated Salish-Kootenai Tribes of the Flathead Nation in Montana and one of the twentieth century’s most influential American Indian writers, intellectuals, and activists.

At the heart of the project is D’Arcy McNickle’s diary, which is housed in The Newberry Library in Chicago, Illinois and where Professor Cobb served as the Assistant Director of the D’Arcy McNickle Center for American Indian and Indigenous Studies from 2003 to 2004.

After transcribing, deconstructing, and contextualizing a large portion of McNickle’s diary, Cobb and the URCT decided to represent the insights gained through several modes: this website, a ClioVis timeline and Google Earth story map based on a trip he took to the Southwest in 1942, and The D’Arcy McNickle Interpretive Garden, a temporary exhibit created in partnership with the Carolina Community Garden at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

May 2022 will see the addition of two new features:  “Experiencing The Garden,” a website that provides a virtual tour of The D’Arcy McNickle Interpretive Garden and “A Transatlantic Voyage, 1931,” another Google Earth story map.

The pages associated with this website invite you to imagine the diary as a window into the experiential world and remarkable life of an Indigenous person who, in entry upon entry, literally and figuratively wrote his “self” and sense of belonging into a world radically transformed by settler colonialism. In so doing, his diary serves as testimony to Indigenous creativity, brilliance, and resilience.

The members of the original Undergraduate Research Team included Mackenzie Collura-Repp, Samara Perez Labra, Gabrielle Walton, and Grace Yannotta. Mackenzie Collura-Repp and Duke University doctoral student Nova Déjardin are working with Professor Cobb to create “A Transatlantic Voyage, 1931” and the students in AMST 341, with assistance from Cobb and Collura-Repp, are creating the “Experiencing The Garden” virtual tour.

On behalf of all involved in this project, Professor Dan Cobb thanks Claire Lorch, Joanna Massey Lelekacs, Boots Quimby, and everyone at the Carolina Community Garden, North Carolina Botanical Garden, and Office of Undergraduate Research for their support!. A special note of thanks is also due to Dr. Gabe Moss of the UNC Digital History Lab for critical assistance with getting started on Google Earth. Craig Gill and Maddie McGrady of the DHL provided additional support on “Experiencing The Garden.”