FORGING NEW PARTNERSHIPS: COAST SALISH COMMUNITIES AND MUSEUMS by Sharon Michelle Fortney M.A. University of British Columbia, 2001 B.A. University of Calgary, 1996 A THESIS SUBMITTED IN PARTIAL FULFILLMENT OF THE REQUIREMENTS FOR THE DEGREE OF DOCTOR OF PHILOSOPHY in The Faculty of Graduate Studies (Anthropology) THE UNIVERSITY OF BRITISH COLUMBIA (Vancouver) September 2009 Sharon Michelle Fortney, 2009 ii ABSTRACT In recent years, much has been written about the changing relationships between museum professionals and First Nations. However, most of these accounts have been authored by the former group, while First Nations perspectives are conveyed through second hand accounts or less frequently the writings of indigenous scholars and artists. This thesis explores another type of viewpoint by presenting perspectives shared by individuals living and working in Coast Salish communities in Canada and the United States. The intent is to gain a clearer picture of something that has been referred to as the “democratization of the museum” by Canadian museum professionals such as Duncan Cameron (1982). Has access to museums and their resources dramatically increased? Is this reflected in current museum practice, exhibits, and public programs? To better understand the current status of community and museum partnerships I explore what drives Coast Salish communities to participate in museum representations (and other public commemorations). I also discuss some of the legal implications such representations have for establishing or defending aboriginal rights and title. From this vantage point I proceed to explore specific museum projects and partnerships, analysing the diverse experiences of those Coast Salish individuals who were invited and then chose to participate in this research project. A critique of museums results, but it is presented with the intent of providing a moment of reflexivity – an opportunity to re- evaluate current museum and community interactions, so that we can take another step forward on the path to equal partnership. iii TABLE OF CONTENTS Abstract ............................................................................................................................ ii Table of Contents ............................................................................................................ iii List of Tables .................................................................................................................. iv List of Figures .................................................................................................................. v Acknowledgements .......................................................................................................... vi 1: Representing the Other in the 21 st Century ................................................................. 1 2: Perspectives on Indigenous Memory and Identity .................................................... 38 3: Museums and Social Justice: Perspectives from the So-called “New World” .......... 68 4: Gathering Strength: An Overview of Coast Salish Representations ........................ 99 5: Returning to the Beginning – Examining the Emergence of a Partnership Between Musqueam and MOA ............................................................................... 145 6: Creating A Public Identity at Musqueam ............................................................... 170 7: Canadian Communities and their Museum Relations.............................................. 216 8: Alternative Routes, Coast Salish Representation in the United States .................... 268 9: Final Thoughts, Creating Coast Salish Memory and Identity in the 21 st C ............ 299 Unpublished Sources ................................................................................................... 309 Bibliography ................................................................................................................ 310 Appendix A: Behaviour Research Ethics Board Certificate ....................................... 333 Appendix B: List of Coast Salish Peoples .................................................................. 334 iv LIST OF TABLES Table 1: People assigned to Museum Work from within Coast Salish Communities ................................................................................................65 Table 2: Culture Bias in Northwest Coast Museum Collections .............................110 Table 3: Overview of Recent Canadian Coast Salish Exhibits and Commemorative Activity ...........................................................................113 Table 4: Overview of Recent American and International Coast Salish Exhibits and Commemorative Activity ....................................................................115 Table 5: Sites of Coast Salish Representations .........................................................127 Table 6: Overview of Active Engagement with Museums ......................................240 Table 7: Sites of Canadian Representations organised by Community ...................242 Table 8: Coast Salish Communities with Cultural Centres ......................................280 Table 9: Coast Salish First Nations from British Columbia ....................................334 Table 10: Coast Salish Tribes from Washington State ..............................................336 v LIST OF FIGURES Figure 1: The Skagit River Atlatl (Spear Thrower) .....................................................33 Figure 2: Duwamish Longhouse Floor with inlayed basketry design by Shla'dai' ...................................................................................................45 Figure 3: Xá:ytem Interpreter sharing the history of the Transformer Stone ...............48 Figure 4: Visitors from the North – Totem Poles in Stanley Park ..............................95 Figure 5: Visions of Power, Symbols of Wealth exhibit curated by Dr. Michael Kew ........................................................................................111 Figure 6: Frequency of Coast Salish exhibits between 1980-2009 ............................116 Figure 7: The student exhibit, Contemporary Salish Weaving, Continuity and Change, featuring the Salish Weaver‟s Guild ............................................122 Figure 8: To Wash Away the Tears component of the Gathering Strength Gallery .......................................................................................................165 Figure 9: Coast Salish Gateway designed by Susan Point for Stanley Park .............219 Figure 10: Wáxayus (Salmon Chief Figure) and a smaller carving by August Jack Khatsahlano in Stituyntm - Enduring Traditions at the West Vancouver Museum. .....................................................................................................222 Figure 11: “Gateway to Ancient Wisdom” by Skwxwú7mesh artist Wade Baker adjacent to the Mosquito Creek Marina in North Vancouver ....................226 Figure 12: T’xwelátse Visits the UBC Museum of Anthropology ..............................250 Figure 13: Entrance to Honouring the Basket Makers exhibit at the Vancouver Museum ......................................................................................................259 Figure 14: Weavings created for the Squamish Lil‟wat Cultural Centre in Whistler, B.C. ............................................................................................281 Figure 15: The Newly Opened Squamish Lil‟wat Cultural Centre in Whistler, B.C. ............................................................................................304 vi ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS Many people made this research possible, some by contributing their words, others by acts of encouragement – all of them through the generous gift of their time. First I raise my hands to the friends and colleagues who allowed me to interview them: Leona Sparrow, Rose Point, Larry Grant, Deborah Jacobs, Sonny McHalsie, Herb Joe Sr., Geraldine Manson, Mary Lou Slaughter, Shaun Peterson, Victor Guerin, Debra Sparrow, Vivian Campbell, Aaron Nelson Moody, Terry Point, and Heather Johnson Jock. I have done my best to convey your experiences in a manner that respects your intentions and experiences. There were many other people from the Coast Salish world who assisted my research, indirectly or with intent, and I thank them also. I also extend my appreciation to those individuals who contributed directly to my education and changed the way I look at the world – Sue Rowley, Bruce G. Miller, Charlotte Townsend Gault, the late Michael Ames, Julie Cruikshank, Peter Seixas, Pam Brown, Jennifer Kramer, and Charles Menzies. I personally thank Barbara Brotherton, Curator of Native Art at SAM for including me on the advisory council for S’abadeb. This was a significant learning experience for me, and I am grateful for the opportunity. I also acknowledge Mrs. Cordula Paetzold for the fellowships I received in her name through the First Nations House of Learning, without this support I would not have completed this degree. Finally, I recognise my family – my husband Michael and daughter Emma who left me to my own devices for countless weekends so I could write, and for their many acts large and small that helped along the way. I also acknowledge my parents, Linda and Dieter Waetzold – the ones who first introduced me to museums. 1 Chapter One: Representing the Other in the 21 st Century Decisions about how cultures are presented reflect deeper judgments of power and authority and can, indeed, resolve themselves into claims about what a nation is or ought to be as well as how citizens should relate to one another (Karp and Levine 1991:2). Museums have begun to see source communities as an important audience for exhibitions, and to consider how museum representations are perceived by and affect source community members. In some parts of the world this shift has occurred in the context of changing relations of power, so that source community members have come to be defined as authorities on their own cultures and material heritage (Peers and Brown 2003:1). For more than a century, museums have represented indigenous peoples while silencing their voices. Only recently have indigenous peoples begun to intercede in those representations. What has brought about this transformation in museum practice? Why do First Nations in Canada and the United States now want to work with museums and other cultural institutions? As an indigenous scholar, I pose the question whether this change reflects a new willingness on the part of curatorial staff to include source communities, or have community members found something in museums that serves their own needs? In this thesis I explore these questions by examining the types of relationships that have formed between Coast Salish communities and museums. In the process I offer a critique of museums by examining how Coast Salish culture is represented through museum exhibits and public programs. My intent is to provide a mechanism for communities to share what they have learned through their work with museums. For those who are new to the process, I hope this research will be helpful for defining future goals and processes. For those more experienced in working with museums, I hope that revisiting past steps provides an opportunity to reflect upon current relationships – possibly suggesting new directions. For those working in cultural centres, and other community initiated cultural programs, I 2 hope it serves as a reminder of the limitations of following museum models of representation and preservation too closely. Beginning in the 1970s museum professionals, and other academics engaged in humanistic studies, started to question long-standing assumptions about their authority to represent other peoples, recognising that such endeavours could hardly be viewed as scientific or objective in nature (Nason 1971; Spivak 1987; Price 1989; Karp and Levine 1991; Kahn 2000). While some argued for the inclusion of native voices, a form of multi-vocality that equally recognised the viewpoints of both the academic “expert” and those of his or her “subject” (Ames 1992; Phillips and Steiner 1998), others sought the means to facilitate indigenous voices, highlighting these alternative viewpoints, in professional practices and writings (Graburn 1976; Karp and Levine 1991; Cruikshank 1990; Peers and Brown 2003). Increasingly this has been accomplished by presenting interview transcripts in their entirety, or with minimal editing, to ensure that context does not alter a speaker‟s original intent (see Spradley 1969; Pennier 1972; Sparrow 1976; Hilbert 1980; Bennett and Rowley 2003; Reid 2004; Arnett 2007). This new introspection has also resulted in a growing body of literature concerning ethnographic collections and the politics of representation, which is seen by many as the foundations of a new critical museology (Cameron 1982, 1992; Pearce 1989; Inglis and Abbott 1991; Karp and Levine 1991; Ames 1992; Henry 1995; Doxtator 1996; Cruikshank 1998; McMaster 1998; Phillips and Steiner 1998; Butler 1999; McLoughlin 1999; Peers and Brown 2003). In these writings museum professionals, and other academics, critique long-standing museum traditions and probe the importance of objects as sites of memory, and as integral components of living cultures. Many of these authors 3 also discuss museums as sites of contested representations, recognising their ideological nature and their legacy as implements of colonial power (Clifford 1988; Price 1989; Ames 1992; Barringer and Flynn 1998; Phillips and Steiner 1998; Butler 1999; Hendry 2005; Shelton 2007). They suggest that museums with ethnographic collections are taking steps away from their roots, as institutions of colonialism, towards establishing a greater relevance for the communities that they represent – and sometimes serve. Protocol agreements, memoranda of understanding, the creation of advisory councils, and collaborative exhibits, are just some of the ways museums in Canada and the United States have tried to accommodate change. In Canada, many of these changes follow in the wake of the controversy that accompanied the 1988 Glenbow Museum exhibit “The Spirit Sings.” While actual protest centred upon the practices of the exhibit‟s sponsor, rather than the content of the exhibit itself – which was celebratory in nature (Harrison 1995), the result was the formation of a joint Task Force by the Canadian Museums Association and the Assembly of First Nations (Nicks and Hill 1992). In 1992, the Task Force released a report detailing several recommendations for making Canadian museums more inclusive as well as sensitive to the aspirations of First Nations people. Ultimately, it was left to museums to determine whether or not they would follow any, or all, of the report‟s recommendations. Museum professionals have reported that this document has revolutionised how they do business (Nicks 1992; Pettipas 1993; Conaty 2003; Bolton 2005). During my research Coast Salish community members concurred that positive changes were occurring in museum practice. However, some still reported experiencing 4 difficulties in dealings with smaller museums, or larger ones located outside of their immediate area. It is difficult to measure the effectiveness of the Task Force Report, especially when similar changes in museum practice have been occurring in the United States and other nations suggesting a global rather than national phenomenon (Karp and Levine 1991; Kahn 2000; Peers and Brown 2003). However, in Canada many museums still look to the report for guidance in establishing or improving their relationships with local First Nations (Pettipas 1993; Bolton 2005). Only a few have reported moving beyond its recommendations to address the needs of specific communities (Ames 1999; Phillips 2003; Conaty 2003). In the Task Force Report a ten year review of progress was recommended (Nicks and Hill 1992), but at present effectiveness has only been addressed through a limited number of case studies (Pettipas 1993; Bolton 2005) and a symposium hosted by the Alberta College of Art and Design and the Glenbow Museum in March of 2008 titled, Legacies and Futures: Beyond the Spirit Sings. Curatorial writings are another place where, to some extent, the effectiveness of the Task Force Report is revealed, as Canadian museum professionals share their experiences working with First Nations and implementing new protocols (Holm and Pokotylo 1997; Cruikshank 1998; Ames 1999; Conaty 2003). The Glenbow Museum‟s Ethnology Department, for example, has implemented a number of new policies and procedures since the 1990s aimed at changing the institution‟s relationship with local Nitsitapiisinni (Blackfoot peoples). Senior Ethnology Curator, Gerald Conaty, who worked with community members on the permanent exhibit, Nitsitapiisinni: Our Way of Life, notes that: “as the Blackfoot became more 5 frequent visitors at Glenbow, their sense of ownership in the project and in the museum grew” (2003:231). However, viewpoints like this still reflect the experiences of individual museum professionals, and as such continue to tell only one side of the story. How do indigenous people, themselves, feel about the work they do in museums? How much of an active role do they actually play in exhibiting themselves? Currently, there is an absence of voice regarding indigenous perspectives on this issue. Indigenous artists and scholars have begun to discuss these, and other, types of representational issues (Sarris 1993; Callison 1995; McMaster 1998; Battiste and Youngblood Henderson 2000). However, their perspectives often represent a specialised segment of the indigenous community, since many are writing as members of the same academic communities they are critiquing – as university based scholars, visiting artists, or museum curators. In this thesis I consider another type of indigenous perspective by focusing on the experiences of Coast Salish band and tribal employees who fulfill the role of museum liaison for their respective communities. Their experiences are diverse – some of those featured have university degrees, some have completed museum internships, while others engage with museums as cultural experts or artists. Some individuals fulfill more than one of these roles. To acknowledge that differing perspectives exist, not only between communities but within them, I selected one community for in-depth study. At Musqueam, I explored the experiences of several community members who are regularly consulted by museums (and others in their community) for their cultural and/or professional expertise to gain more detailed insights into why community members elect to work with museums. 6 Throughout the overall process, the impetus behind the growing involvement of indigenous communities in museum work is also considered. For this research representatives were consulted from Coast Salish communities in Canada and the United States. Those who participated reported a diversity of experiences, in some areas they identified similar priorities while in others their expectations and aspirations diverged. This is to be expected since their shared Coast Salish identity is in many ways an anthropological and linguistic construct. Historian Alexandra Harmon notes: If there is one element of an ethnic identity, it is a collective history. Other characteristics – race, biological lineage, territorial concentration, language, religion, economic specialisation, or unique customs – may set an ethnic group apart, but none is an essential “building block of ethnicity.” Every ethnic group, however, relies on depiction of a common past to express and foster the idea that it consists of a single people with a distinct role in historical events (2007:30). She goes on to suggest that there “does not appear to be a unitary Coast Salish ethnic group” (30). Today, some groups (or individual members) choose instead to express themselves through their local identities, with histories that tie them to specific places, thereby dispelling with the broader regional identity invoked by the term Coast Salish. They do not subscribe to the belief that they are unified with their neighbours under the umbrella of collective history. Harmon adds: Nevertheless, the notion of a single, inclusive Coast Salish history is not outlandish. On the contrary, anthropologists‟ concept of a Coast Salish people was inspired not only by linguistic similarities, but also by evidence of past and persisting commonalities and connections of other sorts. The concept points to a useful way of framing a history – one that may be superior in some respects to the standard political frameworks (2007:30). 7 It is also useful to consider that identity is a two-sided coin, it is not just about how we perceive ourselves, but also how we are perceived by others. What is of interest here is whether one side of the coin is given more attention than the other, and why? Coast Salish community members still report participating in museum exhibits designed using a top-down approach, with curators deciding the content and format of exhibits. In 2002, for example, community liaisons from Musqueam, Skwxwú7mesh, and Tsleil-Waututh were asked by the Vancouver Museum to partner on exhibits for the Joyce Walley Learning Centre (JWLC) – an expansion project that would house education galleries and public programming space. Despite initial assurances that they would be involved in all aspects of the exhibit, First Nations liaisons were not asked for contributions until the museum and its graphic designers had completed a storyline and gallery plan for the space. At this point, I was hired by the museum as a First Nations Program Developer and tasked with obtaining content for an untitled “First Nations Unit.” Problems arose when the selected theme, City Building, was revealed to the partner communities. The liaisons viewed the notion of City Building as “a painful one.” One representative commented that it evoked and celebrated colonialism, while another observed that First Nations culture was being “ghettoised” to a separate unit rather than being integrated throughout the entire space. All three wanted their histories to be included throughout the JWLC – especially in the unit that spoke to immigration stories, since this provided an opportunity to talk about how community members had been displaced from the city, including the very site upon which the Vancouver Museum now sits, to accommodate newcomers. 8 The liaisons felt the JWLC‟s existing storyline was contrary to their earlier negotiations with the museum, at which staff had agreed First Nations history would be included as a continuous, unbroken thread throughout all of the museum‟s history galleries. This type of representation would convey to visitors the vibrancy of local First Nations communities – raising awareness of their present day status without denying the antiquity of their cultures. Because the museum did not share the same concept of partnership as the community liaisons, staff found themselves in the position of revisiting exhibit storylines in an effort to address expressed concerns. This was challenging for staff members who viewed the City Building storyline as a “strong one” and the resulting changes as “weakening” what they were trying to achieve. The need to revisit design concepts also impacted the project‟s budget and timelines, creating stress and tension amidst museum staff – myself included as the bearer of this bad news. Community involvement in the above scenario was restricted to filling in the blanks; it was reactive rather than creative. This type of participation cannot be considered truly collaborative, as the power relationship between the key players was not balanced. This thesis will, therefore, also explore some of the strategies that Coast Salish museum liaisons undertake to compensate for these imbalances where and when they do occur. 9 Understanding Museum Consultation To better understand how museum professionals work with First Nations and other source communities requires a clearer sense of their original intentions. Museum professionals and other academics often speak of their “collaborations” and “partnerships” with source communities, but some tend to be careless or imprecise when it comes to conveying how they define these terms. In the academic literature, at conferences, and in day to day business, the language of consultation is broadly applied to a diversity of encounters. This is partnered with a reticence to discuss situations where working relationships broke down. Success stories abound, while failures are omitted. Knowledge of both is required if museum professionals want to critically examine their practices, and redefine their working relationships with source communities (see Holm and Pokotylo 1997; Kahn 2000). In my personal experience, difficulties most often arise when museum staff and their First Nations counterparts enter a project with different expectations as to how and when consultation will occur. For example, use of the term “partnership” implies a different level of commitment than use of the term “consultation.” The former suggests a more intensive working relationship – one with a sense of equality in decision making, while the latter evokes a scenario of intermittent exchanges where advice may be given and followed at the discretion of the instigator. To attain a true partnership requires a significant investment of time, the blending of creative ideas and professional knowledge from both parties, and a commitment that extends beyond a single project or event. I suggest that it involves an ongoing relationship, spanning multiple projects, because it takes time to build trust, identify a suitable process, and attain the types of insights (on 10 both sides) that enables new forms of exhibits and story telling to emerge. Similarly, if museums are to be relevant to the various local communities comprising their audience (indigenous, settler, and/or recent immigrants), engagement must be ongoing and not an isolated event. When it comes to cultural representations, as opposed to artistic ones, establishing a partnership requires the involvement of multiple individuals from a single source community. This enables museum professionals to recognise divergent viewpoints and experiences within a source community – gender, age, occupation, and education (traditional or westernised), while coming to terms with their own personal cultural expectations. Native American author Greg Sarris explores this idea in detail his book, “Keeping Slug Woman Alive (1993),” demonstrating that those engaged in the act of translation – museum exhibitors, collectors, autobiograhers, and anthropologists, filter what they observe, collect, and document through the lens of their own cultural experiences. Claims to objectivity, concern for authentic versions of stories (myths), the ethnographic present, and other methodological ploys are normalising mechanisms that reorganise experiences of culture contact. The narrator, translator, and reader, all bring their respective cultural frameworks into the process of storytelling, each modifying the act of interpretation in response to their expectations of the other participants (Sarris 1993). The same is true within source communities, since individual members must negotiate obligations determined by family memberships, community traditions, and individual life experiences. Working with multiple source communities adds another level of complexity to this scenario, since it likewise cannot be assumed that the experiences of different 11 communities are uniform. Nor should it be assumed they will have the same expectations of a working relationship, whether it is labelled a “partnership” or “community consultation.” I have observed several occasions where experienced museum liaisons had different expectations than those embarking on a museum initiative for the first time, since their expectations were coloured by past negotiations and outcomes. They not only expected a seat at the table, but they also wanted to participate in each stage of project development – from grant applications to timelines, venue selection, fundraising, research, storyline development, installation, public programming and marketing. Problems arise when time is not allocated for discussion of how “partners” will work together, to detail expectations, and outline protocols for conflict resolution if, and when, it arises. Similarly, museums that respond with a formulaic process for consultation often quickly discover that one size does not fit all – communities have different histories and circumstances, and their aspirations for museum projects will be influenced by those factors. Therefore, to avoid confusion, in this thesis the term “consultation” is used to refer to all scenarios where museum professionals invited communities to participate in a predetermined museum exhibit or public program through the mechanism of an advisory council or by attendance at planning sessions. A “collaborative” relationship is one that goes beyond information sharing, where source communities (or individual artists) are able to affect final outcomes of a project. In this scenario, collaboration extends beyond providing interpretation (words and images) for a selected theme to encompass control over determining what is suitable for display and the appropriate ways of showing it. The term “partnership” is used to describe an ongoing collaborative relationship between an 12 institution and a community – one involving regular interactions between the two parties, where community members do more than respond to museum initiatives, but are able to instigate projects and assist with determining future museum mandates. The key difference between the two forms of consultation discussed is the extent of the involvement, namely length of time involved and level of authority. The latter referring to who exerts control over final decision making on cultural representations – museum staff or community members? This need for clarity is not restricted to the museum world, but has implications for aboriginal law as well. The recent legal case Haida Nation vs. British Columbia (Minister of Forests) set a precedent in the area or resource rights by distinguishing three levels of community involvement – consultation, deep consultation, and accommodation. These have been summarised as follows: „Consultation‟ in its least technical definition is talking together for mutual understanding… While precise requirements may vary with the circumstances, deep consultation may entail: the opportunity to make submissions for consideration formal participation in the decision-making process written reasons to show that Aboriginal concerns were considered and to reveal the impact that they had on the decision. The list is neither exhaustive, nor mandatory for every case… The issue of accommodation arises where the consultation process discloses a strong case supporting the asserted aboriginal right and the consequences of the proposed government decision may adversely affect the right in a significant way… Accommodation requires a process of seeking compromise in an attempt to harmonize the conflicting interests of the Crown and First Nation (Barr and Schnuerer 2005:4). In the above case of law, the duty to consult was not extended to the private sector, but remained with the crown – the entity responsible for “sovereignty lands.” 13 For museums the issue of consultation is more discretionary in nature – with the exception of specific circumstances, such as repatriation, covered by legislation in the United States. For this reason, it is not uncommon to still see examples of consultation where there is little depth to the process. I have heard a variety of terms used to describe such processes, including: “faux collaboration”, “no collaboration”, “ignored collaboration”, and “information sharing.” Whatever the label applied, the reality is that an imbalance of power remains – in many institutions museum staff still determine how much input source communities will have in representing their cultures, how much they will be able to retain control over collections, and whether they will be able to access the funding awarded for exhibits and public programmes. This will be demonstrated by specific examples throughout this thesis. Research Methods: This thesis, like many other scholarly works, draws upon a number of sources. These include my personal professional experiences, relevant academic literature, archival research undertaken at the UBC Museum of Anthropology, and most importantly transcribed interviews conducted with other Coast Salish community members using the methods of in-person expert interviews, a focus group, emailed correspondence, tape- recorded telephone interviews, and participant observation. In order to present a case study that would reflect events occurring throughout the Coast Salish world, individuals were selected from communities located in the Lower Mainland of British Columbia, on adjacent Vancouver Island, and in Washington State. Community members assigned the role of museum liaison, when such a position existed, 14 were selected for these expert interviews whenever possible. In many instances, those contacted were already known to me through previous projects done on behalf of local cultural institutions such as the UBC Museum of Anthropology, the Department of Canadian Heritage, the Vancouver Museum, the West Vancouver Museum, the Seattle Art Museum, and the Squamish Lil‟wat Cultural Centre. Due to the realities of day to day life I was unable to interview everyone I had planned to consult. One representative from Vancouver Island was hospitalised before I could contact her, and sadly later passed away. Thus, I adapted my research strategy by interviewing other cultural experts (such as artists) referred to me by these friends and acquaintances, and by supplementing information from other published sources (books and newspapers). The community of Musqueam was selected for in-depth examination, because of its longstanding and well-documented relationship with the UBC Museum of Anthropology. At Musqueam, I conducted an interview with the community‟s museum liaison, Leona Sparrow – who is also the Director of Treaty, Lands and Resources, on August 2, 2006. This was followed by a focus group on August 16, 2006. This focus group coincided with a number of cultural incidents, including several deaths in the community of Qu‟wutsun‟ and a last minute fisheries opening, resulting in low attendance. In addition to these special circumstances, a few invited people chose not to attend because they are not interested in museums, or they did not want to become research subjects since it is not relevant to their daily lives. To compensate, I later conducted individual interviews with some of those who could not attend, but expressed a willingness to participate, and with other cultural experts and artists from the Musqueam community selected with the guidance of Leona Sparrow. 15 Expert interviews were also conducted with museum liaisons and cultural experts from the following communities: Skwxwú7mesh Nation, Stó:lō Nation, Snuneymuxw First Nation, Duwamish Tribe, Puyallup Tribe and the Jamestown S‟Klallam. Interview questions dealt with the following types of information: (1) the projects each community or representative had participated in, (2) the institutions with whom they had worked, (3) how and when relationships were established, (4) the key messages they wanted to convey, and (5) perceptions on the success of the final product. Due to distance, community representatives outside of the Greater Vancouver area were interviewed via email correspondence or by telephone. The majority of interviews were conducted in person, in English, and were tape recorded and transcribed (with the informed consent of the participants.) Once an interview was transcribed, a copy was returned to the speaker for editing and final approval. Recurring themes, and excerpts that address my research questions, were drawn from interview transcripts to inform my research. Participant‟s names accompany quotations used in this thesis with their consent. Information obtained through interviews was further supplemented by fieldnotes and minutes taken at meetings hosted by the UBC Museum of Anthropology, the Vancouver Museum, the West Vancouver Museum, and the Seattle Art Museum, which were attended by representatives from these, and several other communities, including: Songhees, Qu‟wutsun‟, Tsleil-Waututh, Holmalco, Snohomish, Nisqually, T‟souke, Kuper Island, and Upper Skagit. Comments made during these sessions are presented anonymously, since some of this information was collected before I began this research 16 project. However, in all instances participants were aware that a record (written or audio) was being made of the meeting. Observations made during my participation on the planning committee for the Seattle Art Museum exhibit, S’abadeb –The Gifts: Pacific Coast Salish Art and Artists, also provides an ongoing thread of discussion throughout my research. Overall discussion in this thesis centres upon museum projects and cultural displays occurring between the years 1970 and 2008, since those were the ones discussed by participants. In writing this thesis, I have reflected upon several of the museum projects I personally participated in over the last decade. I have attempted to incorporate those experiences without writing a gossipy “tell all” tale. I have enjoyed many of these encounters, but at other times have found myself in a position of tension when community expectations and museum expectations were incompatible. As a person with Coast Salish ancestry (Klahoose), I have previously been told by museum co-workers that I have been described as a “distant relative” by some of the communities I‟ve worked with – close enough to understand their needs, but not close enough to take sides when disagreements arose between neighbouring communities. This acknowledgement brings with it a set of expectations as to how I will conduct business with those same communities, and in one instance required that I choose between pleasing museum staff or honouring what I felt were my obligations to their “partner communities.” Because feelings of family and community were invoked, the choice was not difficult, although for several years after I was disenchanted with museums. In many ways those feelings of conflict spurred me to conduct the research presented within these pages. 17 Anthropological writing has a history of imposing categories upon people, their cultures, and their material possessions. Those of us familiar with ethnographies are also familiar with blanket statements that begin with “the Kwakiutl…” or “the Coast Salish…” This is a writing device that brings uniformity to what is, in reality, a diversity of experience (see Harmon 2007). It also impedes recognition of shifting group identities. The longevity of these labels combined with colonial instruments such as political borders and legal concepts of ownership are obstacles I struggle to avoid in my own writing. However, this research was conducted using anthropological qualitative methods, so in the end I chose to employ the use of tables and charts for presenting “data” and as a means of comparative analysis. Tables are used not to create discrete categories, but to highlight differences in behaviour. Ultimately, this thesis presents the experiences and opinions of those individuals who agreed to work with museums and other academic institutions. Other community members decide not to share their knowledge with museum workers and researchers, and not everyone I invited to participate responded to the invitation. For this reason, this thesis should not be interpreted as a blanket representation speaking for all “Coast Salish” communities or their members. As with any society, experiences and opinions vary widely from individual to individual. The stories of those who decide to engage provides a powerful testimonial to the types of relationships occurring today and allows for contemplation of the future of collaborative work between museums and First Peoples. Many of those assigned to act as museum liaisons have been educated within university communities, in addition to their cultural communities. Others have worked for many years alongside university trained scholars – archaeologists, anthropologists, historians, 18 lawyers, and others. These experiences sometimes set them apart from others in their communities. They are strong in their cultures, but they have also become skilled diplomats and negotiators. One representative stated it is not a “choice” to participate in museum exhibits, since the reality is that if they do not speak for themselves the result will be that someone else speaks for them. A common theme throughout my interviews was recognition of the positive, although sometimes difficult, changes that have occurred in many cultural institutions in recent decades, and the patience that has been required on the part of community members to first guide museum staff onto the correct path, and then ensure that they stay on it. Many feel their partnerships are just now gathering strength. Snítlewet í Síyamía, Skwxwú7mesh Nation Director of Education, expresses hope for the future by saying: I do believe that cultural institutions‟ museum practitioners are on the cutting edge of building a new kind of relationship with First Nations people. They are changing the mindset. You can see it in the young curators. They really believe in the voice of the people and that the people own their own experiences. (Deborah Jacobs, Interviewed June 12, 2006) Participants Many people participated in this research project and their words are featured throughout this thesis. To acknowledge their expertise, in the following pages, I present a brief biographical sketch of each of those people. They are listed in the order they were interviewed. Snítlewet í Síyamía (Deborah Jacobs) is Director of Education for the Skwxwú7mesh Nation, the governance structure representing Squamish speaking people from 24 communities in British Columbia. She is a university trained educator, a writer, and an 19 exhibited photographer. For her, community museum consultation is viewed as public education, and thus falls under the mandate of her department. She has liaised with numerous museums and cultural institutions on behalf of the Skwxwú7mesh Nation, including: the Burke Museum, the Royal British Columbia Museum, the Vancouver Art Gallery, the Vancouver Museum, the West Vancouver Museum and Archives, and the North Vancouver Museum and Archives. T’xwelátse (Herb Joe Sr.) is a former Chief of the Tzeachten First Nation who now works for the Stó:lō Nation in their Family and Children Service Program as a traditional councillor. This position entails being responsible for culturally appropriate programming and service delivery. He is also a member of House of Respect Care- Taking Committee (the Stó:lō Repatriation Committee). For almost two decades T’xwelátse led his extended family in a repatriation effort to return their ancestor, stone T’xwelátse, from the Burke Museum in Washington State. The claim was successfully resolved in October of 2006, and after 114 years stone T’xwelátse returned home. Naxaxalhts’i (Sonny McHalsie) is a member of the Shxw‟ōwhámél First Nation who has worked for the Stó:lō Nation for more than 20 years. He is currently the Co-Director of the Stó:lō Research and Resource Management Centre. Naxaxalhts’i is a published oral historian, who contributed to the widely acclaimed, “A Stó:lō Coast Salish Historical Atlas (2001).” Most recently he contributed to “Be of Good Mind: Essays on the Coast Salish” edited by his friend Bruce G. Miller (2007). Among colleagues and friends, he is renowned for place name tours, which he leads up the Fraser River by boat. 20 Leona M. Sparrow is currently the Director of Treaty, Lands and Resources for the Musqueam Indian Band. She previously served two terms as an elected council member. She is also a practicing lawyer, with a Master of Arts in anthropology, and is a former member of the UBC Senate. Ms. Sparrow represents Musqueam on a number of diverse initiatives, including museum consultation projects. She was recently appointed to the Advisory Board of the UBC Museum of Anthropology. Rose N. Point is a Musqueam Elder of Stó:lō and Nlaka‟pamux descent. In her early years she attended St. Mary‟s Indian Residential School. After graduating she married Dominic Point and began a family at Musqueam. In 1966 she started the first preschool on the reserve, and in later years served the band as their Education Coordinator. She is currently the Elder Advisor for the British Columbia Institute of Technology (BCIT). Larry Grant is a Musqueam Elder and an Adjunct Professor in the UBC First Nations Languages Program. He also currently serves as the Elder in Residence for the UBC First Nations House of Learning. Larry is a descendent of the famous Musqueam warrior, Capilano, and has the prerogative to wear a Sxwaixwe mask. He frequently represents Musqueam at public events, such as museum openings, academic conferences, and community consultation initiatives. Debra Sparrow is a master weaver from Musqueam, who began weaving in the mid 1980s. She also works as a cultural educator, and has co-developed two school programs at the UBC Museum of Anthropology including the popular Musqueam Museum School. 21 Her weavings are exhibited in a number of venues, including the Vancouver Airport (YVR) International Arrivals Terminal, the Glenbow Museum, the UBC Museum of Anthropology, and the Burke Museum. Debra is also a jewellery and clothing designer. Her clothing is made from her commercial blanket line, produced by the Kanata Blanket company. Terry Point is project manager for the Musqueam Ecosystem Conservation Society. He is a university student, employed by his band as a cultural researcher and educator. He has previously held internship positions at the UBC Museum of Anthropology, and is currently assisting with community consultation for the new Coast Salish exhibits in the Multiversity Gallery (formerly Visible Storage). Terry often leads groups of schoolchildren on walking tours of Musqueam Creek on behalf of the Musqueam Museum School. He also represents Musqueam at archaeological investigations held both on and off reserve. Victor Guerin is the former Coordinator of the Musqueam Language and Culture program and is a trained language instructor. He has consulted on several museum projects, providing translations, and community research. In the 1980s he worked on several projects with ethnobotanist / anthropologist David Rozen, which inspired him to change career paths and begin working with community elders to study and preserve the həńqəmińəm language. 22 Vivian Campbell is a master weaver and educator from the community of Musqueam. She co-teaches the Musqueam Museum School with Debra Sparrow, and often conducts workshops on cedar bark weaving for museums, schools, and other cultural institutions such as the UBC Laboratory of Archaeology. She is a former graduate of the UBC Museum of Anthropology‟s Native Youth Program. Tawx’sin yexwulla / Poolxtun (Aaron Nelson Moody) is a Skwxwú7mesh artist and educator. He has worked with community groups and students for the last 12 years sharing traditional teachings here in Canada, Japan and Scotland, and recently carved the entrance doors for Canada House pavilion, located in Torino, Italy for the 2006 Olympic Games. He does storytelling, and drumming and singing, drum making, carving and jewellery. (Bio from his website: http://web.mac.com/aaron_nelson_moody) Shla'dai' (Mary Lou Slaughter) is a Native American Master Basket Weaver and a Duwamish Tradition Keeper. She is a direct descendant of See'yahl (Chief Seattle) and his eldest daughter Ki'ki''so'bloo (Princess Angeline), some of whose baskets are in the collections of the Burke Museum of Natural History, in Seattle, Washington. Shl'dai' is an Enrolled Member of the Duwamish Tribe, Seattle's First People. Her work has been exhibited by the Stonington Gallery, the Seattle Art Museum, the Museum of History and Industry, the Duwamish Longhouse, and the Renton Museum. 23 Qwalsius (Shaun Peterson), a member of the Puyullap Tribe, is a contemporary artist whose work has been showcased at a number of museums and galleries. These include: the Burke Museum, Stonington Gallery, The Legacy Ltd. Gallery, Tacoma Art Museum, White River Valley Museum, Seattle Art Museum, Museum of Art and Design in New York, and the Washington State History Museum. His involvement with these projects has occurred on several levels – as a consultant, participating artist, or guest curator. Geraldine Manson is the Cultural and Language Elders Coordinator and an Elected Council Member for the Snuneymuxw First Nation. She is a graduate of the Royal British Columbia Museums‟ Aboriginal Cultural Stewardship Program, and a Board Member of the Nanaimo District Museum. As a representative of her nation she has been consulted by several regional museums, including: the Seattle Art Museum, the Royal British Columbia Museum, the Gabriola Island Museum and the UBC Museum of Anthropology. Heather Johnson Jock is currently serving her second term on the Jamestown S‟Klallam Tribal Council. Her profile on the Jamestown S‟Klallam website notes: She is a past Chair of the Jamestown Community Network Board, and is the current Chair of the JKT Art Board, Inc. Heather is also currently employed with the Boeing Corporation, and serves as a Board Member for the non-profit Potlatch Fund in Seattle (www.jamestowntribe.org). She does Salish weaving, cedar weaving, and design, and recently represented her community as an advisor for the Seattle Art Museum‟s S’abadeb exhibit. 24 Defining the Coast Salish World: Ethnographic writing requires the researcher to define the people (and place) of study as part of the process of translating cultural experiences for the reader, an individual who may or may not be familiar with the region and its inhabitants. It is an extremely difficult task to put boundaries on a group of people – in this instance the “Coast Salish,” that includes all of the places and things that are important to them. For some members of the community the resulting narrative may seem acceptable, for others it will no doubt seem misguided, or wrong. A diversity of opinion will always exist, regardless of the culture and regardless of the time of representation – this is the inherent reality of meta-narratives. Today, we still see representations of indigenous history that invoke the origin stories of western science, employing terms such as “migration” and “ice-free corridors.” These are not the origin stories of the people themselves, but those of the academic “experts” who purport to represent them. The docudrama, Canada: A People’s History, is a prime example of this type of selective storytelling – one that reached a wide audience with translations into multiple languages: English, French, Chinese, Greek, Hindi, Italian, Portuguese, and Russian. In this series, aspects of First Nation‟s cultural traditions were employed in the service of creating a historical account that served the interests of others – primarily a unifying narrative for a country that prides itself on multiculturalism. The opening chapter, which covered almost 17,000 years of indigenous history, employed a diversity of oral traditions accompanied by a multitude of images of sacred geography presented in a manner that endorsed Euro-centric categories of knowledge and 25 historical reconstruction. These included images of a Nitsitapiisinni medicine wheel and a “Coast Salish” Flood Story. They were used to promote an understanding of indigenous history that privileged archaeological reconstruction and “science” over the oral histories and knowledge frameworks of the diverse native peoples represented. Cultural traditions were appropriated and presented in anecdotal fashion to construct a single narrative – one in which Canada‟s First Nations were seen as the first of many waves of immigrants to enter the “New World” (see Dick 2003). This master narrative stands in stark contrast to the multitude of creation stories, and other oral traditions, by which we define ourselves, and ultimately denies our existence as indigenous people thereby opening the road to continued alienation of our lands and resources. In reality, indigenous histories tie people to specific places, whether they are origin stories about the “First People who fell from the Sky” or “Transformation Stories” about how the world came to be as it now is (see Jenness 1955:10; Hill-Tout 1978:58; Carlson 1997:56; Marshall 1999:9). Sometimes even the terms used to identify First Nations are foreign to the people, themselves, or employ inaccurate script – translation errors that alter the names used to identify us to others. For example, Linguist Patricia Shaw notes: “The place name „Musqueam‟ is itself an Anglicization of the indigenous designation xwməθkwəýəm, which refers to the place (indicated by the locative prefix x w ) where the məθkwəý, a plant which was plentiful along the shoreline used to grow” (2001:42). The anglicised place name has become synonymous with the people who reside there, although traditionally their ancestors dwelt in a number of village sites throughout the region. It was only during the 26 historic period, that this particular village became the primary settlement of these həńqəmińəm speaking people. Today many Coast Salish nations are reclaiming control over their identities. The Burrard Band has reclaimed its identity as the Tsleil-Waututh, while the peoples of Cowichan and Nanaimo now publicly identify themselves as the Quw‟utsun‟ and Snuneymuxw respectively. Despite such changes the name “Coast Salish” still lingers, and though it speaks to external perceptions has now become so pervasive that it may have internal as well as external validation. “Coast Salish” is a generic term used to describe the numerous bands and tribes indigenous to the southern region of the Pacific Northwest (see Appendix B for a more comprehensive list). The term “Salish” has even broader applications encompassing people from the interior, who dwell in the arid lands located east of the Cascade and Coastal Mountain ranges of Washington State and British Columbia. “Interior Salish” people are found as far east as Montana, and it is their early encounters with members of the Lewis and Clark expedition that has led to the widespread usage of the term “Salish” to describe them as well as a multitude of indigenous communities residing to the west (Salish-Pend d‟Oreille Culture Committee et al. 2005: xi-xiii). Members of the Flathead or Bitterroot Salish of Montana explain the origin of the term, noting: In our own language, we call ourselves the Séliš (pronounced Séh-lish). Salish is the common English rendition of the word (Salish-Pend d‟Oreille Culture Committee et al. 2005:xiii). Since they were the first people to be encountered by early explorers arriving from the east, such as the Lewis and Clark expedition in 1805, the anglicized term “Salish” spread 27 west as early European travellers continued to encounter other indigenous peoples speaking similar dialects and languages. The broadly applied misnomer gathered strength in the next century as practitioners of the discipline of Linguistics began to employ the term “Salish” as the means to discuss a shared linguistic heritage – identifying a Proto-Salish language thought to date back more than six millennia (Kroeber 1955:100). The term was also adopted by anthropologists, who used it as a means to discuss cultural traits held in common and contiguous religious beliefs (Adamson 1934; Barnett 1955; Amoss 1978; Suttles 1987). Today, academics are beginning to employ differently nuanced frameworks for studying the “Salish” and other indigenous peoples, recognising the interwoven nature of language and culture – specifically that language is a vessel that carries culture forward. The diversity of languages and dialects present within the Salish language family speaks to the antiquity, and cultural complexity, of its constituent communities (Thompson and Kinkade 1990). Linguist Patricia Shaw notes that: Traditionally, language diversity – across dialects, indeed across different languages – was an integral component of everyday life, actively nurtured through the social interactions of intermarriage, trade, potlatching, war, etc. People from one band or region readily recognized dialectal features from other locales. Dialect was, and continues to be, an important marker of distinct local identity. However, with the diminution of active use of ancestral language in each individual community, and with the concomitant ascendancy of English, opportunities for fluent familiarization with distinctive features of neighbouring dialects have decreased. The farther apart communities are, the more distinctive their dialects are likely to be (2001:50). Although fluent language speakers are now a rarity, other forms of cultural exchange continue between Coast Salish communities to this day with a fluidity that has led some to adopt the metaphor of a “Salish Sea” to describe the reality – although ironically this 28 concept has also arisen from a non-indigenous source (Barsh 2003). Water does, however, provide an ideal metaphor for describing the territories of the Coast Salish, since rivers, inlets and coastal shorelines were (and continue to be) integral for travel, subsistence, and ceremonial life throughout this vast region. Coast Salish territory is geographically expansive ranging from the central coast of British Columbia to the Columbia River, the boundary between Washington State and Oregon. Its northern margins include the long isolated communities of the Nuxalk situated at Bella Coola, and resume further south at Bute Inlet, the traditional territory of the Holmalco. Johnstone Strait marks the northern boundary on adjacent Vancouver Island, where the Island Comox made their home before the southern incursion of the Lekwiltok peoples at the beginning of the nineteenth century (Kennedy and Bouchard 1983). Below the Holmalco, on the mainland of British Columbia, are the traditional territories of the Klahoose, Sliammon, and Sechelt peoples. The Holmalco, Klahoose and Sliammon once spoke dialects of the Comox language, while Pentlatch and Sechelt were spoken by their relatives to the south and southwest (Shaw 2001:54). The territories of the Central Coast Salish encompass Howe Sound, Burrard Inlet, Indian Arm, the Fraser River, and south-eastern Vancouver Island, encompassing the many small islands sandwiched in between. Numerous groups inhabit these regions including the Skwxwú7mesh, Tsleil-Waututh, Musqueam, Tsawwassen, Kwikwetlem, Katzie, Stó:lō, Snuneymuxw, Qu‟wutsun‟, Songhish and Saanich peoples, to name just a few. Three distinct languages (Squamish, Halkomelem, and Straits Salish) with several local dialects were spoken by the peoples of this region (see Suttles 1987). 29 Southern Coast Salish territory covers most of Washington State, with the exclusion of the territories of the Makah and Quileute peoples in the north-western corner of the state and those of Interior Salish peoples to the south-east. Proximity to water remains a central feature, with the Strait of Juan de Fuca marking the northern margins, Puget Sound occupying the centre of the region, and the Columbia River denoting its southernmost boundary. The Nooksack, Lummi, Skagit, Tulalip, Samish, Puyallip, and Snohomish are some of the tribes encountered as one journeys south towards the city of Seattle, the homeland of the Duwamish people. Several Salishan languages are spoken throughout this region, including S‟Klallam, Twana, Lushootseed, Quinault, Chehalis, Cowlitz and Tillamook (Suttles 1987; Thompson and Kinkade 1990). Interconnected through overlapping ties of marriage and ceremonial exchange, shared political and natural resource concerns, Coast Salish communities on both sides of the Canadian and US border continue to interact and influence one another (see Amoss 1978; Miller 1996). Although the people referred to as the “Coast Salish” have many traits in common, a great degree of cultural diversity also exists throughout their territories. This is most evident in the people‟s material culture and religious life. Ownership of special prerogatives, such as the sxwayxwey masks found at Musqueam (and in other Central Coast Salish communities), and the spirit canoe ceremony used by Puget Sound peoples, such as the Snoqualmie, are two well documented examples (Jenness 1955; Suttles 1987; Marr 1997; Miller 2000). In other places, cultural variance may reflect differential access to resources or the influences of neighbouring peoples (see Amoss 1978; Elmendorf 1993; Kennedy and Bouchard 1983). 30 Although the territories of the “Coast Salish” are far reaching, marriages that create networks of extended families throughout the entire region provide unification, compensating for a lack of proximity (see McHalsie 2001:32-33). These marriages also bring family belongings, such as intellectual property and treasured heirlooms, into new communities – or sometimes back to originating communities. They are one of the mechanisms that ensure important events will be witnessed by neighbouring peoples, both near and distant, since extended families are the infrastructure of Coast Salish society (Miller 2007:18-21). The linguistic terms used to construct Coast Salish genealogies reflect bilateral descent. Relations are acknowledged through the use of specific terms which identify six generations of a person‟s lineage (Suttles 1987). Knowledge of one‟s own history is considered part of a good upbringing and enables members of different communities to quickly establish shared connections through identification of extended family members or friends held in common. Thus, through a brief discussion of our respective lineages, I was quickly identified as a “cousin” by a previously unknown delegate from Vancouver Island while attending an exhibit planning session at the Seattle Art Museum (SAM) in 2007. Common relatives and friends are an important aspect of a person‟s Coast Salish identity. This is one reason why past assimilation strategies attempted to sever the link between children and their parents and grandparents (see Carlson 1997:100-104). Coast Salish identities are also entwined with those of the locales that comprise the respective traditional territories of community members. Histories are “written in the earth,” as well as upon it: 31 It is written in the earth. The evidence is everywhere that we have lived in the land. Anywhere that we open the earth we find the remains of people that lived here before. As we open the earth so are unveiled the messages from the past, from our ancestors, so the strength comes forward… (Introduction label from Written in the Earth exhibit, MOA, 1996) Transformation stories, flood stories, and in some instances origin stories, demonstrate the interconnectivity of a broader “Coast Salish” world, while illuminating the individuality of local landscapes. As Keith Basso so eloquently demonstrated for the Western Apache in his book, Wisdom Sits in Places (1996), landscape rather than chronology is more important for relating, recognising and understanding, and then sharing indigenous history. Oral traditions recount events that occurred at specific places, while the actions and consequences discussed speak to cultural values that provide guidance for future generations – the importance of hard work and humility, respect for the natural world, and the consequences for selfishness or laziness. The emphasis on chronology, so prevalent in westernised accounts of history, is absent from these versions. Space rather than time is the organising principle – a concept that will be explored in more depth in the next chapter. Distinctive Art Traditions One of the ways the Coast Salish are distinguished from neighbouring peoples is through their material culture, particularly their use of a technique known as block engraving and the employment of naturalistic rather than stylized forms of representation (Kew 1980). Recognisably Salish art traditions have been found in archaeological contexts dating back several millennia, in objects made of bone, stone, wood and wool, 32 and are thought to have been influential to the development of Northern Northwest Coast design traditions. Art Historian, Steven C. Brown, notes: Surprisingly, the 1000-2000 year old objects from the northern region recovered to date appear much more similar in style to the southern or Coast Salish design traditions than they do to the northern design conventions of the historic period. The 3000 – 4000 year old artefacts from the Coast Salish area bear a great deal in common with historic period objects from that region, and remained essentially unchanged over that period of time (2005:9). There is some irony in this finding since early scholars to our region viewed Coast Salish culture as derivative of that of our northern neighbours, whose artistic traditions they more widely promoted and celebrated (Jonaitis 1995:152). This notion was so widely ingrained, that it influenced collecting policies at major museums. The Burke Museum, for example, declined to purchase the Skagit River Atlatl when it was offered for sale in the 1950s, believing it must be a forgery rather than of local origin. The atlatl, which was dredged from the mouth of the Skagit River in 1936, sat in storage for more than a decade before being offered for sale (MOA accession file). Since radiocarbon dating was not yet available, museum professionals had no way of confirming the antiquity of the piece. Dr. Charles Borden, whose archaeological excavations later contributed to the revision of opinions concerning the antiquity of Coast Salish cultural traditions, argued persuasively for its inclusion into the collection of the UBC Museum of Anthropology where it now resides (MOA accession file). The atlatl was later dated using radiocarbon dating, and confirmed to be approximately 1700 years old (Fladmark 1986:83). Subsequent archaeological investigations have firmly established it within a Salish Art tradition featuring highly engraved objects, known as the Marpole Culture Phase (Holm 1990; Mitchell 1990; Matson and Coupland 1995). 33 Figure 1: The Skagit River Atlatl (Spear Thrower) Courtesy UBC Museum of Anthropology, Vancouver, Canada. Photograph by Derek Tan. MOA ID Number A7201 In recent years, archaeological findings have offered many insights into the longevity of Coast Salish artistic traditions. Weavings, basketry, and highly engraved or sculptured objects of wood, bone, antler and stone, found preserved have demonstrated continuity to historical objects residing in native communities, museums, and private collections today. Many of these artistic traditions (and sometimes the related ceremonial practices) underwent a decline in the early twentieth century (Suttles 1955; Wells 1969; Kew 1980; Feder 1983; Miller 2000), only to experience a resurgence beginning in the mid 1960s with the revival of Salish weaving at Sardis, BC (Anderson 1971; Amoss 1978; Gustafson 1980; Bierwert 1982; Johnson and Bernick 1986; Baird 1997; Roy 2002; Blanchard and Davenport 2005; Brotherton 2006). 34 During the mid-twentieth century, many “Coast Salish” artists adopted northern style traditions to ensure a livelihood for themselves and their families. It has only been since the 1960s that Coast Salish art has begun to find appreciation, and success, in the commercial art world through the efforts of entities such as the Salish Weavers Guild and artists including: Simon Charlie of Cowichan, Stan Greene of Semiahmoo and Chehalis, Floyd Joseph of Skwxwú7mesh, Susan Point of Musqueam, Marvin Oliver of Quinault, and Ron Hilbert of the Upper Skagit and Tulalip tribes. While the works of these individual artists may differ in materials and methods employed, their work follows a longstanding precedent within the Coast Salish world for hired professional artists and other paid specialists. Museums and Coast Salish Peoples The white people came and we were called savages, heathens – and for some of them it‟s still there. It‟s in the back of their minds. Once they come to recognise that we had a civilization, we had our own technology, we had our own science, we had our own social structure, that we had our own doctors, we had our own herbalists, and our own specialists, we had our own people who looked after the dying, our own people who did the burying, we had our own midwives. We call them midwives, them that looked after the childbirth. And the person who looked after the mother and the baby at first, like guardians. And once they recognise that from birth to death things happened – that is a civilization. Once the anthropologists and the museums recognise that we had a civilization, then I would say the museums have come a step forward. (N. Rose Point, Musqueam Elder, Interviewed August 16, 2006) In the remaining chapters I will examine how “Coast Salish” memory and identity is invoked through work done in consultation with (and sometimes in equal partnership with) museums. The next chapter, Perspectives on Indigenous Memory and Identity, provides a theoretical framework for understanding the role museums play for Coast 35 Salish communities today by exploring topics such as social memory, the politics of representation, the role of commemoration in the creation of national identities, and cultural revitalisation and resistance to hegemonies. Coast Salish memory and identity is placed within the context of the need to create national commemorations to establish the legitimacy of re-emerging governance structures – hybrids of traditional and westernised political organization schemes, which have arisen in response to colonialism and to facilitate a return to self-governance. The perceived need for the pedagogical tools provided by museums, and cultural centres, to reach younger generations, and visitors from outside of the community, is explored as part of this discussion. Museums and Social Justice is examined in Chapter 3, providing the reader with a historical overview to complement the theoretical discussion presented in the preceding chapter. Changes in media and technology occurring in the post-war years are identified as contributors to a more global perspective amongst the general public and a rising awareness of social inequality. Subsequent legal advances for aboriginal rights and title in Canada and the United States are shown to be concurrent with, but sometimes independent of, the emergence of changing attitudes among museum professionals as indigenous peoples began to demand recognition for their personal rights and freedoms in a number of political arenas. Public recognition is shown to be a key factor in obtaining and then protecting aboriginal rights and title. Chapter 4, Gathering Strength, discusses early collecting practices on the Northwest Coast and then provides an overview of recent Coast Salish museum projects and public commemorations. This chapter also explores how Coast Salish culture is represented in some of these exhibits, and whether the location (museum or gallery) 36 impacts the themes selected for exhibition, and the consultation processes through which Coast Salish community members are subsequently included/excluded. An in-depth look at the Canadian community of Musqueam follows in Chapter 5, Returning to the Beginning, where the humble origins of the now strong partnership between the UBC Museum of Anthropology (MOA) and Musqueam is discussed. The writings of historian Susan Roy (1999, 2002, 2007) have demonstrated that, for more than a century, Musqueam leadership has recognised the need to publicly display their culture as a means to legitimise their aboriginal rights and title. Archival research reveals that their efforts to include the Museum of Anthropology in their commemorative activity began in the 1950s, but didn‟t gather strength until the 1980s. Complementing this historical overview, Chapter 6 examines Creating Public Identity at Musqueam by presenting some of the experiences of individual community members, and then highlighting issues that affect them when working with museums today. The experiences of the Musqueam community are then compared and contrasted to those of other Canadian Coast Salish communities in Chapter 7, Canadian Communities and their Museum Relations. The five principle recommendations of the 1992 Task Force Report on Museums and First Peoples are used as a framework for discussing the inclusiveness of museums. Proximity or distance to the urban centres of Vancouver and Victoria is also considered to determine whether the size and locality of the community and the venue change the types of messages conveyed and the nature of collaborative activity. In Chapter 8, Alternative Routes: Coast Salish Representation in the United States, the discussion is extended to include information received from community members living south of the border. The experiences of American Coast 37 Salish people, shaped by differing colonial histories, treaties and laws, is compared to the Canadian perspectives provided in the previous chapter to determine whether the processes and key messages being conveyed are the same or different as a result. In Final Thoughts: Coast Salish Memory and Identity at the end of the Twentieth Century I place Coast Salish commemorative practices into the context of those of re-emerging nations, concurrently seeking public recognition and the means to establish cohesive social identities for their members. The continued relevancy of museums for creating national commemorations for Coast Salish and other First Nations communities is discussed in relation to the advent of First Nations cultural centres. 38 Chapter Two: Perspectives on Indigenous Memory and Identity Oral tradition and material culture anchor people to place despite histories of movement and displacement (Cruikshank and Argounova 2000:98). My concern is not simply that the current narratives reduce the complexity of aboriginal life. Because these have become public, and sometimes legal, representations, an even greater concern is that communities will be stuck with these in later years when the political issues have shifted and new representations are needed (Bruce G. Miller 2001:16). The subject of memory – as embodied by oral traditions, ritual activity and cultural performance, has become pervasive in the social sciences in the last few decades as academics re-examine its very nature and delve into the mystery of how memory works (Connerton 1989; Klein 1998). Writings on the topic are moving away from concern with factual accuracy to exploring how the present influences our perceptions of the past (see Gordillo 2002; Healy 1997; Lowenthal 1985). Memory is recognised as being both individual and social in nature, with the two aspects forever irrevocably entwined. It is now widely acknowledged that our social memories establish the cultural frameworks from which we perceive and experience the past in the present (Fentress and Wickham 1992). This has provided new perspectives for those seeking to understand the lives of indigenous people and other ethnic minorities (Connerton 1989; Cruikshank 1990; Basso 1996; Cruikshank and Argounova 2000; Gordillo 2002; Yelvington 2002; Bennett and Rowley 2003). Many researchers now acknowledge that the act of representation is imbued with authority (Comaroff and Comaroff 1981; Clifford 1988; Friedmand 1992), and that ethnographies, in particular, are especially problematic when authors write about cultures whose language they do not speak and whose people they have observed for only short periods of time (Clifford 1988). 39 Indigenous people are sometimes described as people without history, as those “prevented from identifying themselves for others” (Friedman 1992:837). In such writings “history” is equated with hegemony, “memory” the subaltern or disenfranchised. Indigenous people, peasant societies and other ethnic minorities, are often characterised as experiencing the past only through living memory (Nora 1989). The problem with such viewpoints is they invoke the concept of authenticity, while suggesting indigenous people, their languages and cultures, exist within a bubble – safe from outside influences, a scenario we know to be far from true. Such thinking underscores the complexity of contemporary indigenous life by implicitly arguing that those who adopt historical devises and commemorative activity have relinquished living memory (Nora 1989:15), and consequently it may be inferred “authentic” culture. For indigenous people, and others “without history”, to adopt historical practices, such as the establishment of museums and monuments, the creation of written histories and documentary films, and the compilation of archives, is generally equated with a loss – otherwise there would be no need to preserve. However, others remind us that forgetting is prerequisite to remembering – it is integral to the creation of memory (Lowenthal 1985; Connerton 1989). French historian Pierre Nora argues the balance between memory and history has been disrupted recently by the growth of industrialisation, democratisation, and globalisation. A growing preoccupation with sites of memory (archives, museums, memorials and other commemorations) is given as evidence that the western world no longer lives within real memory – as embodied by social action and custom rather than documentation. He suggests: 40 Memory and history, far from being synonymous, appear now to be in fundamental opposition. Memory is life, borne by living societies founded in its name. It remains in permanent evolution, open to the dialectic of remembering and forgetting, unconscious of its successive deformations, vulnerable to manipulation and appropriation, susceptible to being long dormant and periodically revived. History, on the other hand, is the reconstruction, always problematic and incomplete, of what is no longer […] History, because it is an intellectual and secular production, calls for analysis and criticism. Memory installs remembrance within the sacred; history, always prosaic, releases it again. Memory is blind to all but the group it binds – which is to say, as Maurice Halbwachs has said, the there are as many memories as there are groups, that memory is by nature multiple and yet specific; collective, plural, and yet individual. History, on the other hand belongs to everyone and no one, whence its claim to universal authority. Memory takes root in the concrete, in spaces, gestures, images, and objects; history binds itself strictly to temporal continuities, to progressions and to relations between things. Memory is absolute, while history can only conceive the relative (Nora 1989:8-9). To counter this argument it could be reasoned that both history and memory are social processes, although history also functions as a pedagogical and political tool. It has been well demonstrated that memory exists, supporting or countering official written histories, regardless of efforts to quiet it (Trouillot 1995; Siebert 1996; Leydesdorff et al, 1996; Gordillo 2002). To adopt the devices of historical reconstruction, therefore, cannot require the relinquishment of living memory in any society – although certain forms of government or historical circumstance may act to silence it (Jelin 1998). More recently, scholars have correlated the growing preoccupation with commemorating the past to the creation of memory and identity (Connerton 1989; Gillis 1994; Healy 1997; Casey 2000; Cruikshank and Argounova 2000). They note that sites of commemoration provide anchors that tie communities and nations to specific events, creating new social memories that can include younger people, not just those who experienced or recall the event(s) in question. Some have tied the onset of this phenomenon to nation building (Gillis 1994; Healy 1997; Nuttall 2001). 41 Historian John Gillis (1994), for example, notes that because identities and memories are “things we think with,” they are political, social and historical in nature. He argues that commemorative activity is a physical manifestation of political and social identity, one requiring co-ordination with an end result that appears consensual despite the conflicts and negotiations occurring along the way. Gillis identifies three phases of commemoration that occurred within the Western world: pre-national, national and post- national. Although this framework was formulated to discuss the histories of western nations, indigenous histories have been entwined with those of the Western world for several centuries, for this reason I employ it as a starting point for examining recent First Nations commemorative activity. Gillis describes pre-national commemorations (before the late 1700s) as belonging to the elite, suggesting common people lived with the past as part of their daily lives – incorporated as tradition and ritual activity, they had no need to commemorate it. For them, daily events and past events were viewed through the same lens of understanding. It was only the elite who needed to celebrate the great achievements of themselves and their ancestors through public monuments and celebrations. Family crypts, portraits and genealogies, private collections of oddities and antiquities, exemplify the types of pre-national commemorative activities restricted to the elite during the pre- national period. Gillis (1994) suggests that national commemorations appeared after the American and French revolutions and were intended for the public, whether they initially accepted them or not. In many instances the past was evoked in new ways, appropriated to give legitimacy to the present regime of power. He notes national commemorations 42 appear at “those times and places where there is a perceived or constructed break with the past” (1994:8). Thus forgetting plays an especially pivotal role in this commemorative process. A prime example of this type of commemorative activity is seen in the transformation of the private collections of the elite into public museums and galleries at the end of the French revolution; an activity that was combined with the creation of new symbols of national identity – flags, currency, and other emblems of the nation state. These transformations signalled a shift in political power, as much as a shift from private to public ownership. In her writings, museum scholar Eileen Hooper-Greenhill discusses how collections were reorganized, and transformed, following the French revolution to emerge as important political tools. She notes that: “the public museum emerged as one of the campaigns of the state to direct the population into activities which would, without the people being aware of it, transform the population into a useful resource for the state” (1992:168). Collections were used to illustrate the inequality of the previous regime, while highlighting the equality and democratic leanings of the new. As time passed these forms of commemorative activity became less about appropriating and reinterpreting the past, and more about tradition. Culture becomes one of the primary mechanisms by which the state reproduces and reaffirms its ideology (Althusser 1971:143). Gillis observes that by the 1960s national commemorations were losing momentum in the western world, and what has followed is a period where individuals, themselves, have become responsible for memory work (see also Nora 1989). This is why, in the post-national period, commemoration has become more local and personal. Today, we see this phenomena everywhere as individuals are obsessed with preserving 43 the past – family belongings are revealed as priceless treasures on the Antiques Roadshow, archival quality scrapbooking has become a widespread North American hobby, and computer software is widely available for those looking to document their genealogies. For commemorative sites such as museums, we have seen a transformation in representational strategies away from meta-narratives about the past to the adoption of methodologies that employ multi-vocality and highlight individual life histories. The intent is no longer to unite the population, and thereby give validity to the nation state, but to recognise the diversity that exists within it. The strengthening of local memory and identity is also viewed by some as a consequence of globalisation (see Miller 2001:43). To understand how indigenous memory and identity is created, and renewed, we must also recognise the effects of colonialism on indigenous commemorative activity and the links between commemorative activity and the growing claims for self-governance emerging from North American indigenous communities. While the Western world may have entered a post-national period of commemoration (although the ongoing emergence of new museums and interpretative sites suggests some overlap with his former category), the types of commemorative activity occurring today in indigenous societies share traits in common with those described by Gillis as typical of national commemorations. They occur where colonialism interrupted transmission of cultural knowledge, including memories of the past. A key difference in recent First Nations national commemorations is that they are not about appropriating culture or history, but reclaiming it. 44 First Nations Commemorations Indigenous commemorative activity takes many forms – repatriation, documentary film making, development of education curricula and resources such as museum exhibits, cultural centres and tribal archives. Some aspects of this commemorative activity are new, while others have been transformed, which is why I characterise it as a form of national commemorative activity. The U‟mista Cultural Society film, “A Strict Law Bids Us Dance (1975),” provides a good example since it educates Kwakwaka‟wakw community members about the history of the Potlatch while addressing the damages caused by the Potlatch Ban (see Morris 1994). Played for visitors to the U‟mista Cultural Centre, and distributed for sale on DVD, its message extends far beyond the Kwakwaka‟wakw community to find a more global audience. The need to preserve the past, while educating new generations and outsiders, is also a driving force behind the emergence of tribal museums and cultural centres throughout the United States and Canada (see Fortney 2001; Simpson 2001; McMaster 1998; Hendry 2005). For federally unrecognised tribes in Washington State, such as the Duwamish Tribe, the establishment of a cultural centre provides an anchor for an uprooted community. Shla'dai' (Mary Lou Slaughter), a direct descendant of Si’ahl (Chief Seattle), master basket weaver and a Tradition Keeper for the Duwamish Tribe elaborates: The Duwamish Tribe broke ground on June 23, 2007 for a long house and cultural center. We will have a presence in the area for the first time in 150 years! This is a tremendous achievement for our tribe. The first and foremost thing will be to have a place we can call our own! To teach our children the customs of our people and share with others. There will also be a money maker; such as canoe rides on the Duwamish river, Potlatches, story telling, etc... (Mary Lou Slaughter, Interviewed August 19, 2007) 45 For recognised Coast Salish communities, with established treaty rights, or those now pursuing treaties or reconciliation in the contemporary political arena, cultural centres are also seen as marketing tools for raising a positive profile of the community and may tie into other economic activities such as ecotourism and hospitality ventures. Figure 2: The Duwamish Longhouse floor, featuring an inlayed basketry design by Shla'dai', was pieced together by Duwamish youth. Photograph Courtesy of Mary Lou Slaughter, 2008. Acting as sites of memory creation by bringing community members together for special events and holidays, cultural centres integrate into aspects of daily life – providing places to showcase emerging artists, employment opportunities, education programming, and cultural spaces that can enhance holistic health and wellness programs. The result is that the young (and disenfranchised) can experience their own 46 culture at these commemorative sites, and through engagements with Elders and other culture experts create new social memories to carry cultural teachings forward. Lack of space and funding for such endeavours is identified as the main obstacle for many nations, including Musqueam and Snuneymuxw, who are seeking to establish a place to house community heritage materials and their reclaimed belongings, be they cultural objects, archival materials, or spoken languages. Recognising the ongoing need for such facilities, these two nations have, in the mean time, chosen to establish close working relationships with the institutions nearest to their respective communities – the UBC Museum of Anthropology and the Nanaimo District Museum. Through persistent action and diplomacy, these nations have shaped and influenced the priorities and daily practices of their partner institutions, ranging from exhibit planning, design and construction, to the development and delivery of public programming, and Board membership. The national commemorative work of these communities has thus extended beyond the borders of their current reserves, although it remains within the confines of their traditional ones. This speaks to their strength as negotiators and educators, and their skill at making others aware of “borders of difference” (Giroux 1992). For other Coast Salish communities, such as the Stó:lō Nation, repatriation is seen as being a necessary first step in self-representation and other associated forms of commemorative activity. While representatives of the Stó:lō Nation view its inclusion in museum exhibits and research projects in a positive manner, they perceive self- representation as requiring the physical ownership of material culture. It is something that must arise from within their Nation, and with this in mind, they have established the 47 House of Respect Care-Taking Committee (also referred to as the Stó:lō Repatriation Committee) to undertake museum liaison work on behalf of constituent communities. Naxaxalhts’i (Sonny McHalsie), a member of this repatriation committee and Cultural Advisor and Co-Director of the Stó:lō Research and Resource Management Centre, suggests that reclaiming the Nation‟s cultural heritage materials will be key to shifting current power relationships. He notes that: …a museum institution, they have their own projects that kind of come up, and then depending on what the theme of the project is, if there‟s a First Nations component to it, then they‟ll try to contact us and work along with us. And I‟d like to see that kind of flip around. I mean now, because we don‟t have all of this – all of the materials, I mean most of the materials we have are all sitting in other museums, we don‟t have our own. So I‟m sure that once that happens [through repatriation], it will be a lot easier for us to take the lead role in calling the various museums, and establishing a working relationship with them so that we could get access to some of the [academic] fields that they have there, so that we could do various exhibits as well (Sonny McHalsie, Interviewed July 27, 2006). At present, Naxaxalhts’i notes that the Stó:lō Nation generally reacts to opportunities for collaboration posed by staff from other cultural institutions, such as the Chilliwack Museum and the UBC Museum of Anthropology (MOA), when they arise rather than developing their own initiatives. He states: I think it‟s because they [museums] pretty well have everything. We don‟t have everything that we need. Like right now, I‟m sure if we thought about it, there‟s probably some kind of an exhibit that we can do. A limited exhibit, but I‟m sure that there‟d be other objects out there at various museums that we would probably have to try and make arrangements to borrow, to do our own, you know? So I think that‟s why they have that role, but eventually though I want to see us actually taking more of a lead role in that. But the only way we can do that is by getting our own building, getting our own exhibit area, and having plans put in place as to what sort of exhibits that we want… Right now whenever there‟s an opportunity we try to contribute, because it‟s important for us to make sure that people know who the First Nations people are, and what our culture and history is about. So it‟s something that we do right away if somebody calls. (Sonny McHalsie, Interviewed July 27, 2006) 48 The situation is slowly changing for Stó:lō Nation as evidenced by their companion exhibit to the publication, A Coast Salish Historical Atlas, created for the Chilliwack Museum in 2002, and the exhibit, We Have to Learn to Live Together in a Good Way, which accompanied the visit of stone T’xwelátse to the Chilliwack Museum in 2007. Stone T’xwelátse later visited the UBC Museum of Anthropology in 2008. Both of these visits were arranged at the request of T’xwelátse (Herb Joe Sr.), and other members of the family, to provide an opportunity for Stó:lō community members to talk publicly about repatriation and its significance to their daily lives and cultural practices. Figure 3: A Stó:lō Interpreter shares the history of the Transformer Stone at Xá:ytem located near Mission, B.C. Photograph by Sharon Fortney, 2001. Material culture often plays a different role in displays and interpretative programming offered by First Nations (Clifford 1991), including the Stó:lō Nation, who 49 place the focus less on the aesthetic qualities of the object and more on its role within a broader cultural framework (Fortney 2001). In the two facilities currently operated by the Stó:lō Nation – Xá:ytem Longhouse Intrepretative Centre and Shxwt’a:selhawtxw (the House of Long Ago and Today), emphasis is placed upon visitor experience and education. Hands on activities and demonstrations are the primary method of display. Features of the local landscape, and making a personal connection with community members, are as important to interpretation as viewing the collections housed within the two repositories (Fortney 2001). In these two venues, spoken language renders life to the objects in ways that written texts, such as object labels, can only hint at. Vessels for Reclaiming Culture Museums, including cultural centres, are sites of memory creation. These institutions, like the people who work within them, are never neutral spaces (Rickard 2002). They represent how we currently understand the past, and inform our views of contemporary society, thus they are highly political sites. It has been suggested that exhibits, public performances, and the other commemorative activities undertaken within their walls demonstrate the role culture plays in reaffirming the ideologies of nation states (Duncan and Wallach 1978). Political theorist Louis Althusser lists culture and education among the apparatus used by states to reproduce their ideologies, noting: Ideological State Apparatus function massively and predominantly by ideology, but they also function secondarily by repression, even if ultimately, but only ultimately, this is very attenuated and concealed, even symbolic. (There is no such thing as a purely ideological apparatus). Thus schools and Churches use suitable methods of punishment, expulsion, selection, etc., to „discipline‟ not only their shepherds, but also their flocks. The same is true of the Family […] The same is true of cultural IS Apparatus (censorship, among other things), etc. (1971:145). 50 First Nations and other indigenous peoples have long recognised the dominance imposed by museums and other colonial tools of suppression and forced assimilation, but have only recently begun to exercise some control over how they are represented in these venues (Deloria Jr. 1969; Nason 1971; McMaster 1998; McMaster and Martin 1992). Since the 1960s, they have begun transforming these institutions into vehicles for presenting their own cultural identities (Simpson 2001), and thereby, it could be argued resisting state ideology. When First Nations develop museum-like repositories within their own communities, those involved frequently choose a different name for the space, such as: Cultural Centre, Heritage Centre, or House of Treasures. These names reflect a difference in intent. Cultural centres are first and foremost places for people to gather and culture to be shared. They are as much about the future as they are about the past. They are sites where communities can tell their own stories (in their own languages). They are places where celebrations are held, manifested through cultural performance – singing, dancing, storytelling, and conversation. Objects enhance these cultural activities, but are not always required for them. When I visited Head-Smashed-In Buffalo Jump in southern Alberta during the mid-1990s, for example, I was told by staff that their interpretative displays contained “only five real artefacts.” Instead, contemporary cultural objects such as drums, props such as archaeological tools, and manufactured items such as replica stones, plants, and berries were used to create interpretative displays. First Nations staff, a video presentation, and sound recordings were the primary means by which culture was shared. Visitors were also able to experience this cultural site by walking outdoors to view the cliff and surrounding 51 landscape (see Hendry 2005:57-58). During the summer, they are able to attend a large Pow Wow held on the nearby plains. Cultural centres differ from museums in another significant way – their operating budgets and sources of funding. In Canada, public museums have core funding provided by government agencies – federal, provincial, and/or municipal. They supplement this funding with grant monies for specific activities: collections management, exhibits or public programmes. Cultural centres are also eligible for these types of grants, but unlike museums do not receive core funding from government sources. This means that they are especially dependent upon receiving grants from entities, such as the Department of Canadian Heritage‟s Museums Assistance Program. This is especially problematic for cultural centres located in rural areas, since they sometimes encounter difficulties attracting and retaining staff with the skills necessary to compete for, and obtain, these types of grants (Fortney 2001). Recently, cultural representations and language programs for First Nations have become a focal point within neo-liberal policy, yet many communities still struggle to address their basic needs – adequate housing, clean drinking water, and healthcare. In 2001, when I visited the Secwepemc Museum and Heritage Park operated by the Secwepemc Cultural Education Society (SCES), which serves the 17 Bands comprising the Secwepemc Nation, I spoke with Chief Bonnie Leonard of the Kamloops Indian Band. She stated: “I would like to see the Museum in a new building. The roof of the building that it‟s in now leaks, and although the Museum is in the basement it could be a threat to the artefacts.” She also indicated that the Kamloops Indian Band could not afford to provide the SCES with any more additional free space since the competing issues in their community are the basic needs of their band members – adequate shelter and clean drinking water. She add[ed] that the Kamloops Indian 52 Band most recently needed to install a water treatment plant for their community, and agree[d] with the assessment that the Museum [was] a luxury item by comparison (Fortney 2001:60). By using government policy to focus public attention on issues of representation and cultural revitalization, inequalities in the economic and social circumstances of First Nations are obscured. On the surface it may appear that First Nations, and other source communities, have entered a post-colonial era, but we must consider the source of such messages. “At question here is the issue of who speaks, under what conditions, for whom, and how knowledge is constructed and translated within and between different communities located within asymmetrical relations of power” (Giroux 1992:26). Museum funding provides one small window from which we can view current inequalities. Previous research demonstrated that cultural centres in British Columbia, were very dependent upon funding allocated through government agencies, such as the Department of Canadian Heritage (Fortney 2001). When the criteria for funding, and the process for allocating funds is determined by government agencies, the state retains control over what is deemed acceptable for public consumption. Projects that do not fit their criteria will go unfunded, their messages unnoticed. Museums as sites of memory, and cultural history, are used to legitimise hegemonies. Historian Carol Duncan notes that Western nations have: long known that public art museums are important, even necessary fixtures, of a well-furnished state. This knowledge has recently spread to other parts of the world. Lately, both traditional monarchs in so-called underdeveloped nations and Third World military despots have become enthralled with them (1991:88). To this list we can add indigenous peoples, who as peoples of the so-called fourth world exist within the confines of Western nations and must, therefore, navigate through the political arenas of these hegemonies in their struggle for self-determination – be it 53 recognition of existing rights, obligations detailed in treaties, or those highlighted by ongoing negotiations. For the individuals involved, participation in museum work can bring the satisfaction of sharing cultural experience with others while creating a more positive community profile, one that counterbalances negative stereotypes common in the media and forms of popular culture. Puyallup Artist Qwalsius (Shaun Peterson) notes that he feels a responsibility to ensure cultural portrayals are done in an accurate and respectful manner, so through his involvement he speaks to: Most of all, everyone. I believe Native is as important as the non-Native viewer. The fact remains that there are so many Natives who grow up outside of the culture, and time periods portrayed in the museum setting, that a burden of living up to something has damaged the self worth of many. The meaning of what it is to „be Indian‟ in the 21st century needs to change through the people themselves, not a film like “Dances with Wolves,” as appealing as that may have been. An honest look at the contemporary Native world is something everyone needs to take a look into (Interviewed October 22, 2007). The expressed motivations of individual community members may vary, but reaction to stereotypes and the legacies of the colonial histories of both Canada and the United States cannot be ignored as a motivating factor. Reclaiming the past is one means by which indigenous communities are now gathering strength. Thus to re-emerging (and new) nations, museums are an important pedagogical tool. It is within this framework the shifting relationships between museums and indigenous peoples must be considered, as representation of indigenous identities shifts away from passive representation, in which elite groups of scholars (and other self- proclaimed experts) determine how indigenous peoples are publicly represented, to active voice – whereby indigenous peoples represent their histories and cultures in their own words (and with growing frequency in their own languages). 54 In the past, museums represented the identities of indigenous peoples, first as curiosities, later as scientific specimens within imperial archives that signified the far reaching control of colonising powers such as: England, France and Germany (see Ames 1992; Barringer and Flynn 1998; Healy 1997; Richards 1992). Since the 1960s there has been a notable change in the attitudes of anthropologists and other museum practitioners, as evidenced by changes in institutional policies to address First Nations and other source community aspirations (Karp and Levine 1991, 1992; Ames 1992, 1999; Peers and Brown 2003). Vine Deloria Jr. reflects: we can now make choices we could not make before. There are some things, however, that cannot change because they are the foundations of the relationship. Anthropology carries with it some incredibly heavy baggage. It is, and continues to be, a deeply colonial academic discipline, founded in the days when it was doctrine that the coloured races of the world would be enslaved by Europeans, and the tribal peoples would vanish from the planet. When we stop to think about it, we live in a society so rich and so structured that we have the luxury of paying six-figure salaries to individuals who know a little bit about the pottery patterns of a small group of ancient people, who know something of a language of an Indian tribe, or who specialise in ledger-book drawings or plant knowledge of remote groups of desert-dwelling tribal peoples. We still seem to find it more valuable to have an Anglo know these things and be certified to teach them to other Anglos in an almost infinite chain of generations of scholars than to change the configuration of the academic enterprise and move on to more significant endeavours (1997:211). Despite this inherent imbalance change has been occurring, and many First Nations have begun to embrace museums, schools, and other public sites of memory and commemoration. To understand this change of attitude we must look to the events that provoked this epiphany, especially political activism and demands for civil liberties and social justice – a theme that will be developed in more detail in the next chapter. 55 Coast Salish Memory and Identity “The sxwoxwiyam and the stories of Xexá:ls, the Transformers, there‟s the sqwélqwel and that‟s like our own true history, the family histories. When I talk about where my grandfather fished or where he picked berries or where my great grandmother gathered cedar roots or whatever, that‟s my sqwélqwel. That‟s the part of me that I take care of from the family perspective, where as sxwoxwiyam is more general, it‟s what everyone learns. It connects us all, because Xexá:ls travelled through each of our territories and transformed some of our ancestors into stone, or some of our ancestors into sturgeon, or the black bear, things like that…” Naxaxalhts’i (Sonny McHalsie), Co-Director, Stó:lō Research and Resource Management Centre, Interviewed July 27, 2006 There is a growing body of literature concerning the memory and identity of indigenous peoples, challenging the assumption that memory is concerned only with the past, by demonstrating how memory plays a prominent role in the present, and thereby guides future action (Basso 1996; Bennett and Rowley 2003; Clifford 1998; Connerton 1989; Cruikshank and Argounova 2000; Friedman 1992; Gordillo 2002; Marr 1996; Muratorio 1991; Nuttall 2001; Roy 2002; Sarris 1993; Trouillot 1995; Yelvington 2002). Memory is no longer viewed as static and unchanging, nor restricted to individuals, but as a social act that carries culture forward. Concern for chronology and factual accuracy is now viewed by many scholars as less important than what these social memories can tell us about the people who share them and how they view their place in the larger world. To understand contemporary Coast Salish identity we must see it as being equally entwined with knowledge of local places and past events. Although some of these landscapes may have been irrevocably changed, they still anchor Coast Salish identities in the contemporary world, through histories and memories that are spatially rather than chronologically driven. This does not mean that oral traditions have no underlying chronology, but rather that this is not the driving force behind Coast Salish knowledge of the past. Members of the Stó:lō Nation, for example, differentiate between family history 56 (sqwélqwel) and broader cultural knowledge (sxwoxwiyam) – the former being a form of private knowledge and the latter more communal in nature (see Carlson 1997, 2001). For those outside of the community, it may at times be difficult to distinguish between the two types of knowledge since both include narratives scholars would classify as oral tradition. To understand oral traditions it is sometimes necessary to provide a framework for understanding – a translation or gloss that brings a sense of order to the experience. Coast Salish narratives, like those of many other indigenous peoples, often defy the application of a clear linear chronology. Despite this difficulty, anthropologist William W. Elmendorf identified three distinct chronological periods while researching Twana oral traditions – the mythic, semi-mythic and semi-historic. Mythic tales, he suggests: “have their setting in a prehuman period, the sa’bu, before the changing of the world” (Elmendorf 1993:iii). It was during this period that, in some communities, the first people fell from the sky. This was also the time when people and animals could change their shapes to assume either animal or human form – this was often accomplished by donning or removing their animal skins (see Adamson 1934; Hill-Tout 1978; Elmendorf 1993; Kennedy and Bouchard 1983; Marshall 1999 for other examples). Elmendorf notes that a semi-mythic period followed where humans and animals began to acquire their separate identities. These changes were often brought about through the efforts of supernatural figures known as the Transformers, who travelled throughout the Salish world bringing order to the landscape (see Bierwert 1999; Carlson 1997; Hill-Tout 1978 for examples). Semi-historic tales, by contrast, “concern almost exclusively human characters, although these are usually anonymous, they sometimes 57 deal with historically known peoples” (Elmendorf 1993:iii), and thus include the categories of family history and gossip. All of these types of narratives while situated in the past, continue to shape Coast Salish identify in the contemporary world. They provide the foundation of an indigenous epistemology – one where history is understood spatially, as opposed to chronologically as is the case on in the western world. Coast Salish oral narratives chronicle past events, but they are very much about the present, providing rationales and consequences for specific cultural behaviours, thereby simultaneously defining and reinforcing a moral code. They don‟t just speak to the past, they tell us how to live in the present, and provide metaphors for adapting to new circumstances. In doing so they write Coast Salish history on local landscapes, linking specific groups of people to specific places, thereby getting to the very root of what it means to be “indigenous.” Because oral narratives are more than objects to be collected, translated, classified, and displayed, they cannot be adopted piecemeal into another knowledge framework. To do so is to miss recognising the underlying truth – that with their unification they are an alternative knowledge framework (Cruikshank 1998:53). What does this mean within a museum context? Recognition of difference requires museum visitors to confront the unfamiliar – something that jars their worldview. This cannot be accomplished by arranging cultural objects – material possessions and oral narratives, within the westernised frameworks of art or functionality. This difficulty became apparent during recent discussions held at the Seattle Art Museum (SAM) during June and August of 2007, for the exhibit: S’abadeb – The Gifts: Pacific Coast Salish Art and Artists. Community members from both sides of the border 58 suggested the exhibit storyline should focus on flood stories, the travels of the transformers and the legacy of the gifts they created for us, as well as local narratives that highlight specific places within the territories of participating tribes and nations. The importance of tribal canoe journeys, and our identity as water people, was another theme invoking local landscapes deemed central to constructing contemporary Coast Salish identity. These themes continued to reappear throughout the course of these early planning sessions, despite efforts by museum staff to redirect discussion to agenda topics dealing with object selection and interpretative technology. Rather than seeing oral traditions as the framework for understanding Coast Salish material culture, museum staff seemed to view it as supplementary to the exhibit storyline – another object to be displayed. Frequently at these meetings, we were advised that “nothing is written in stone” and that everything was open to discussion and change. Despite these assurances, and considerable feedback, the proposed storyline did not alter from the first meeting to the next – although the exhibit title was changed after the third to include the term “Pacific” (an unnecessary change in the opinion of some Canadian delegates). The exhibition summary, presented at the two meetings I attended (in June and August 2007), showcased themes developed over several years in consultation with Upper Skagit Elder taq wšəblu (Vi Hilbert). This document states that: The title, chosen by one of the museum‟s Native advisors, is the Lushootseed term for “gift” and invokes the principle at the heart of Salish culture, that of reciprocity, both in the public and spiritual domains. This richly symbolic word expresses the important acts of giving gifts at potlatches, of “giving thanks” during first food ceremonies, the gifts of creativity bestowed upon artists and other leaders, and the roles of master artists, oral historians, and cultural leaders to pass vital cultural information to the next generations. The exhibition itself is a gift that the museum and its advisors give to the community, providing a platform 59 for learning and understanding based in current art historical scholarship and indigenous knowledge bases (S‟abadeb Exhibition Summary, page 1). The S’abadeb storyline, although not contested by planning committee members, speaks not of community consultation but rather the close collaborative relationship that existed between the exhibit curator and one well-respected Elder. Although consultation (largely information sharing) was later extended to representatives from multiple communities, the experience of future visitors had already been planned out, as was demonstrated in an accompanying floor plan also distributed to delegates with their working papers. This exhibit plan provided titles for the five S’abadeb galleries, mapped the location of key objects such as a canoe, and even identified the placement of interpretative technology such as computer kiosks and touch screens. Although the final installation differed slightly from the initial gallery plan, the consultation process was one that required community members to respond to suggestions made by SAM as opposed to working together to identify a storyline and other content for the exhibit. Emphasis on chronological sequence was a tangible element in the distributed working papers, despite expressed efforts on the part of curatorial staff to depart from the familiar. Delegates were informed, at the planning sessions I attended, that distinct spaces had been set aside for: greeting visitors (Orientation Area); showcasing the diversity of Coast Salish material culture (Gallery 1: Gifts of the Earth); archaeological objects (Gallery 2: Gifts of our ancestors); the Vancouver Voyage objects (Gallery 3: Gifts of our Families); ceremonial objects (Gallery 4: Gifts of the Spirit World); and contemporary works (Gallery 5: Salish Art Today). Regardless of conscious intent, visitor experience was already being arranged into a recognisable historical timeline – pre-contact, contact, and contemporary. When visitors encounter this type of familiar 60 experience, one where their worldview is not jarred or disrupted in any manner, the opportunity to provoke new insights is lost. The installed exhibit, unveiled publicly on October 21, 2008, showed only minor departures from the preliminary plan. The most significant change was the absence of ritualist rattles, and other ceremonial items, considered not appropriate for public display by the majority of the community advisors participating in the project. Several empty platforms were also included in recognition of the places and things that could not be exhibited within the confines of a museum, such as landscapes and spoken languages. The gallery titles – Gifts of the Earth, Gifts of our Ancestors, Gifts of our Families, Gifts of the Spirit World, Gifts of our Artists – were also employed for a concurrent virtual exhibit on the SAM website. Archaeological objects and contemporary works and activities were co-mingled within this virtual exhibit to demonstrate cultural continuity and recent divergences. In the virtual exhibit, visitors were oriented to: Coast Salish people and their cultural practices; the sources of such knowledge – oral tradition and archaeology; historical events including acts of cultural resistance and revitalization; provided a brief glimpse of ceremonial life; and introduced to Coast Salish “art forms” and contemporary artists. S’abadeb – The Gifts: Pacific Coast Salish Art and Artists, and the companion virtual exhibit, remain true to the vision presented in working papers circulated at the community planning meetings held in 2007. If we critically examine these papers, what do they tell us about the exhibit? In the brief excerpt from the S’abadeb exhibit summary (discussed previously), we see that western preoccupation with taxonomic classification orders visitor experience as cultural work is broken down into discrete categories, or 61 specialties, that stress individuality rather than the entwined natures of these “creative gifts”. Problematic is the statement that: “the exhibition itself is a gift that the museum and its advisors give to the community,” since it invokes the language of philanthropy and conveys a sense of “pride” on the part of the host institution (see Price 1989:25), whether intended or not. The use of the term “advisors” as opposed to “partners” demonstrates an imbalance in the collaborative relationship, acknowledging that the museum was in the position to choose whether or not to follow the “advice” provided at such meetings. One Canadian delegate described the process as information sharing as opposed to collaboration, noting that SAM was only beginning to explore how to undertake community consultation. The delegates I spoke with all felt they had been treated in a respectful manner, but held mixed opinions on the level of consultation that was undertaken with their respective communities and the process that was followed to obtain exhibit content. What the above example conveys is the difficulty inherent in museum work itself. Ethnographic displays, whether they occur in an anthropology museum or an art museum, are faced with the challenge of translating one type of cultural experience to an audience of diverse background. In most instances, professional “experts” or curators are the driving force behind such work, and whether intentionally or not, bring their own cultural experience into the end product. Musqueam language instructor, Victor Guerin, explains the difficulty of translation is that cultural meanings are often lost, noting: Well one thing about language and culture is that the expression itself is a bit of a misnomer, because frankly you can‟t separate language and culture they‟re one – part and parcel of each other. Our language…our culture is encoded in our language. You can look at specific expressions to see that. One of the examples that I like to use is the way that words are viewed in terms of the aboriginal term and the English gloss, as opposed to the English translation. Take for instance the 62 word woodpecker. In English it‟s called a [Northern Flicker] woodpecker and in our language it‟s called tumulhupsum. Tumulhupsum is a combination word coming from the word tumulth which is our word for red ochre paint and the lexical suffix upsun which means the neck. So literally the term translates to the one with red ochre paint on his neck. So, if you look at for instance a classroom situation where someone asks, “what do you call a woodpecker?” And you tell them tumulhupsum, and then leave it at that, they view that as a translation, but it‟s really a gloss. They don‟t get the cultural information when you leave it that way. They look at it as a translation and say, “oh tumulhupsum means woodpecker when it doesn‟t (Interviewed April 23, 2007). This tendency to present Coast Salish culture, and other First Nation cultures, in a fragmentary, or incomplete, manner is not unique to museums. It pervades written texts, media portrayals, and other modes of communication characterised by an “intrinsic lack of neutrality” (Freire 1998:124). Translating culture is a difficulty that many First Nations must now struggle with themselves, as they attempt to solidify their national identities through commemorative and pedagogical activity targeting community members who have been educated in the western system of education and whose language of fluency is English. T’xwelátse (Herb Joe Sr.), a traditional councillor employed by the Stó:lō Nation‟s Family and Children Service Program, explains: They‟re being taught within a very different education model, the public education model that all of BC uses. And basically all of Canada uses as well. But that education model is so different than our historical education model that our young people now are finding a need in their lives for museums. And well, that being the case, then we necessarily need to get more involved with museums. It‟s a necessity in our lives today rather than a…miscellaneous choice that you can make (Interviewed July 27, 2006). Adapting to new educational models is just one of the ways that contemporary Coast Salish nations must accommodate to the influence of the outside world. Band and tribal agencies now utilise organizational structures that are outwardly similar to the governance structures of the Canadian and U.S. governments, with separate departments 63 responsible for portfolios such as education, health, resource management, legal matters and justice. This is viewed by some as a necessity for dealing with federal agencies (and does not mean they have abandoned cultural protocols as part of their process for conducting business). Many communities also assign specific departments or individuals to act as liaisons to museums (and other cultural institutions), but a great deal of diversity exists as to how respective communities handle their affairs. Table One details the types of individuals selected to act as museum liaisons, based upon my research over a five- year period. Regardless of how a community chooses to delegate museum work, the reality is that on occasion small numbers of individuals may determine how the identity of the larger community is constructed. Musqueam language instructor, Victor Guerin, suggests that: …consultation tends to focus on the staff members in Band Administration. It‟s fairly difficult to bring consultation to the community at large because they have their own [priorities] – you know they have to put food on the table, so we have their schedules to contend with. It‟s generally administration staff that can make time for museum people to consult. I think there‟s… a lot of knowledge that‟s lost in that difficulty in consultation. But also exhibits by their very nature tend to need brevity, there‟s really only a certain amount that you can include in the content of a presentation (Interviewed April 23, 2007). However, other representatives from Musqueam offer alternative viewpoints about how consultation occurs within their community. They note time is spent gathering advice for specific initiatives at the Elder‟s Lunches, Musqueam 101, Musqueam Youth 101, at local schools attended by community youth, and through other community forums. Exhibits, and other forms of commemorative activity, tend to present unifying narratives despite the diversity of experience that may exist within a community. This is 64 because coherency is required to counter existing stereotypes and inaccurate or one-sided portrayals common to news media. Multi-vocality is still employed, but within an overarching framework determined by specific community processes. For example, those assigned the role of museum liaison often rely upon existing materials, accumulated in archival form for the purposes of treaty negotiation, curriculum development, or language preservation to guide their interactions with museum staff. Geraldine Manson, Snuneymuxw Cultural and Language Elders Coordinator, and an Elected Council Member, explains her community‟s process as follows: We do consultation really closely with one or two key Elders. We are also mindful of the research that we‟ve done with the history of our Nation, to always use that as a guide too. It‟s never done by itself. (Interviewed October 22, 2007) The theme of the exhibit in question ultimately determines who will be consulted, since different individuals offer different forms of expertise. This also returns us to a previous concern over who determines the content of an exhibit or public program, with communities responding to externally driven opportunities as opposed to those developed in conjunction with a partner institution. 65 Table One: People assigned to Museum Work from within Coast Salish Communities Community Other Roles of Museum Liaisons Institution Type of Work Quw‟utsun‟ Elected Council Members MOA E Musqueam Director of Treaty, Lands and Resources; accompanied by Language Instructor / Elder MOA, LOA, CMC, VM, NMAI, SAM, Smithsonian E, P, R Squamish Director of Education; and or a Representative from Chief and Council VM, MOA, WV, SAM, NV, CMC, Burke E, P, R Songhees Elected Council Members MOA E Holmalco Elected Chief SAM E Snuneymuxw Cultural and Language Elders Coordinator / Elected Council Member accompanied by an Elder MOA, SAM E Tseycum Cultural Researcher accompanied by Elected (and Hereditary) Chief MOA, AMNH E, R Stó:lō Nation Director and Staff from Stó:lo Research and Resource Management Centre; Members of Stó:lo Nation Repatriation Committee MOA, SAM, VM, Burke E, R Tsleil-Waututh Staff member(s) or Elected Chief / Director of Treaty Department VM, SAM E, P Duwamish Elected Council Member accompanied by Tradition Keeper SAM, MOHI E, P Snohomish Elected Chairman SAM E Nisqually Director of the Archives Department / Tribal Archaeologist accompanied by Archives Staff SAM E Jamestown S‟Klallam Elected Council Member (assigned on a rotational basis) SAM E Klahoose Community Elders LOA R Sliammon Spiritual Advisor accompanied by an Elder Senior Treaty Negotiator Community Researcher LOA, CMC R Abbreviations: AMNH = American Museum of Natural History in New York CMC = Canadian Museum of Civilization LOA = UBC Laboratory of Archaeology MOA = UBC Museum of Anthropology MOHI = Museum of History and Industry NMAI = National Museum of the American Indian NV = North Vancouver Museum SAM = Seattle Art Museum VM = Vancouver Museum WV = West Vancouver Museum and Archives E = Exhibit P = Public Programme R = Repatriation 66 Communities such as Musqueam, the Skwxwú7mesh Nation, and the Snuneymuxw have all enjoyed some level of success in partnering with outside institutions to develop exhibit and programming content that satisfies the aspirations of their own communities while educating external audiences. However, their respective relationships with the Museum of Anthropology, the West Vancouver Museum and Archives, and the Nanaimo District Museum, have only slowly gained momentum. For example, Musqueam‟s relationship with the UBC Museum of Anthropology, discussed in more detail in Chapter Five, has been many decades in the making. In this chapter, I have discussed some of the ways contemporary memory and identity is generated by Coast Salish communities through commemorative activity, such as museum exhibits and programming. In the process, I have critiqued one institution engaged in the difficult task of consulting numerous Coast Salish communities. That is not to say that the Seattle Art Museum does not deal with First Nations in a respectful manner, but simply provides a means to offer some insights into its current relationships and perhaps, assist with their ongoing development. To conclude, I would like to acknowledge Geraldine Manson‟s comments on those recent efforts: The Seattle Art Museum I put my hands up to them, because they have now come to realise after all these years that First Nations are the ones that carry the knowledge – how things should be displayed or when to be displayed now. It has never been that relationship before. You read about our petroglyphs in books that have been written by others [and] it‟s their thought or understanding of what an object is – why it‟s that way. They don‟t go out and get the information, they just assume… (Interviewed October 22, 2007) 67 Duwamish Tradition Keeper, Shla'dai', likewise acknowledges the progress being made by SAM and other Washington State museums, stating: I have been happy with the headway I have made with the museums, the two that I‟m working with too [SAM and the Museum of History and Industry]. I think the only way is up! As I said before, this is new for the Duwamish as I have brought the weaving back to my tribe and my son, Michael Halady, has brought the carving back. And we are looking forward to a positive presence in the community and we are on that path and we hope it will grow with time and will be a good thing for our tribe and the city which was named after our great Chief Si’ahl. (Mary Lou Slaughter, Interviewed August 19, 2007) 68 Chapter Three: Museums and Social Justice – Perspectives from the So-called “New World” The significance of material culture (buildings, clothes, ceremonial paraphernalia, market goods) lies at present in its challenge to colonial authority, its assertion of survival, its demand for response, its provocation to action. In other words, it marks out the contested field of First Nations identity politics (Charlotte Townsend Gault 1997:132). No surviving culture is ever static, cultural dynamics require change in order to survive. What survives in a culture is what people accept and bring forward (Bates 1999:202). In the twentieth century our world became a much smaller place as the “exotic” and “foreign” were transformed into the “familiar,” and sometimes “commonplace,” by new forms of transportation and communication. During this same era, issues affecting ethnic groups around the world were spotlighted on a world stage, as post-war reaction to the ethnic cleansing of the Holocaust grew and a new type of global citizen began to emerge. Air travel, the rise of tourism as an industry, and new advances in media – especially television, brought new knowledge of social inequality to the doorsteps of the middle classes. Individuals from all social classes began to view themselves as creators of history, and preserving the past became a widespread preoccupation for the masses, not just in museum settings, but also in the privacy of their own homes (Friesen 2000; Gillis 1994; Nora 1989; Sobchack 1996; Taylor 2001). In the 1960s, indigenous peoples in the United States, Canada, Australia, and other former colonies, began to assert their rights to equal participation in their respective nations by drawing attention to unresolved issues relating to their existing aboriginal rights and title. In this atmosphere of change: There was a growing movement towards cultural revival and self-representation by tribal groups seeking to re-establish and enhance their cultural identity through the preservation and revival of traditional culture, history and art, and to counteract the negative and stereotyped image of the Indian. One manifestation 69 of this self-determination movement was the establishment of Native American museums and cultural centres (Simpson 2001:135). It also manifested in the formation of new political and cultural organisations in former colonies around the world, and eventually led to the development of new types of relationships between indigenous peoples and institutions, such as museums, whose histories were entwined with colonialism. On the Northwest Coast, there has been a long history of engagement and efforts at collaborative research, beginning with the research conducted by anthropologists and other museum collectors in the late 1800s. Anthropologist, and Ethnology Curator, Martha Black notes: “although participants and methods have changed from individuals – often First Nations artists – acting as representatives of their cultural communities in museums to formal partnerships between museums and First Nations institutions, and not all collaborative projects have been equally successful, collaborations between First Nations and museums have been going on for more than fifty years in British Columbia” (2009:5). Since the 1950s, First Nations involvement in museums and other cultural initiatives has gathered strength, building upon a handful of early success stories. The Totem Pole Restoration Project, implemented by the UBC Museum of Anthropology and the BC Provincial Museum, is a prime example of one such early collaboration between museums and First Nations. Initially the project employed Kwakwaka‟wakw master carver Mungo Martin, but it soon attracted younger artists such as Doug Cramner, Henry Hunt and Bill Reid as apprentices and observers (Hawthorn 1993:16). Although it actively employed only a handful of artists, the project‟s greater legacy may have been 70 felt when participating (and visiting) artists returned to their home communities – some with new skills, others with new outlooks on the relevancy of museums. In 1969 the resurgence of Canadian indigenous identity was spurred on when a newly drafted Indian Policy known as the “White Paper” was proposed in the House of Commons. This document necessitated immediate action on the part of First Nations as it sought to extinguish aboriginal rights and title in Canada by suggesting the assimilation strategies employed over the last century had effectively destroyed First Nation cultures across the Nation. Previously, when faced with repressive laws such as the Potlatch Ban, in effect from 1884 until 1951 (Muckle 1998:72), Canadian First Nations had responded by quietly concealing their cultures from view (Spradley 1969; Blackman 1992; Alfred 2004). However, the potential repercussions of this new Indian Policy required a different response. To protect their rights, First Nations had to work actively to establish public identities. They needed to demonstrate that their cultures still existed, distinct from the rest of Canadian society. The White Paper On June 25, 1969, the Canadian government sought to resolve its Indian problems (and phase out transfer payments to its legal wards) by implementing change to the nation‟s Indian Policy. Delivered by Jean Chrétien, then Minister of Indian Affairs and Northern Development, the 1969 White Paper stated: For Canadian society the issue is whether a growing element of its population will become full participants contributing in a positive way to the general well-being or whether, conversely, the present social and economic gap will lead to their increasing frustration and isolation, a threat to the general well-being of society (section II). 71 The paper goes on to suggest the continuation of separate status will impede Canadian First Nations from “full social, economic and political participation in Canadian life” (section II). Disguised as concern for the social and economic well-being of a segment of Canadian society set apart by its cultural difference and imposed poverty, the new policy, in fact, did more to protect the interests of mainstream Canadians. Fear seems to have been its guiding principle, since frequent references were made to “the rapid increase in the Indian population” (section II) and a newly emerging “forceful and articulate Indian leadership” (see sections II and V). A leadership that acquired many of their skills through forced assimilation strategies, such as residential schools, where they gained knowledge of mainstream society and, in some instances, the education to function within it. Throughout the White Paper, the Government presented its arguments using “common sense” rhetoric, suggesting that social equality was the key motivation for change rather than economic interests. However, economic interests were undeniably the guiding principle behind the proposed policy, which sought to completely eliminate the Department of Indian Affairs. The paper suggested other federal and provincial agencies could assume the responsibilities of the defunct Department and “administrative savings would result from the elimination of separate agencies” (section V, subsection C). In addition to saving overhead costs on administering services to its First Nations citizens, the Government also seemed preoccupied with the missed economic opportunities posed by reserve lands noting that: The reserve system has provided the Indian people with lands that generally have been protected against alienation without their consent. Widely scattered across Canada, the reserves total nearly 6,000,000 acres and are divided into about 2,200 parcels of varying sizes... The Government believes that full ownership implies 72 many things. It carries with it the free choice of use, of retention or of disposition [emphasis mine] (section V, subsection E). The paper goes on to imply that the only way native control of native lands can be attained is through changing the ownership from land trust to fee simple land, which could be mortgaged or sold. It argues that no one will do business on reserve land without these alterations, although time has since proven that this is clearly not the case. The 1969 White Paper did more than just seek to sever the “special status” of its Indian subjects through economic initiatives, it also sought to appropriate their cultural difference for the benefit of Canadian society as a whole. It patronizingly suggested that native peoples were unaware of their rich cultural heritage, while avoiding mention of past assimilation policies and government responsibility. The paper notes that: The Indian contribution to North American society is often overlooked, even by the Indian people themselves. Their history and tradition can be a rich source of pride, but are not sufficiently known and recognised. Too often, the art forms which express the past are preserved, but are inaccessible to most Indian people. This richness can be shared by all Canadians. Indian people must be helped to become aware of their history and heritage in all its forms, and this heritage must be brought before all Canadians in all its rich diversity (Section V, subsection A). Heritage resources were indirectly equated with natural resources, which like reserve lands, were viewed as under-developed in the eyes of the liberal government. Whereas, First Nations culture was once something to eradicate, it was now something for all Canadians to preserve and share (regardless of existing cultural protocols for determining ownership and use). Given the rise of tourism as an industry, following the advent of affordable air transportation, this change in attitude is not surprising. The success of the tourism industry pivots on the ability to deliver a unique product to the consumer, and in former colonies, such as Canada and Australia, that unique product has come to be equated with 73 the cultures of indigenous peoples combined with the beauty of natural landscapes (see Blundell 2002; Hall 1996; Keelan 1993; Jacobs 1996). Tourism pivots on quests for “authentic” experiences that can be commemorated through souvenirs – an economic niche that many feel indigenous people and their material culture can satisfy. However, in their enthusiasm to market indigenous cultures, mainstream governments and businesses often fail to consider the rights and needs of indigenous peoples. Their priorities do not recognise the non-secular aspects of indigenous life, nor do they realise that some things are not appropriate (or available) for display or sale. The Red Paper and Other Counter Arguments Canada‟s “articulate Indian leadership” was quick to respond to this new Indian policy. On June 26, 1969, the National Indian Brotherhood released a statement, noting that: We have had less than 24 hours to examine this policy, but feel we must issue a strong statement now lest the Canadian public believe the Indian question is solved to the mutual satisfaction of all concerned. We know it was not the intent of the new policy but we fear the end result of the proposal will be the destruction of a Nation of People by legislation and cultural genocide […] Throughout the period of consultation referred to by the Minister in his policy paper, the Indian leaders were confident they had abundantly made clear to the Minister, and through him the Government, that an essential first step in developing a new approach to the so-called Indian problem would be to honour the existing obligations; the outstanding promises and commitments made to the Indian people. Instead of this approach, the Minister proposes to solve the problem by evading the responsibility of the federal government under the British North America Act (1969:2). Consultation clearly meant different things to each of the parties. While both parties entered these meetings aspiring to create positive change, a cultural gap existed, resulting in divergent understandings of what each party was seeking. The Canadian government 74 was working within a framework that saw First Nations culture and land as unexploited commodities that could benefit all Canadians (with the proper guidance). By contrast, First Nations people were expressing their need for self-determination and urging the Government to begin reconciliation by honouring its existing legal obligations. In June of 1970, Harold Cardinal, a First Nations lawyer, presented a response that reflected consultations among 42 First Nations communities by the Indian Chiefs of Alberta. The paper titled, “Citizens Plus,” has become more widely known as the “Red Paper.” This articulate document is now acknowledged as the main counter-argument to the White Paper. The preamble states: To us who are Treaty Indians there is nothing more important than our Treaties, our lands and the well being of our future generation. We have studied carefully the contents of the Government White Paper on Indians and we have concluded that it offers despair instead of hope. Under the guise of land ownership, the government has devised a scheme whereby within a generation or shortly after the proposed Indian Lands Act expires our people would be left with no land and consequentially the future generation would be condemned to the despair and ugly spectre of urban poverty in ghettos (Indian Chiefs of Alberta 1970:1). The paper further notes that instead of continuing discussions to resolve native concerns about the policy, government officials were proceeding with implementation of the five year plan detailed in the White Paper, as was evidenced by new departmental budgets. Citizens Plus, or the Red Paper, offered a counter policy that deconstructed the arguments presented by the liberal government in the White Paper beginning with the notion that special status equated discrimination. Arguing in favour of retention of legal Indian Status, the paper notes: Retaining the legal status of Indians is necessary if Indians are to be treated justly. Justice requires that the special history, rights and circumstances of Indian people be recognised […] The 1969 statement of the Government of Canada on Indian Policy is based on the assumption that any legislation which sets a particular segment of the population apart from the main stream of the citizenry is ipso facto 75 conducive to the denial of equality and therefore discriminatory and to be deplored. Such an attitude indicates a complete lack of understanding of the significance of the concept of equality, particularly in so far as the law concerning the protection of minorities is concerned (1970:4). Equality in law precludes discrimination of any kind; whereas equality in fact may involve the necessity of different treatment in order to obtain a result which establishes an equilibrium between different situations (1970:5). The paper then outlined immediate responses the government could undertake to reform its Indian policy, including the appointment of a full-time Minister of Indian Affairs, public recognition of existing Treaties, and amending the Canadian Constitution to protect native rights as detailed by those Treaties. The Alberta Indian Chiefs were not in favour of repealing or amending the Indian Act, until “the question of treaties [was] settled” (1970:12). The counter policy went on to identify several measures that, if implemented, would give native people more control over their daily lives. Chief among these steps was to relinquish government control over monies allocated for the well-being of native people. Rather than transferring the responsibility to provincial agencies, native leadership should determine how to administer such funds, particularly those designated for education. The Red Paper notes: Our education is not a welfare system. We have free education as a treaty right because we paid in advance for our education by surrendering our lands. The funds for education should be offered to the tribal councils (1970:14). In terms of fostering economic development, it was argued that changes needed to be made to how the government honoured its obligations to its native citizens. It was suggested that, “no program can succeed if it rests solely on continuing government appropriations, which depend in turn on annual legislative action” (1970:15). 76 The remainder of the document concerns specific plans for implementing organizational changes. However, the root of these changes is the recognition, and honouring, of existing aboriginal rights and title. The newly created Union of BC Indian Chiefs (UBCIC) released its own declaration later that year, on November 17, 1970, which likewise noted: It is evident that legislation for Indians is necessary and that the present Indian Act is unsuitable. New legislation and/or constitutional changes must provide us with educational and economic opportunity, and must provide more power and authority at the local level. The real issue is not revision of the Indian Act but recognition of the rights that have been denied us since Confederation and to enact constitutional legislation to guarantee those rights […] We need legislation that will reverse the present paternalistic attitude of the federal government (1970:3). The UBCIC response to the White Paper also called for First Nations people to administer their own transfer payments (something that was later achieved in the United States through the Indian Self-Determination Act of 1975), thereby reducing the Government bureaucracies with whom they had to work. The resolution of outstanding claims, and the honouring of aboriginal rights regarding resource use – hunting, fishing, and harvesting, were fundamental components of the UBCIC declaration as well. The White Paper quickly faded from public view in the face of these and other counter arguments. In 1973, a landmark ruling, known as the Calder Decision, sealed its fate when the Supreme Court of Canada recognised that aboriginal title had not been extinguished within the province of British Columbia, and that “the Nisga‟a continued to hold title to their land” (Carlson 1997:148). This ruling was monumental for Canadian First Nations, since it recognised the ongoing relevance of the Royal Proclamation of 1763. This proclamation detailed criteria set by the Crown for extinguishing aboriginal title in Canada, making specific reference to the necessity of treaties (see Carlson 77 1997:148). This was a pivotal decision for BC First Nations, since only a limited number of treaties had been signed within the province. The Emergence of Native American Self-Governance The 1970s was also an era of positive change, across the border, for Native Americans where several legal advances paved the way for self-governance. In 1974, Washington State Treaty rights were upheld with the Boldt Decision, a ruling that allocated half of the commercial salmon fishery to federally recognised tribes in Washington State – those who had signed treaties with the United States government in the 1850s and who still met the criteria to retain their federal recognition (see Boxberger 2000; Thrush 2007). This suit, filed against the state of Washington by the federal government, upheld treaty rights for the following tribes: the Hoh, the Lummi, the Makah, the Muckelshoot, the Nisqually, the Puyallup, the Quileute, the Quinault, the Sauk-Suiattle, the Squaxin Island Tribe, the Stillaguamish, the Upper Skagit and the Yakima Nation. After several years of appeals, the Tribes listed above became co- managers of the state‟s commercial salmon fishery (Boxberger 2000:155-157). This momentum was further bolstered by the Indian Self Determination Act of 1975, which gave Native American tribes control over transfer payments from federal funding programs. This was quickly followed on August 11, 1978 by the American Indian Religious Freedom Act (AIRFA). This act addressed three specific aspects of Native American ceremonial life – the need for continued access to spiritual places, the ability to use sacred items currently restricted from use by endangered species laws and narcotic prohibitions (such as eagle feathers and peyote), and the right to practice native 78 religions without interference from outsiders (see Finkelman 2006:51). The implementation of this legislation did not go uncontested, and AIRFA was later amended in 1994 to clarify that the use of peyote was legal under the Act. These two laws enabled federally recognised tribes across the nation to gain more control over their daily lives. However, unrecognised tribes in the United States were excluded from the benefits provided by these rulings, and for some communities these legal victories have been followed by even greater losses. For example, the Duwamish people, whose traditional territory includes the present day city of Seattle, lost their share of the commercial salmon fishery awarded by the Boldt Decision, and all of their other existing treaty rights, when: In 1979, five years after his decision in United States v. Washington, Judge Boldt determined that the Duwamish and four other Puget Sound Native communities no longer met all of the seven criteria required for inclusion on the list of tribes eligible for treaty fishing rights […] The modern day Duwamish officially ceased to exist in the eyes of the federal government and thus were considered to have no legal claim over the city named for their ancestral leader (Thrush 2007:193-4). This has led to a struggle for both public identity and renewed federal recognition for the Duwamish Tribe, under the leadership of the Honourable Cecile A. Hansen (Miller 2003; Thrush 2007). Their struggle has been complicated by the neighbouring communities of Muckelshoot and Tulalip, who have since claimed that the Duwamish People were absorbed into their respective tribes (Miller 2003:94). By denying the separate status of the Duwamish, their federally recognised neighbours potentially share in a greater portion of the commercial fishery, awarded through the Boldt Decision, while closing the doors to competing and overlapping claims for territory and resources. Communities without federal recognition exist within both Canada and the United States, and even memberships within federally recognised tribes and nations are fluid, 79 shifting over time. The Hwlitsum of Kuper Island (previously known as the Lamalchi) have not yet gained federal recognition in Canada, despite being recognised by neighbouring communities. In July of 2005 the Hwlitsum were accepted into the Hul‟qumi‟num Treaty Group by the Chemainus, Cowichan Tribes, Halalt, Lake Cowichan, Lyackson, and Penelakut (Press Release, August 26, 2005). For tribes and bands seeking federal recognition having a public presence is a necessity. This can be a difficult task when the community is without lands to anchor its membership. Shla'dai', a Tradition Keeper for the Duwamish Tribe, notes: Duwamish have been so dispersed over the years we nearly lost all our art and crafts and our recognition. It is sad and we keep on keeping on. When the whites came we greeted them, and fed them, only to be run out of town, off our land, and with a lot of empty promises, and the beat goes on. I truly hope and pray that this go-around [a new petition for federal recognition] will be a good one, and we will get our recognition (Mary Lou Slaughter, Interviewed August 19, 2007). Establishing a cultural centre of their own and participation in local exhibits are two of the strategies the Duwamish have recently employed to raise public awareness about their Tribe. Shla'dai' adds: The Duwamish Tribe has had many public programs to show the community of Seattle that: “The Duwamish are Still Here”. We had a photographer take photos of the Elders, and he made up the 18”x 24” black and white photos, and had an exhibit in the Smith Tower Building. It was a fun night, and the show ran for a few months (Mary Lou Slaughter, Interviewed August 19, 2007). As a tradition keeper for her tribe, Shla'dai' has worked hard over the last 13 years to revive traditional cedar bark weaving and to bring back traditional hat styles, while her son Michael Halady has begun to revive interest in wood carving. For the Duwamish, and many other indigenous communities, revitalising their culture is an essential part of reclaiming their aboriginal rights and title. 80 The Cultural Revitalization of the 1970s In British Columbia, cultural organizations such as the Vancouver Aboriginal Friendship Centre and the First Nations Confederacy of Cultural Education Centres were founded in the 1970s, as were several political ones including the Union of BC Indian Chiefs (UBCIC). During this same decade, First Nations cultural centres began emerging throughout the province in communities such as K‟san, Cape Mudge, and Alert Bay. The art school at K‟san, especially pivotal in training a new generation of Northwest Coast artists, released its first collection of graphic prints in the late 1970s giving ancient traditions new expression as works of art on paper (see Ellis and Stewart 1978). Indigenous art was also flourishing nationwide as new training opportunities emerged at institutions such as the Saskatchewan Indian Cultural College in Saskatoon and the Manitou Arts Foundation on Manitoulin Island in Ontario (McMaster 1998). These opportunities followed in the wake of artist‟s cooperatives such as the Salish Weavers Guild and the Igloo Trademark (Wells 1969; Gustafson 1980; Hollowell 2004). These entities were established to help Canadian indigenous artists market and sell their works on a global scale while retaining control over their intellectual property rights, since: Studies estimate that around 50 percent of all Native or Indian arts and crafts sold in the United States have not been made by American Indian people, and in places with higher indigenous populations, like Alaska or the American Southwest, the situation is more severe. Given a choice between two similar items, most buyers prefer to purchase Native-made goods – according to the FTC [Federal Trade Commission], people will pay up to 30-40 percent more for work made by Native artists (Hollowell 2004:60). 81 The use of emblems, such as the Igloo Trademark – registered by the Canadian government on September 5, 1958 protects Inuit carvers by ensuring art collectors that they are buying “authentic” native art rather than counterfeit pieces (Hollowell 2004:79). In Alaska, the Silver Hand emblem, adopted in 1972 by Eskimo artists, performs a similar task while building on the success of an earlier initiative launched by Alaska Native Arts and Crafts (ANAC) in 1937 (Hollowell 2004:69). In addition to the resurgence of First Nations artistic traditions throughout the 1970s, museum professionals on the Northwest Coast were acknowledging that their professional practices had to change to be more inclusive of native people. In Vancouver, for example, Curator Emeritus Michael Kew recalls that MOA participated in several training programs for native peoples throughout the 1970s and launched its highly successful Native Youth Program in 1979, an initiative that continues to this day (2006: pers. comm.) During the same period, James D. Nason, a former curator of Ethnology at the Thomas Burke Memorial Museum in Washington State, wrote: “while doing research, and in a variety of meetings involving Indians I have been made aware of what I perceive to be a hesitancy, resentment or basic dislike for museums on the part of a number of Indian individuals” (1971:13). He noted that renewed cultural pride, and the Red Power political protest movement, had changed the context of museum and native interactions. Native Americans were no longer afraid to voice their dissatisfaction with the imperialist agendas of museums, and were beginning to challenge the legality of these institutions and their collecting policies. 82 In recognition of native viewpoints, Nason, who was N‟Deh (of Apache descent), called for changes to museum practice including the education of native volunteers, and the return of duplicates and copies of significant objects to communities to aid in cultural revival (1971:16). He also proposed that museums play an active role in facilitating cultural education programs in universities and local schools, noting that such projects were already underway in adjacent British Columbia The 1982 Constitutional Act Momentum in asserting Canadian aboriginal rights exploded in the next decade as the federal government sought to repatriate the Canadian Constitution from Britain. Between 1978 and 1980, political protests brought aboriginal rights and title into the public eye nationwide and eventually led to constitutional reforms. The significance of these amendments are explained by indigenous scholars, Battiste and Youngblood Henderson, who note that: “before 1982, Aboriginal rights were seen as parts of the common law that could be overridden by federal or provincial legislation; however as constitutional rights they are part of a coexisting constitutional regime that is the supreme law of Canada” (2000:207). Changes to the constitution of Canada did not award aboriginal citizens new rights, but rather, clearly articulated their existing legal rights. By clarifying those rights, it was believed Canadian First Nations would be protected from further acts of cultural genocide (see Mainville 2001). These changes not only protected aboriginal rights regarding lands and access to resources (through activities such as hunting, fishing, and gathering), but extended protection to indigenous knowledge and culture. This means that today: 83 Indigenous languages and worldviews are protected by sections 2(b), 21, 22, 25, and 27 of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms and section 35 of the Constitution Act, 1982. In these constitutional vehicles, they are understood as existing Aboriginal rights independent of the liberal ideology of personal rights (Battiste and Henderson 2000:84-5). Once this legal victory was won, another step in the process of self-determination was to reclaim control over how indigenous cultures were portrayed in mainstream society, while creating educational opportunities for community members both young and old. In both Canada and the United States museums became a place to accomplish these goals, as existing museum protocols came under close scrutiny from within, as well as from without. The NMAI Act and NAGPRA In the United States, legal victories for Native Americans followed a different trajectory with changes made to common law (as opposed to the constitutional amendments that occurred in Canada). Several laws have been passed since the late 1970s to ensure that (federally recognised) Native Americans can protect their cultures. These laws have addressed specific types of heritage resources – archaeological sites, human remains, religious paraphernalia, native art and ethnographic collections. The American Indian Religious Freedom Act (AIRFA), passed by US Congress in 1978, was followed by the Archaeological Resources Protection Act (ARPA) on October 31, 1979. The intent of ARPA was to protect archaeological sites and their contents on both public and Indian lands, by making permits a requirement for excavations on federal lands and imposing strict fines on violators. ARPA also gave federally recognised tribes 84 the legal right to manage heritage resources located on their reservations (Wright 2004). In the book, “Red Power: The American Indians' Fight for Freedom,” it is noted: While there were challenges to Native American religious and cultural freedom during the 1980s, there were also gains made by Indian leaders, particularly in the areas of Indian art and repatriation. The foundation laid by the 1979 Archaeological Resources Protection Act was expanded considerably during the 1990s, beginning with the National Museum of the American Indian (NMAI) Act of 1989. The intention of the NMAI act was to provide a new home for a major part of the U.S. government‟s native art and ethnographic holdings, which were spread among the Smithsonian institutions nineteen museums, galleries and research centres and the Heye Museum in New York. The new museum was to be constructed on the last available site on the National Mall in Washington, D.C. … The 1989 National Museum of the American Indian Act not only established the National Museum itself, it also set in motion a process of repatriating Indian burial remains and funerary objects from the Smithsonian Institution‟s extensive Indian collection. This section of the NMAI act represented the culmination of decades of struggle on the part of Indian tribes to regain control over the remains of their ancestors and the return of sacred tribal artefacts (Josephy et al. 1999:228). The NMAI Act created the first North American institution “devoted exclusively to the interpretation of native cultures in North America” (Simpson 2001:167). It was quickly followed by legislation that addressed the responsibilities of other federally funded museums in the United States. In 1990, the United States Congress passed a law to protect the burial sites of Native Americans; one that also created a mechanism to assist with the repatriation of ancestral remains, funerary and sacred objects, as well as objects of cultural patrimony (Tweedie 2002; Peers and Brown 2003). This law, the Native American Graves Protection and Repatriation Act (NAGPRA), established criteria for how federally funded museums in the United States must conduct themselves towards Native Americans by requiring them to disclose the presence of human remains, and other culturally sensitive materials, in their collections to federally recognized tribes. In 85 essence, NAGPRA requires federally funded museums (excluding the Smithsonian Institution, which is subject to the NMAI Act) to be proactive in their relationships with Native American communities. Native American tribes without federal recognition, and source communities from other nations, are not covered by NAGPRA – the latter because they fall outside of federal jurisdiction. Several case studies have appeared since the law was introduced (Messenger 1999; Mihesuah 2000; Tweedie 2002; Peers and Brown 2003; Kreps 2003), and many journals, including the popular Native American Art magazine, now run NAGPRA notices as part of their regular legal briefs column. Implementing NAGPRA has at times been a difficult task, since the process for repatriation detailed by the law does not always recognise and accommodate the diverse beliefs of Native American communities. In 2002, the Western Apache NAGPRA Working Group, for example, found a repatriation request to the Denver Art Museum hindered when they were unable (because of ceremonial restrictions) to provide detailed information to museum staff about ownership and use of two objects of White Mountain Apache origin. The matter was discussed at the twenty-third meeting of the NAGPRA Review Committee, where members of the White Mountain Apache Tribe provided the following testimony about the claim: Mr. Vincent Randall introduced members and experts of the Working Group present at the meeting. He said that some cultural objects are used for certain ceremonies and are spirit-filled, living entities with regulations for their use. In this case, the Denver Art Museum has asked for information to prove that the claimed cultural objects are needed for present-day ceremonies. Mr. Randall explained that for these cultural objects, traditional use calls for the objects to be ritually used and then put away for eternity. In addition, discussing the cultural objects poses great danger. Mr. Randall stated that the cultural objects that have 86 been claimed by the Working Group are very powerful sacred objects that need to be restored to their rightful place […] [emphasis mine] Mr. Keith Basso said that he is a professor of linguistics and anthropology at the University of New Mexico and has been associated with the Western Apache people for 43 years. The Apache people have provided enough information to warrant and justify the return of the cultural objects. The cultural objects have been brought alive and need to be considered as animated beings with forces and powers of their own and deserve the most profound display of respect. Mr. Basso explained that avoidance is one of the most powerful ways to display respect in the Apache culture […] Mr. Levi DeHose spoke about the significance and danger of the medicine used at that time and through today. People are not allowed to discuss these things. Mr. DeHose then spoke to the Review Committee in his native language, which was translated by Mr. Randall. When Mr. DeHose was growing up, holy men were spiritually gifted people with knowledge of different ceremonies. There are fewer ceremonies today than when he was young. People face consequences of disease or injury if they discuss ceremonies or cultural objects. Cultural objects are spiritually created and have great power. Cultural items are a vital force and rules have to be followed to honour the objects and put them away. When they are taken from their place, then there is a disruption in the force. These objects need to be returned to the mountains where they came from (NAGPRA Review Committee 2002:np). In response to the testimony provided by members of the Western Apache NAGPRA Working Group, staff from the Denver Art Museum stated they had respect for the Western Apache NAGPRA Working Group, but felt they needed to follow the process set forth by the law. Ms. Nancy Blomberg, curator of Native Arts, stated that the Denver Art Museum has a strong commitment to NAGPRA and views NAGPRA as a fair law that sets forth specific definitions and processes that are practical and reasonable. She expressed hope that at this meeting the Review Committee could clarify the specific requirements of NAGPRA and how they should be applied to claims. NAGPRA deserves the support of both museums and Indian tribes to assure the return of objects that have entered museum collections improperly. The Denver Art Museum‟s institutional mission and self-image include raising public awareness of Indian art as fine art […] The Denver Art Museum‟s goal under the NAGPRA claims process is to honor claims that meet the law and deny claims that do not meet the minimum criteria of the law. When the Denver Art Museum denies a claim, the claimant is provided with detailed information to allow the claimant to perform additional 87 research to resubmit the claim or to understand the Denver Art Museum‟s view of NAGPRA. This process was followed with the claim submitted by the Working Group. The Denver Art Museum did not offer opinions on whether the objects were sacred objects or objects of cultural patrimony, but relied on NAGPRA to evaluate whether the claimants satisfied the criteria for showing that the objects fit these categories. The Denver Art Museum deferred to the wishes of the Working Group in bringing the issue before the Review Committee. Due to the importance of the claimed objects to the Apache people, the Denver Art Museum offered to return the objects as a gift, but the offer was rejected. The Denver Art Museum aims at cultivating long-term partnerships of mutual respect with Indian tribes. Ms. Blomberg stated that NAGPRA provides a very important tool to work with Indian tribes to identify and address situations that are viewed as oppressive, but NAGPRA should not be utilized as an all-purpose tool to correct every situation [emphasis mine] (NAGPRA Review Committee 2002: np). […] Mr. Echo-Hawk added that while the Denver Art Museum makes every effort to honor the choices made by Indian tribes, that does not mean that the Denver Art Museum must defer to every preference expressed by Indian tribes in implementing NAGPRA. The Denver Art Museum accepts what the claimants have said about the importance of the claimed objects to their communities. NAGPRA sets forth very specific guidelines for repatriation and the Denver Art Museum denied this claim because in their opinion the claim does not meet NAGPRA requirements (NAGPRA Review Committee 2002). From the above excerpts it is apparent that the Denver Art Museum felt the Western Apache‟s claim did not follow the letter of the law, although they seem to recognise that it fell within the intent of the law since they offered to return the sacred objects as a “gift.” However, the matter of disclosure is one that the Western Apache and other Tribes would continue to face in their dealings with museums, and thus was one that needed to be resolved. This particular claim was eventually resolved in the favour of the Western Apache NAGPRA Working group. This example and others demonstrate that for some communities, NAGPRA has not yet changed the nature of their working relationships, or the tone of their encounters, with museum professionals. In the book, “Drawing Back Culture: The Makah Struggle for Repatriation,” anthropologist Ann M. Tweedie notes: 88 One potentially abrasive issue, NAGPRA itself was designed to mediate the differences between tribal and institutional constituents. For many [Makah] tribal members, the knowledge of elders represents the most authoritative voice on ancestral practices. However, European and American scholars of native cultures have been historically sceptical of the accuracy of such accounts. Even though the text of NAGPRA explicitly states that tribal oral history should carry the same weight as historical, ethnographic, and archaeological evidence in establishing cultural affiliations to objects, [Makah] tribal members question whether institutions will honor this principle (2002:94) It is possible that NAGPRA, like other laws, will be amended over time until it becomes more flexible in its ability to accommodate the specific beliefs of individual Native American tribes. Some legal experts view it as the groundbreaker to future laws, noting: NAGPRA is unique legislation because it is the first time that the Federal government and non-Indian institutions must consider what is sacred from an Indian perspective. Future legislation must be imbued with this same heightened consciousness of the nature of Indian culture (Trope and Echo-Hawk 1992:76). At present, NAGPRA and the NMAI Act work side by side, mandating the obligations of federally funded museums. However, museum professionals still play a prominent role in interpretation and implementation of these laws, and therefore, still retain the balance of power. The Smithsonian Institution has embraced the changes detailed by the NMAI Act, becoming a resource centre for indigenous peoples throughout the Americas (not just those falling within its federal mandate). In addition to exhibitions and other aspects of the work of collecting, preserving, researching and disseminating information about the collections, the National Museum of the American Indian is forging links with tribal museums, native organizations, and individuals throughout the Americas. This strategy has been called “the fourth museum” and will extend the Museum‟s work […] into communities across the country and throughout the continent (Simpson 2001:169). Museum staff report that the National Museum of the American Indian is also: 89 … concerned with merging conservation and traditional approaches to collections care, and to that end is holding formal consultations with Native people on care and handling issues. The museum also lends sacred materials for ceremonial use on a case by case basis, and, according to [Curator Nancy Rosoff], without detriment to the preservation of the objects involved (Nicks 2003:26). Curatorial staff are essentially working towards co-management of the collections by initiating contact with source communities and accepting advice. However, at the forefront of their museum work is the assumption that preservation of objects is the primary goal. In her book, “Preserving What is Valued,” museum conservator Miriam Clavir notes that for many indigenous people “preservation means cultural preservation: the active maintenance of continuity with indigenous values and beliefs that are part of a community‟s identity” (2002:73). This does not always equate with extending the lifetime of a particular object, as the White Mountain Apache example shows, but instead may translate to ensuring the knowledge of its creation and use carries forward. Sometimes it is considered equally appropriate for objects to be put away until they return to the earth – problems arise when others are not able to allow these cultural processes to reach their conclusion. Controversy Surrounds the Spirit Sings In Canada, the transformation of museum practice took a different route. It was ignited by unanticipated community reaction to the celebratory exhibit, “The Spirit Sings.” The intent of this exhibit, held at the Glenbow Museum in Calgary during the 1988 Winter Olympics, was to celebrate Canada‟s indigenous cultures and their artistic achievements (Harrison 1995). It became a site of political protest when the Lubicon Cree chose to boycott it, not on the basis of content, but to draw attention to exploitive 90 practices of its sponsors – Shell Oil and the federal government. Consequently, media attention shifted away from highlighting artistic achievement and creativity, to focus on the topic of resource rights, social justice, and unresolved land claims (Harrison 1995). The concurrence of the exhibit with the 1988 Winter Olympics ensured that media attention was sustained. This national exposure became the impetus for a joint task force between the Canadian Museums Association and the Assembly of First Nations. The end product of this collaboration was titled: Turning the Page: Forging New Partnerships between Museums and First Peoples Task Force Report. One of the main objectives of this Task Force Report was to develop: “an ethical framework and strategies for Aboriginal Nations to represent their history and culture in concert with cultural institutions” (Nicks and Hill 1992:n.p.). The report focuses on five distinct areas in its Principles and Recommendations section. These are: (1) Interpretation; (2) Access; (3) Repatriation; (4) Training; and (5) Implementation (Funding). Since its inception many Canadian museums have embraced these principles in theory, if not in practice. Since the report‟s recommendations are not legislated, Canadian museums may choose how closely they will adhere to the Task Force Report’s principles. The Task Force Report recommended that progress be assessed after a ten year period (Nicks and Hill 1992). After more than a decade and a half, the follow-up report is now long overdue. Although this could be interpreted as a loss of momentum, a case study conducted at the McCord Museum in 2003 found that: “the Task Force on Museums and First Peoples and its report have fallen out of the public eye after initial prominence and international acclaim, but they still play an important role in Canadian 91 museums” (Bolton 2005:3). Research for the McCord case study was gathered at the archives of the Canadian Museums Association and the McCord Museum, and was supplemented by interviews with task force members. Its author, art historian Stephanie Bolton, notes that: While the McCord Museum has increased its collaboration with Aboriginal community members and scholars in the presentation of individual exhibitions and has modernized its development of educational programming, the few Aboriginal staff and the absences of Native board members are cause for concern. Thirteen years after the appearance of the Task Force report, there is not one member of the Board of Trustees who is of Native ancestry. If no one of Aboriginal ancestry is a member of the governance structure of the McCord, it becomes difficult for the Museum to guarantee a long-term commitment to, and to take responsibility for, safeguarding Aboriginal issues should they lose importance in the public eye or the political arena. (2005:7-8). Without a comprehensive follow up study to the Task Force Report it is hard to evaluate how effective it has been in implementing change in Canadian museum practice. For larger institutions, and increasingly for smaller municipal museums as well, it is common practice to include First Nations representatives in exhibit planning and to provide internship opportunities for youth and other community members (Ames 1999; Conaty 2003). My research has found that communities such as Musqueam, Tsleil-Waututh, Skwxwú7mesh, and the Stó:lō Nation have been co-applicants in grant applications with partner institutions, such as the UBC Museum of Anthropology, the Vancouver Museum, and the City of West Vancouver, on at least one or more exhibit and public programming projects. Staffing and board membership appear to be two areas where the Task Force Report has had less influence, although this is hard to quantify without more data (Bolton 2005). Two institutions in Western Canada that have invited First Nations to participate as Board members are the Glenbow Museum in Calgary, Alberta and the Nanaimo 92 District Museum in British Columbia. The dynamics of these two appointments differ with the Glenbow inviting Irving Scalplock, then Curator of the Siksika (Blackfoot) Museum to represent his community by becoming a board member in 1998, while the Snuneymuxw First Nation requested they have representation on the Nanaimo District Museum‟s Board. Snuneymuxw representative Geraldine Manson recalls: “I didn‟t become a Board Member until probably 2004 or 5. We requested it and they would say – it was something they were never even thinking of. But we made them [think about it]. I now sit on the Board.” In addition to these examples, in 2007 the UBC Museum of Anthropology created an External Advisory Board and invited Leona Sparrow as a representative of Musqueam and Mike Nicholl Yahgulanaas, a Haida artist, to become members. This example differs from the previous two, however, as it concerns a new entity as opposed to a longstanding governance structure. Public Representations and Dispelling the Myth of Terra Nullius In Canada, indigenous peoples have slowly gained legal recognition of their existing aboriginal rights, while seeking resolution for outstanding land claims. Landmark cases in Canadian aboriginal law include: Guerin vs. the Queen (1987), Regina vs. Sparrow (1990), and Delgamuukw vs. British Columbia (1997). Two of these cases were Musqueam victories. Information packages released by the Musqueam Indian Band explain that the Guerin Case established that: “the federal government must protect the interests of aboriginal people, and also recognised that aboriginal rights existed before Canada became a country,” while the ruling for the Sparrow Case argued 93 that: “aboriginal treaty rights are capable of evolving over time, and must be interpreted in a generous and liberal manner.” The Delgamuukw ruling, built upon the precedents set by these former rulings, broke new ground by accepting oral history as evidence for establishing aboriginal right and title. These rulings were monumental, affecting indigenous law in other former colonies such as Australia, where advances for the rights of indigenous peoples have evolved at an even slower pace. In the 1990s, court rulings: “overturned the doctrine that Australia was terra nullius (a land belonging to no one) at the point of settlement and ruled that Aboriginal Australians had and retained native title and interests in law” (Povinelli 2002:39). These landmark cases were: Mabo vs. the State of Queensland (1992) and The Wik Peoples vs. the State of Queensland (1996). The first of these rulings recognised the existence of aboriginal title, while the second extended that recognition to lease-held land. Indigenous law and the politics of representation are two arenas that have recently gathered strength worldwide, perhaps as a by-product of globalisation and the importance now placed on strengthening local identities. In Canada, the outcomes of these struggles have been mixed, with some communities emerging as stakeholders in urban development and resource management, and/or becoming active participants in curriculum development and museum projects, while others continue to struggle for recognition and inclusion. The Skwxwú7mesh Nation is in a unique position, having established a strong working relationship with the City of West Vancouver, with whom they shared a large Culture Capital of Canada grant in 2006, while in the adjacent city of North Vancouver their status has (until very recently) been much lower in profile. For 94 example, the Tsleil-Waututh and Skwxwú7mesh Nations were both conspicuously absent from a recent leaflet inserted into the North Shore News to commemorate the City of North Vancouver‟s centennial celebrations in 2007. Three small, uncaptioned photographs of First Nations massive carvings, were the sole reference to indigenous people in the 8-page City Views insert in which Mayor Darrell Mussatto proclaimed: “Turning 100 years old is an extraordinary achievement for the community, as it reminds us of our City‟s early pioneers who first laid the foundation for our vibrant community.” One could infer from this statement that nothing of interest occurred prior to the arrival of these “early pioneers” 100 years ago, thus thousands of years of occupation by Coast Salish peoples has been erased from public memory – so insignificant as to be deemed unworthy of a footnote. This focus upon Euro-centric history also remains a common thread in municipal (and private museums) throughout the Greater Vancouver area. The Vancouver Museum, the North Vancouver Museum and Archives, the Hasting Mills Museum, among others, have relegated First Nations history to footnotes within exhibits dedicated to the story of urban development and the achievements of Euro-Canadians. Thus it is not surprising that in my interviews with Coast Salish community members, from both Canada and the United States, many expressed the desire to see their communities represented as living cultures. Unfortunately, participation in exhibits and public programs remains for many Coast Salish communities a reactive process, rather than one in which co-development occurs. In Canada, many community museums express a willingness to incorporate some, if not all, of the guidelines set forth by the Task Force Report into their exhibit processes, 95 but in actuality are hindered by an inability to relinquish some of their control – specifically decisions regarding project timelines, label format and text writing, and other aspects of exhibit design. On several occasions I have been asked by other museum staff members why First Nations should get “special treatment?” This is especially puzzling for staff at community museums who have previously worked with immigrant communities, such as Chinese, East Indian, and/or Japanese communities, and experienced a willingness to accommodate the museum‟s needs – something that has been perceived by museum staff as acknowledgement that they know how to do an exhibit. Figure 4: Visitors from the North – Totem Poles in Stanley Park Photograph by Michael Fortney, 2008. At the Vancouver Museum, for example, where the permanent galleries are arranged in sequence by decades, immigrant communities are featured only in the 96 decades where museum and archival collections are most abundant for their respective communities. Local First Nations, by contrast, were to be represented in each decade to demonstrate their contemporary presence and their often overlooked role in local history. Despite this intention, local Coast Salish communities have recently found themselves excluded from Vancouver Museum exhibits as museum staff have been unable to adopt a consultation framework (or alter their internal exhibit protocols) to enable them to move forward as “partners.” Most recently, in 2008, the local communities of Musqueam, Tsleil-Waututh and Skwxwú7mesh found themselves excluded from an exhibit on Stanley Park – an area where their self-defined traditional territories intersect. For more than a century, the artistic traditions of others have been showcased at venues throughout this park – totem poles from northern Northwest Coast Nations and a petroglyph from Lillooet are two well known examples (Mawani 2003). Unable to accommodate the needs of local Coast Salish communities, the Vancouver Museum chose instead to focus upon the presence of visitors, such as Ellen Neel – a Kwakwaka‟wakw artist, whose work is still prominently displayed at the park. Self-representation is an important concern for many indigenous communities, and my research has shown that amongst the Coast Salish it is often given priority when opportunities present themselves. This activity is prioritised because it has larger implications for aboriginal rights and title. Anthropologist Joy Hendry succinctly conveys the significance of self-representation in her writings, noting that: before people can engage in any kind of action – for examples the legal action that might be taken when a logo, or vast tracts of land, are stolen – they need to have an identity. Only then can they go on to engage acceptably and successfully in the political activities necessary to retrieve them. In other words, the expression of cultural form, which defines a people, or a „nation‟, call it what you 97 will, is an essential part of cultural revival when people and their very existence as an entity has been presented as eliminated, or at very least under severe threat. […] in areas where First Peoples were subjected to programs of deliberate assimilation, intentional or unintentional genocide, or simply systematically represented to the world at large as having become extinct – their lands being deemed terra nullius – that their revival is required if they are to act as an entity. Only then, when they have recreated an identity that can be named and recognised, can they engage in political activities such as claims to their ancestral lands and demands for a system of self-governance (Hendry 2005:10-11). However, the opportunities to engage in self-representation are often limited by the interests of others – museum professionals, academics, tourists, art collectors, etc… because the funding and venues for representational activities arise externally. All of these factors contribute to the shape of the final product, whether it is an exhibit or public program. The focus of this chapter has been to provide a brief historical overview providing insights into the changes that have affected First Nations representations, not only in museum settings, but also in the broader public eye. This change has been situated as a global phenomenon – one that is embedded within the ongoing struggle for indigenous self-determination in the wake of colonialism. In terms of museum practice, it seems plausible that the most significant changes are occurring in those nations once considered colonies. Day to day encounters with indigenous people, and political pressure from federal and provincial governments now embroiled in treaty negotiations, and other forms of litigation, removes museum practice from the theoretical realm and inserts it firmly into the realm of applied anthropology, where benefits to source communities must be direct and far-reaching. The eligibility requirements for the Department of Canadian Heritage‟s Aboriginal Museum Development Program are a prime example of this new attitude, noting that the program: 98 Provides project funding for Aboriginal organizations to enrich and preserve their cultural heritage, and to increase public awareness and understanding of Aboriginal peoples' rich and diverse cultures. Supports projects for research, preservation, and interpretation of Aboriginal cultural heritage and for object research and documentation, including oral history initiatives and other community heritage projects. (www.canadianheritage.gc.ca, January 15, 2008) Entities other than First Nations communities and organizations are eligible for project based funding under this component, but they must demonstrate a strong partnership and support from a First Nations community or organization. Despite the advances that have been made, there is still more ground to cover. As an adjudicator for the Aboriginal Museum Development Program in 2005, I observed that the funding available for Aboriginal Heritage was significantly less than that allocated to other Museum‟s Assistance Program components: Access to Heritage, Exhibition Circulation Fund, and Organizational Development. In Canada, the protocols and procedures guiding First Nations and museum collaborations (when they exist) vary widely from institution to institution. By contrast, in the United States laws such as the NMAI Act and NAGPRA detail specific obligations that museum professionals have towards specific source communities – those with federal recognition. Although our two countries have chosen different approaches, and may be moving at different speeds, they appear to be on convergent paths as evidenced by an increased emphasis on collaborative exhibits and public programmes, repatriations, and changing attitudes of museum professionals towards collections care and preservation. 99 Chapter Four: Gathering Strength: An Overview of Coast Salish Representations I have kept good relations with all the galleries and museums I have worked with, as I believe that we are all connected in the field we are in. The public‟s interest in this art, and the culture that birthed it, needs proper management. And that requires insight from within, which is not so readily given, for various reasons – of which none outweigh the damaging effects of being misunderstood for sake of being silent. Qwalsius (Shaun Peterson), Puyallup Artist, Interviewed October 22, 2007 I was reading about how Susan Point and Bill Reid were using museums, so I started going to museums and looking at stuff and asking questions and found they were actually quite helpful. People who were staff were, you know, mostly pretty good. So the more I asked questions the more I learned. The more I learned, the more I realised I was just angry that we didn‟t have anything at home. But as someone becoming an artist I can‟t blame anyone else for not having something at my house, you know? I had to get up and make stuff. So once I realised that, once I opened up my eyes a little bit more, I started to realise what a valuable resource museums really were. Tawxsin Yexwulla / Poolxtun (Aaron Nelson Moody), Skwxwú7mesh Artist, Interviewed August 16, 2007 It has been my experience in museums, and with other repositories of Northwest Coast collections, that Coast Salish people are relatively under-represented by ethnographic objects (see Table Two) and contemporary art – although archaeological collections tend to be more comprehensive. This is especially true of the more northern communities of Holmalco, Klahoose, Sliammon and Sechelt, and may partly be attributed to their distance from urban centres – even today requiring a traveller to take one or more ferries for access from the mainland of British Columbia. However, a second, more significant factor, for this oversight lies with the influence of early anthropologists and their collecting practices. Art Historian Aldona Jonaitis commenting on Northwest Coast Art, in general, notes that: It is challenging to reconstruct a history of Northwest Coast stylistic evolution. Archaeological excavations are limited in scope and range. The earliest European travelers to the region collected and described late pre-contact pieces, but only from the relatively few places they visited. Museums began to collect artworks systematically in the nineteenth century, but even their professional 100 anthropologists acquired only pieces that they determined important, ignoring some works we would now find of great interest (2006:16). While Jonaitis is privileging the academic in these musings, the truth remains that Coast Salish “Art” is among that which has been overlooked. This omission has occurred for a number of reasons, including both internal and external influences. Coast Salish Elders teach us that, in our worldview, material culture cannot be distinguished from spiritual life and practices. The creation of special articles of dress and adornment, and devices for communing with the spiritual realm, are only one means by which this worldview is rendered visible. Traditionally, the manufacture of ceremonial objects, as well as other more commonplace objects, required an aspect of performance – the speaking of the “ritual word,” as referenced by the late Wayne Suttles (1987:103-105). To better illustrate this relationship I defer to the words of Snuneymuxw Elder Kwulasulwut (Ellen White), whom I have heard, on several occasions, speak to the power of objects now residing in museum collections. While visiting the UBC Museum of Anthropology in February of 2005, to discuss renewal of the museum‟s visible storage gallery, Kwulasulwut explained to museum staff that the Ancestors: “didn‟t like to tell exactly the name of the object or how it was made because of the spiritualness.” To her relatives in attendance, from other communities on Vancouver Island and the Mainland, she advised: I always carry water and tumulth. Your energy could go on it otherwise. Every carving, everything they did was spoken to. Everything was spoken to as it was made. In this way it becomes alive and is sacred. The old people always spoke to everything they did so the object becomes alive… We have to decide, do we tell it the right way so our descendants 100 years from now will not be mixed up? I‟m asking these sorts of things (Ellen White, February 15, 2005). 101 From this brief excerpt we can see that spiritual belief and practice permeates aspects of daily life that, for some, would be considered secular in nature, such as the manufacture of tools and other types of personal belongings. Members of the Coast Salish community recognise adeptness, or special skills, as being the result of spiritual gifts. Generally these are acquired by individuals who are ritually clean and respectful in their manner and deportment (Barnett 1955; Snyder 1964; Kew 1970; Suttles 1987). Encounters with spirits are of a highly personal nature and although others may come to recognise what spirit helper an individual has, they are not a topic of open discussion. This helps to explain why anthropologists and other outsiders have previously encountered difficulties when attempting to collect from Coast Salish communities (Jonaitis 1988; Thom 2001), and when attempting to translate Coast Salish culture through their writings and exhibits. Within Coast Salish society it is considered natural to be reticent about discussing spiritual gifts and their uses (Kew 1980), since to do so is to risk compromising those same gifts and may even bring harm to the individual who discusses them. For a sensitive and implicated researcher, one who is aware of these “silences,” it becomes a challenge to translate these private experiences for the public – whether it is in a museum setting or a publication. Ultimately, the question becomes, “why should this be done?” rather than “how should this done?” In many ways, Coast Salish culture has remained hidden from the public eye despite the proximity of many Southern and Central Coast Salish communities to urban centres in British Columbia and Washington State. The material aspects, long visible in museum galleries – and now through digital images in virtual galleries on many museum websites, are commonly translated through the lens of art or functionality, silencing the 102 performative elements embodied in song, dance, and theatrics. In his writings on Coast Salish Art, anthropologist Michael Kew cautions readers that: We should remind ourselves, however, that such art was produced and experienced as an integral part of [these] other activities. We have no evidence that it was self-conscious art, that is, art for art‟s sake. Although we may treat it independently and try to analyse, define and understand the rules of style and form, it also behoves us to try and see and understand it in its original context. We need to consider function and meaning of art objects for those who made and experienced them (1980:3). Early collecting practices on the Northwest Coast seldom provided opportunity to do just that as researchers, and individual collectors alike, raced to obtain unique objects and other types of specimens from what they perceived to be the vanishing peoples of North America (Stocking Jr. 1985; Jonaitis 1988; Hinsley 1994; Cole 1995), sometimes with dire consequences for the very communities that they wanted to preserve and celebrate. German anthropologist Franz Boas, often referred to as the Father of American anthropology, was highly influential in shaping the museum collections of several major museums in the United States and abroad, including the Royal Ethnological Museum in Berlin, the Field Museum of Natural History in Chicago, the American Museum of Natural History in New York, and through his students and research assistants many other repositories throughout Canada and the United States (Hinsley 1994; Jacknis 1985; Jonaitis 1988; Cole 1973). Boas was concerned with studying individual cultures in all their manifestations. A liberal Jew, who had experienced discrimination throughout his early career in Bismarck‟s Germany, he was a staunch opponent of contemporary evolutionary theorists who sought to demonstrate the inferiority of so-called “primitive” peoples by ranking the cultural development of different societies (Kluckhorn and Prufer 1959; Jonaitis 1988). 103 He introduced the idea that cultures could not be compared or classified as different historical factors had influenced their development. Since cultures evolved individually, and not along predetermined lines, they could only be understood as individual entities. These concepts, now referred to as cultural relativism and historical particularism, are the foundation of Boas‟s anthropological methods (Hinsley 1994; Jacknis 1985). Boas conducted his own fieldwork in the Canadian Arctic, and later more substantively along the Northwest Coast. He was particularly interested in the Kwakwaka‟wakw peoples of the Central Coast, who were the focus of many of his writings and whose material culture he exhibited in American museums and at the World‟s Columbian Exhibition in Chicago (Hinsley 1994; Jacknis 1985). Boas‟s approach to anthropology was comprehensive involving the study of physical anthropology, ethnology, archaeology and linguistics, which he combined with museum collecting. He was an opponent of typological arrangements – groupings of objects of similar purpose without regard to origin, a method of display commonly used during the Victoria Era to tell evolutionary narratives (Hinsley 1994; Jacknis 1985). In response, he sought to implement comprehensive exhibits based upon tribal groupings which emphasised how the lifeways of different cultures were adapted to their specific circumstances (local environment and history). Through the Jesup North Pacific Expedition (1897-1903), Boas, and his colleagues at the American Museum of Natural History, proposed to undertake intensive study of the indigenous peoples of the Pacific Northwest and the adjacent regions of Siberia in the hopes of laying to rest speculation about the origin of the peoples of the so- called “New World” by establishing their affinities to the peoples of the “Old World” 104 (see Cole 1973; Hinsley 1994; Jacknis 1985; Jonaitis 1988; Kendall et. al. 1995). Among the many researchers involved with the project was archaeologist Harlan I. Smith, whose tasks included collecting from Coast Salish archaeological sites and communities. Smith excavated burial cairns at Cadboro Bay in Victoria with little result (due to soil preservation conditions), but found an abundance of materials in Vancouver at Eburne – a site known today as the Marpole Midden (DgRs-1) (Thom 2001; Roy 2007). While engaged in excavations in the Vancouver area, Smith also undertook ethnographic collecting and photographic documentation at the nearby communities of Musqueam and Katzie (Thom 2001). At Musqueam, Smith wrote of encountering difficulties when attempting to negotiate for ceremonial regalia, such as costumes, masks, and rattles, complaining that community members priced them too dearly for his budget. In a letter to Franz Boas he noted that: I have worked my best to get things from them. Hastings has also. I sent you a list of what we got. Yet I hope to get more later. I have not all there is to get and want to bring you a complete lot from the Fraser Delta. (Thom 2001:149) Anthropologist Brian Thom has reported that Smith remained persistent and eventually obtained: a house post from “Chief Nuxwhailak,” who accepted only $10 for it and said that the pole was “part gift to museum” because it was going to use it for “educational purposes.” The AMNH received the post on the condition that it was to be labelled “from the house of Kaplänux, grandfather of present Chief Nuxwahailak from whom it was obtained” (Smith to Boas, 18 May 1898, AMNH). The chief‟s condition about the label on his gift was not (and has not subsequently been) respected by the AMNH (2001:149). Many other Musqueam houseposts were documented by Smith in 1898, and in subsequent years, through photographs. Over the next decade he collected additional massive carvings from Musqueam, and other Coast Salish communities on Vancouver 105 Island, for the American Museum of Natural History and the Geological Survey of Canada – whose anthropology collections now reside within the Canadian Museum of Civilization (Cole 1973, 1985). In 1902 Smith attempted to collect the last two remaining house posts from the community of Musqueam for export to the American Museum of Natural History, but their export was blocked by the Department of Indian Affairs when they realised that nothing of the sort had remained in the vicinity of Vancouver (MOA Archives, Massive Carvings File; Roy 1991). After a brief interlude, the two remaining house posts were reportedly “purchased” by the Alumni Association as a gift for the University of British Columbia and were “restored” by community members with a new application of paint. However, historian Susan Roy has noted: I use the terms “sale” and “purchase” in relation to the houseposts with some hesitancy. I have not been successful in locating records which indicate how much (or whether) money was paid for these houseposts, though it appears funds were provided to the Musqueam for their restoration (1999:13). The houseposts were presented to the university by the graduating class of 1927 at the Homecoming Ceremony. The event was witnessed by Frank Charles, Jack Stogan, Casimier Johnny, Freddy Cheer, Jacob Harry, Harry Roberts, and Cornelius Johnny, all of Musqueam, who dressed in ceremonial regalia for the occasion (Roy 1999). Their attendance at the event was documented in the November 9 th edition of the Vancouver Ubyssey student newspaper, which also noted: “These totem poles had been brought from the Musqueam Reserve in Point Grey; and were given to the Alumni on condition that they be erected on the University site, which at one time belonged to this tribe of Indians” [emphasis mine] (1927:1). 106 In the examples given above we see something at work beyond simple commercial transactions. Harlan Smith‟s difficulty in obtaining ceremonial objects, specifically a Musqueam shaman‟s outfit priced at $100 (Thom 2001:149) – a very steep price in 1898, speaks not of the commercial value of the objects in question, but of their recognised cultural value. By pricing their belongings community members appear open to the possibility of a commercial transaction, yet are able to prevent or delay the actual purchase (and loss of the belongings in question) by assigning what is deemed too high a monetary value. This may have been a tactic used to circumvent the intervention of, and subsequent coercion from, the local Indian agent. In the instances provided above where community members were willing to part with belongings, such as houseposts, they did so with public ceremony – attendance at the transfer ceremony or by requesting public acknowledgement of family or community ownership. Historian Susan Roy (1999, 2002) has demonstrated through her writings that Musqueam leadership was quick to understand the significance of publicly displaying their history to outsiders as a means of establishing their aboriginal rights and title. Musqueam leaders employed such tactics during the 1913 visit of the Royal Commission on Indian Affairs when, Roy notes, they assembled a museum-like display of houseposts and other cultural objects outside of the church‟s catechism house to be viewed by government officials (1999:18). Roy suggests: If we understand politics to be strategies employed by Musqueam to further their existence as a Nation, then other activities such as displaying carved house posts, dancing, and weaving – all forms of expressive culture – can be understood as political strategies. These representational tactics, although they are not directly related to land, were important because they identified Musqueam as a “distinct” and “authentic” aboriginal people with ties to land. Spectators could come to understand the Musqueam through their cultural presentations (1999:6-7). 107 In this light, the removal of massive carvings from the community through the context of gift giving and public presentation can be correlated to assertions of political identity. Thus Musqueam people are seen to be taking steps to actively represent themselves and their history – Musqueam leadership was actively managing the band‟s relations with the surrounding community, visiting dignitaries, and other people in positions of power. Another example of Coast Salish leadership exerting control over their public identity can be found across the border in Washington State. Swinomish leader Tandy Wilbur organised several public events during the mid 20 th century that focused public attention on his small community in a positive manner. In the 1930s, Wilbur orchestrated a public ceremony for the unveiling of a totem pole with Franklin Roosevelt‟s head on top – with the result that Roosevelt sent a representative by train from Washington D.C. to attend the event on his behalf ( Miller 2009: pers. comm.). (The pole still stands outside of the Swinomish Tribal Centre near La Conner.) A few years later, in 1941, Wilbur arranged for two Indian racing canoes to compete against two crews from the University of Washington Huskies. The resulting media event referred to as the “Great Race” also showcased the Swinomish community in a positive light, a rarity for this time period (see Miller 1998). Harlan Smith was not the only member of the Jesup Expedition to encounter difficulties in collecting from Coast Salish communities. Livingston Farrand also experienced problems while collecting ethnographic data in Washington State. In correspondence to Franz Boas he reported reluctance amongst the Quinault to discuss cultural matters, which he attributed to the community‟s involvement in the Indian 108 Shaker Church (Jonaitis 1988:191). To compensate, Farrand resorted to paying the Quinault for information, but this too met with limited success. Although they sought comprehensive collections for the entire Northwest Coast, Boas – his students, colleagues, and competitors, were often swayed by their personal research interests. In Table Two, we see that the cultural designation Coast Salish, representing more than 70 bands and tribes in BC, Washington State and Oregon, is represented by the smallest numbers of objects (given the number of communities involved) in an impromptu survey of online databases of museums with substantive Northwest Coast collections. This is telling given the geographic proximity of these communities to the major urban centres of Seattle, Vancouver and Victoria, places all travellers to the region passed through as they ventured further north. Ultimately, the collecting practices of early anthropologists and enthusiasts did more than just determine the shape of public collections of Northwest Coast “Art,” their work shaped public perception about those artistic traditions and their makers. Through his studies, Boas came to believe that highly stylised forms used by the more Northern communities, such as the Tsimshian, Tlingit, Haida and Kwakwaka‟wakw peoples, were the pinnacle of Northwest Coast culture. He viewed the naturalistic artistic traditions of the Coast Salish as pale copies of these northern forms (Jonaitis 1995:152), and postulated that the Coast Salish had only recently arrived on the South Coast from the Interior. It was almost a century before it was demonstrated that he based this theory on limited archaeological and linguistic evidence (Suttles 1987:246-264) and interest in the Coast Salish began to gather strength. 109 Exhibiting Coast Salish Culture Interest in Coast Salish culture has been growing since the mid 20 th Century, first through research and writing (see Haeberlin and Gunther 1930; Smith 1949; Duff 1952; Barnett 1955; Jenness 1955; Snyder 1964; Kew 1970; Collins 1974; Amoss 1978), later through museum exhibits and other types of commemorative activity (Kew 1980; Johnson and Bernick 1986; Wright 1991; Baird 1997; Carlson 2001). The research of UBC anthropologist, Dr. Michael Kew, in particular, appears to have been highly influential. He developed a collection of colour slides, the Coast Salish Artifact Inventory, while conducting research for an exhibit on Coast Salish culture. (Copies of this inventory can be found in the archives of the UBC Museum of Anthropology and those of the Musqueam Indian Band). The objects featured provided the inspiration for the early works of Musqueam artist Susan Point – to whom he also gave a copy (MOA accession files; MacNair 2000:27). She has since, through her own efforts, risen to international prominence becoming an inspiration in her own right. 110 Table Two: Culture Bias in Northwest Coast Ethnographic Collections Institution Culture Designation Used in Search Collection Size (Available online as of: Jan. 17, 2009) Royal BC Museum Coast Salish 1641 Royal BC Museum Haida 1978 Royal BC Museum Kwakwaka‟wakw 2275 Royal BC Museum Tlingit 147 Royal BC Museum Tsimshian 436 Canadian Museum of Civilization Coast Salish 413 Canadian Museum of Civilization Haida 1880 Canadian Museum of Civilization Kwakwaka‟wakw 328 Canadian Museum of Civilization Tlingit 454 Canadian Museum of Civilization Tsimshian 1564 American Museum of Natural History Coast Salish 349 American Museum of Natural History Haida 808 American Museum of Natural History Kwakwaka‟wakw 1143 American Museum of Natural History Tlingit 4459 American Museum of Natural History Tsimshian 204 Burke Coast Salish 550 Burke Haida 879 Burke Kwakwaka‟wakw 522 Burke Tlingit 2978 Burke Tsimshian 242 Peabody (Harvard) Salish 99 Peabody (Harvard) Haida 122 Peabody (Harvard) Kwakwaka‟wakw 178 Peabody (Harvard) Tlingit 511 Peabody (Harvard) Tsimshian 132 Total from 5 collections Coast Salish (Represents approx. 70 communities / villages) 3052 Total from 5 collections Haida (Represents 7 communities / villages) 5667 Total from 5 collections Kwakwaka’wakw (Represents 17 communities / villages) 4446 Total from 5 collections Tlingit (Represents 16 communities / villages) 8549 Total from 5 collections Tsimshian (Represents 25 communities / villages) 2578 111 Figure 5: Visions of Power, Symbols of Wealth exhibit curated by Dr. Michael Kew File 5-23, Herb Watson fonds, Archives, UBC Museum of Anthropology My research indicates that Kew‟s 1980 exhibit and its accompanying museum note, Visions of Power, Symbols of Wealth, was the jumping off point for numerous exhibits of Coast Salish artistic traditions (contemporary, historic, and archaeological) in both Canada and the United States, as can be seen in Tables Three and Four. These tables provide a summary of exhibits and programmes dealing specifically with Coast Salish culture, but do not include those that addressed broader themes, containing only elements of Coast Salish art or history. For example, missing from Table Three are the Vancouver Museum exhibit on immigrant settlement, Making A Living, Making A Life (1992), and the MOA exhibit, Site to Sight: Imaging the Sacred (2004). These are two examples that involved participation from Musqueam community members, but focused on telling the history of a variety of peoples and places in the Vancouver area. 112 Coast Salish art also tends to be incorporated into larger displays, focused more generally on artistic traditions of the Northwest Coast, and these types of exhibits have also been excluded from the two tables. The Burke Museum‟s State Centennial exhibit, A Time of Gathering, provides an exception. This exhibit was included in Table Four because substantive consultation was conducted with Coast Salish community members (from Washington State), and the exhibit itself featured a large number of Coast Salish pieces – this was because the Coast Salish are the largest indigenous group occupying Washington State. For these reasons I felt it was too significant to exclude. One larger museum, the Royal British Columbia Museum (RBCM), is largely absent from Table Three. Coast Salish peoples are represented in the RBCM within a large permanent installation known as the First Peoples Gallery. This gallery was not included because it represents multiple Northwest Coast communities, and therefore falls outside of my criteria. Although Coast Salish community members did not mention participating in exhibit development with this museum, many have worked with the RBCM on other types of initiatives. Examples include: Cultural Stewardship Program internships; archaeological projects in the Greater Victoria area; and the 2005 publication A Songhees Pictorial. In addition, RBCM staff members have written letters of support for Coast Salish community initiatives; provided access to collections; loaned objects and provided photographs for museum projects such as the 2007 West Vancouver Museum exhibit Stitúyntm (Enduring traditions) and the Inland Journey virtual exhibit produced by the Squamish Lil‟wat Cultural Centre (SLCC). Beyond the exceptions detailed, I apologise for any omissions or oversights as they are not intentional. 113 Table Three: Overview of Recent Canadian Coast Salish Exhibits and Public Commemorative Activity Year(s) Project Title or Event Locale 1940s Coast Salish (Songhees Pole) placed in Thunderbird Park. Features an Eagle figure carved by William Clallam of Port Angeles. Royal BC Museum, Victoria, BC 1980 Contemporary Salish Weaving, Continuity and Change (Undergraduate student exhibit) UBC Museum of Anthropology, Vancouver 1980 – 1981 Visions of Power, Symbols of Wealth UBC Museum of Anthropology, Vancouver 1980 – 1981 People of the Stalo (Education Programme) Langley Centennial Museum 1985 Changing Tides UBC Museum of Anthropology and Lab of Archaeology, Vancouver 1985 Images of Coast Salish Culture Fraser Valley College, Abbotsford, BC 1986 Hands of Our Ancestors UBC Museum of Anthropology, Vancouver 1986 Coast Salish Research Project UBC Museum of Anthropology, Vancouver 1986 Coast Salish Traditional Culture Programme UBC Museum of Anthropology, Vancouver 1986 – 1988 New Visions: Serigraphs by Susan A. Point, Coast Salish Artist (traveling exhibit) UBC Museum of Anthropology, Vancouver 1986 Salish Images: Northwest Coast Artists Tribute to Salish Art UBC Museum of Anthropology, Vancouver 1986 Cowichan Indian Knitting UBC Museum of Anthropology, Vancouver 1987 Proud to be Musqueam UBC Museum of Anthropology, Vancouver 1987 Coast Salish Impressions (Susan Point solo exhibition) Gateway Theatre, Richmond Art Gallery 1987 Susan Point Eskimo Art Gallery, Montreal 1989 Art Salish Canadian Guild of Crafts, Quebec 1989 From Periphery to Centre: the Art of Susan and Krista Point Thunder Bay National Exhibition Centre and Centre for Indian Art, Ontario 1989 Coast Salish House installed in Grand Hall. Canadian Museum of Civilization, Hull Quebec 1990 Quw’utsun’ Cultural and Conference Centre is opened by Cowichan tribes in Duncan BC. Quw‟utsun‟ Cultural and Conference Centre, Duncan 1990 Salish Point (Susan Point solo exhibition) Canadian Museum of Civilization, Hull Quebec 1992 Xá:ytem (also known as Hatzic Rock) declared a National Historic Site by Government of Canada. Xá:ytem Longhouse Interpretative Centre, Mission 1994 Kw’achmixwáylh / Showing of the Pictures West Vancouver Museum 1994 Musqueam Exhibits installed in International Arrivals Terminal YVR International Airport, Vancouver 1994 Point on Granville Island New Leaf Editions, Granville Island, Vancouver, BC 1994 Shxwt’a:selhawtxw (The House of Long Ago and Today) Longhouse Program begins at Coqualeetza Sto:lo Nation, Sardis BC 1996 Susan Point Emily Carr House, Victoria 114 Year(s) Project Title or Event Locale 1996 From Under the Delta UBC Museum of Anthropology and Lab of Archaeology, Vancouver 1997 Uts’am – Witness Project becomes a summer residency programn Roundhouse Community Centre and Squamish Nation, Vancouver, BC 1997 Written in the Earth UBC Museum of Anthropology and Lab of Archaeology, Vancouver 1997 Susan Point Houseposts and welcome figure commissioned by Royal Bank Financial Group. UBC Museum of Anthropology, Vancouver 1998 Evolving From Tradition (Susan Point solo exhibition) Richmond Art Gallery 2000 Musqueam Weavers exhibit.Installed in Gathering Strength Gallery UBC Museum of Anthropology, Vancouver 2001 Welcoming Figure raised at Ch’tl’am (Ambleside Park) in West Vancouver. City of West Vancouver 2001 – 2002 Sátet te síwes / Continuing Traditions. Installed in Gathering Strength Gallery (Graduate Student Exhibit) UBC Museum of Anthropology, Vancouver 2002 A Stó:lō Coast Salish Historical Atlas companion exhibit Chilliwack Museum 2002 – 2003 Honouring the Basket Makers: Woven Lives of Musqueam, Tsleil-Waututh and Skwxwú7mesh Úxwumixw Vancouver Museum 2002 Witness Living Legacies display opens Vancouver Museum 2002 Weavers at Musqueam Virtual Exhibit and Musqueam Weavers: Musqueam Weaving Through the Personal Stories of Weavers sourcebook UBC Museum of Anthropology, Vancouver 2003 - 2007 To Wash Away the Tears. Installed in Gathering Strength Gallery (Graduate Student Exhibit) UBC Museum of Anthropology, Vancouver 2005 A Bad Colonial Day (Lawrence Paul Yuxweluptun solo exhibition) Two Rivers Gallery, Prince George 2007 Spirit of the Mountains sculpture by Xwa Lack Tun (Rick Harry) unveiled Ch’tl’am (Ambleside Park), West Vancouver 2007 Stitúyntm / Enduring traditions (Squamish Nation Sculpture Symposuim Exhibit) West Vancouver Museum 2007 Nexwníw Chet / Contemporary Treasures (Squamish Nation Sculpture Symposuim Exhibit) Ferry Building, West Vancouver 2007 We Have to Learn to Live Together in a Good Way Chilliwack Museum 2007 - 2008 Transporters: Contemporary Salish Art Art Gallery of Greater Victoria 2008 A Journey into Time Immemorial (Virtual Museum of Canada). Developed with Xa:ytem. SFU Museum of Archaeology and Ethnology, Burnaby 2008 Welcoming Stone T’xwelátse (Ceremony and exhibit) UBC Museum of Anthropology, Vancouver 2008 Stone q’aysca:m visits from Musqueam. UBC Museum of Anthropology, Vancouver 2008 Salish Gateway Project unveiled by Susan Point. Stanley Park, City of Vancouver 2008 Squamish Lil'wat Cultural Centre to Open SLCC, Whistler 2008 Gateway to Ancient Wisdom by Wade Baker. Unveiled at the entrance to the new Spirit Trail. City of North Vancouver 2008 Traditional Territory. Developed with Siyamin Artist Cooperative. Cityscape Community Art Space, North Vancouver 2009 Inland Journey Online Gallery. Squamish Lil'wat Cultural Centre, Whistler BC 115 Table Four: Overview of Recent American and International Coast Salish Exhibits and Public Commemorative Activity Year(s) Project Title or Event Locale 1982 – 1983 Sahoyaleekw: Weaver’s Art Thomas Burke Memorial Washington State Museum, Seattle WA 1983 Eyes of Chief Seattle Suquamish Museum, WA 1983 Come Forth Laughing: Voices of the Suquamish People Suquamish Museum, WA 1985 Coast Salish Art East Lake Gallery, Bellevue WA 1988 Steilacoom Tribal Cultural Centre Opened Steilacoom Tribal Cultural Centre, WA 1989 Old-Man-House, the People, and Their Way of Life at D'Suq'Wub. Premiered during Washington State Centennial. Suquamish Museum, Washington 1989 A Time of Gathering: Native Heritage in Washington State. Centennial Exhibit. Thomas Burke Memorial Washington State Museum, Seattle WA 1990 Contemporary Coast Salish Thomas Burke Memorial Washington State Museum, Seattle WA 1990 Salish Designs: Drums, Paintings and Prints by Susan A. Point, Coast Salish The Legacy Ltd., Seattle WA 1990 Susan A. Point The Art Space Gallery, Philadelphia, Penn 1998 Crescents and Wedges (Susan Point solo exhibition) Patricia Wismer Women's Center and Kinsey Gallery, Seattle University, Wash. 1999 Susan A. Point Arctic Raven Gallery, Friday Harbour, WA 1999 Susan Point Motherland Gallery, Fukuoka, Japan 2001 Kwedigws?altxw / Home for Sacred Belongings. Squaxin Island Tribal Museum, WA 2004 Teachings of the Tree People. Video production featuring Bruce Subiyay Miller. Seattle Art Museum, Seattle WA 2005 Listening to Our Ancestors: The Art of Native Life along the North Pacific Coast. Coast Salish component curated by Marilyn Jones, Suquamish. National Museum of the American Indian, Washington D.C. 2005 Carving a Legacy: Innovation in Coast Salish Art Tacoma Art Museum, Tacoma WA 2005 Awakenings: A Gathering of Coast Salish Artists Stonington Gallery, Seattle WA 2006 Peripheral Visions (Susan Point solo exhibition) Arctic Raven Gallery, Friday Harbour WA 2006 SQ3Tsya’yay: Weaver’s Spirit Power Washington State University Museum of Anthropology, College Hall 2006 Taqwsheblu Vi Hilbert Ethnobotanical Garden Seattle University Campus, WA 2006 Stone T’xwelátse repatriated to Stó:lo Nation via the Nooksack Tribe Thomas Burke Memorial Washington State Museum, Seattle WA 2007 Susan Point: A Point in Time Hatton Gallery, Colorado State University 2008 The Journey Home. Tseycum First Nation publicly repatriates 55 Human remains. American Museum of Natural History, New York. 2008 – 2009 S’Abadeb – The Gifts: Pacific Coast Salish Arts and Artists Seattle Art Museum, Seattle WA 2008 This Coast Salish Place. Stonington Gallery, Seattle WA 2008 SQ3Tsya’yay: Weaver’s Spirit Power White River Valley Museum, Auburn 2009 Duwamish Longhouse Dedication Seattle WA 2009 Maynard Johnny Jr., Featured Artist Stonington Gallery, Seattle WA 116 Figure 6: Frequency of Coast Salish Exhibits between 1980-2009 0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 1980 1983 1986 1989 1992 1995 1998 2001 2004 2007 Canada US Other Nations Figure 6 demonstrates that interest in exhibiting Coast Salish culture has been intermittent, in both Canada and the United States, since the early 1980s. What are the reasons for this ebb and flow of public interest? A review of exhibit catalogues suggests that development of exhibits and public programmes dealing with Coast Salish cultural traditions and art forms coincides with other types of cultural celebrations, such as: the Vancouver 1986 World Expo, the 1989 Washington State Centennial celebrations, the 2003 announcement of the successful Vancouver 2010 Winter Olympics bid – and the years preceding this widely publicised international event. This suggests that First Nations cultures, and symbolic objects, are being used as a means to demonstrate the distinctiveness of these two nations at events which could attract visitors internationally – a tactic that has previously been equated with the marketing device of “branding” (Godwell 2000). Studies of aboriginal tourism inform us that: “specific global trends indicate that tourists are interested in the environment and interaction with local people and customs” (Keelan 1993:95). For this reason, in former 117 colonies establishing a distinct identity has often translated itself into appropriation of indigenous identity. For example, in Australia, another nation that also recently campaigned for and won hosting rights for the Olympic Games, the “symbols and icons of Aboriginal culture [were] used extensively, nationally and abroad, to suggest a unique Australian identity” (Meekison 2000:109). However, the result was that while indigenous culture was appropriated and celebrated by the host nation, social and economic disparities between settler and indigenous communities were obscured from view (Meekison 2000). The Rejuvenation of Salish Weaving The manufacture of Salish weavings and other Coast Salish textiles was a central theme for several of the early exhibits and public programmes listed in Tables Three and Four, including: Contemporary Salish Weaving: Continuity and Change (1980), People of the Stalo (1980), sahoyaleekw: Weaver’s Art (1982), Hands of Our Ancestors (1986), Cowichan Indian Knitting (1986), and contemporary Musqueam installations at the YVR International Arrivals terminal (1994). Weaving traditions have remained a vibrant component of recent museum exhibits as well, in both Canada and the United States, including the widely promoted S’abadeb – the Gifts: Pacific Coast Salish Arts and Artists (2008), which will travel to the Royal British Columbia Museum (in abbreviated form) to coincide with 2010 Winter Olympics. Salish weaving has been growing in the public eye as an art form since the 1960s when a revival was undertaken in the Fraser River Valley, facilitated by Oliver Wells – an amateur anthropologist and art collector (Wells 1969; 1987). Many cultural traditions, 118 including weaving, had gone into decline throughout much of the 20 th century as ceremonial life came under the scrutiny of government agents and was impeded by repressive laws such as the Potlatch Ban. The influence of missionaries was also a contributing factor, as anthropologist Wayne Suttles notes: [Mountain goat] wool was, of course especially important as the principal material for blankets, it was often pulled off the hide by the handful and traded for such items as canoes, paddles, dried clams, and dried herrings. Simon [a Katzie Elder] asserts that in post-mission times the priests discouraged the sale of mountain goat wool, presumably because of its use in native ceremonial life, though goats were still hunted for meat (1955:25). This is not to say that weaving disappeared altogether. Oliver Wells found Mary Peters, a Seabird Island Elder, still practicing the art form in the early 1960s. By encouraging her to share her knowledge, a Canadian revival of Salish weaving was triggered (Wells 1969; Gustafson 1980). In 1971, a growing community of Stó:lō weavers established the Salish Weavers Guild in Sardis, B.C. Situated in a building on the grounds of the former Coqualeetza Residential School, the Guild grew in subsequent years to have as many as 40 members (Gustafson 1980:109). Local weavers brought their completed works to the Guild to fill orders from local and international buyers up until 1985 when the Guild was dissolved and weavers began to handle their own sales. During its years of operation, Stó:lō weavers and their children routinely gathered together to spin and dye the wool used by guild members, activities that were documented in publications privately produced by Oliver Wells (1969), and in an assortment of Canadian magazine and newspaper stories. Margaret Jimmie, of Seabird Island, recalled the process during a visit to the UBC Museum of Anthropology noting: 119 The weaver shop used to do all the dying and we‟d get all our wool from there. And then make the weavings and then bring them back. Then they‟d ship them out (Interviewed August 25, 2000). Her daughter Frieda George, a weaver from the Jimmie reserve in Chilliwack, added: If you wanted to go and help on the days that they were dyeing [the wool] you could go there and help and learn (Interviewed August 25, 2000). Weavings created by Guild members bore its identifying label – a means to ensure an authentic product for consumers. Although the Guild was short-lived, many of its weavers continue to sell their work through private commissions. Some also engage in repair work for local collectors, while others participate in public programmes and workshops – such as those offered by the Xá:ytem Longhouse Interpretative Centre, that teach the skill to any interested person who can afford the registration fee. In subsequent years, concentrated revivals have also occurred in the Canadian communities of Musqueam and Skwxwú7mesh. “Revivals,” such as these, were possible because specific individuals retained the knowledge of weaving, or undertook the steps required to organise learning opportunities – visiting relatives and other cultural experts, and studying older blankets in museum collections (Johnson and Bernick 1986:16; Brotherton 2008:131). For this reason, it may be more appropriate to classify these events as examples of cultural renewal as opposed to revivals, since the knowledge was never completely lost. I have mentioned that concentrated “revivals” have occurred at specific places and times, but these are sometimes preceded by smaller efforts, which are equally important to the continuation of a cultural tradition. Downriver from Sardis, in the city of Vancouver, N. Rose Point – a Stó:lō woman who married into the Musqueam 120 community, taught weaving in her basement as part of a culture curriculum developed for the Musqueam community in the 1970s. Her efforts were featured in a newspaper article appearing in the Vancouver Sun, titled: “An Indian Woman‟s Triumph, Rose Point starts a school, becomes a teacher.” The article notes: Some time ago, Mrs. Point became interested in Salish weaving, took lessons, and eventually found herself arranging classes in her basement for women off the reserve. She spins her own yarn – she recommends New Zealand wool because it is much longer than that produced here – and makes her own dyes (Anderson 1971:43). In the 1980s, Salish weaving underwent a more widespread revival at Musqueam through the efforts of Wendy Grant John and her sisters Debra and Robyn Sparrow. The sisters also visited with Guild weavers as part of their education, and then again when establishing their first weaving programmes (Johnson and Bernick 1986:16). Their early weavings, and those of their first students, were the basis for the MOA exhibit, Hands of Our Ancestors (1986), and for demonstrations in a pavilion at Expo ‟86, which was held in Vancouver that year. The work of the Salish Weaver’s Guild has also provided inspiration for weavers south of the border, although a different genealogy has guided the South Puget weaving tradition. In the SQ3Tsya’yay: Weaver’s Spirit Power catalogue, art historian Barbara Brotherton notes that Lummi knitters, Fran James and her son Bill, first began working with the Salish loom in the 1960s and were amongst the first to spark a revival in that area (2006:2). The late Bruce subiyay Miller, a Twana cultural and spiritual leader, has also been acknowledged for subsequently reintroducing the skill to several communities throughout Washington State and for creating the Southern Puget Sound Textile Guild in 2002 (Brotherton 2006:2). Susan Pavel, his student, and niece through her marriage to 121 Dr. Michael Pavel, now continues his work. Most recently, her weavings have been exhibited by the Stonington Gallery, the Seattle Art Museum, and College Hall at the Washington State University Museum of Anthropology. A second installation titled, SQ3Tsya’yay: Weaver’s Spirit Power, was unveiled by the artist for the White River Valley Museum near Auburn, Washington in August 2008 and her work was featured in the S’abadeb exhibit, which opened at the Seattle Art Museum in October 2008. Different Approaches to exhibiting Salish Weaving Contemporary Salish Weaving, Continuity and Change (1980-1981), a student exhibit held at MOA, may have been the first exhibit to feature contemporary Salish weavings. Curated by undergraduate students from the UBC Anthropology department, the exhibit showcased the work of the Salish Weavers Guild. Comments in the visitor books for the exhibit reveal that it was very well received by the general public, who frequently described it as “interesting” and requested more information on the weavers and their work. One Florida visitor wrote: I think you have done a terrific exhibition. I have always wanted to see the original method of Salish weaving and particularly the loom, I would be most interested in getting in a workshop… (1980 Comment Book, MOA Archives) Another visitor more succinctly stated: “That‟s incredible, real people” (1981 Comment Book, MOA Archives), showing that the museum had dispelled at least one widely held stereotype – the notion of the vanishing Indian. 122 Figure 7: The UBC student exhibit, Contemporary Salish Weaving, Continuity and Change, featuring the Salish Weaver’s Guild. File 5-26, Herb Watson fonds, Archives, UBC Museum of Anthropology Weavings made by the Salish Weavers Guild first began entering into the MOA collections, through donations and purchases, between the years 1977-1978. Wall hangings made by Marlene Greene, Monica Phillips, Ernie James, and Margaret Jimmie, were among those collected. However, these smaller pieces were not featured in the 1980 exhibit, which instead showcased larger works not from MOA‟s collections (see Figure 7). The central blanket in the display appears to be one described elsewhere as a “revival version of the “Perth” Salish Blanket woven by Mary Peters” (Gustafson 1980:111). The “Perth” blanket referenced is one of several Coast Salish objects donated by Colin Robertson in 1833 to the Perth Museum and Art Gallery in Scotland (1980:45). According to the Fort Langley Journals, Robertson who “worked for both the North West and Hudson‟s Bay Companies” (1998:161), obtained the blanket and other pieces 123 from James Murray Yale while at the Fort Langley outpost. Inclusion of this tribute piece by Mary Peters articulated the idea of cultural continuity to museum visitors. Anthropologist Crisca Bierwert has also been instrumental in bringing attention to Salish Weaving as a form of contemporary artistic expression. Bierwert first learned to weave in 1978 from members of the Salish Weavers Guild, while working for the Stó:lō community, and later continued her education with weavers in Washington State (Bierwert 1982). She subsequently shared some of her experiences of weavers and weaving when she was invited by the Burke Museum to author the catalogue for sahoyaleekw: Weaver’s Art. The sahoyaleekw catalogue contains beautiful testimony to the continued importance, and relevance, of weavings in contemporary Coast Salish society as the following passage shows: Putting a blanket over the ones getting Indian names honors them. It shows they are see-ahb. And it means more. There is a word for it…it is protection. It is taking care of them and showing that you care for them. Showing your affection. (Anonymous in Bierwert 1982:11). The catalogue, however, maintains the convention of the day – writing about, rather than with, community members. When the voices of Salish people are present, they are anonymous voices. Anonymity was a hallmark of “Primitive” and “Tribal” art exhibitions during this era (see Ames 1992:52-54; Price 1989:63). It is one that requires objects to be displayed as cultural rather than individual achievements. Art historian Sally Price (1989) notes that this display tactic suggests indigenous art traditions are static, restricted by cultural conventions, rather than open to individual agency and aesthetics – objects become essentially timeless, and the artists who make them “people without memory.” 124 The narrative in the sahoyaleekw catalogue touches briefly upon the experiences of anonymous individuals such as “a Skwah woman,” “a Tulalip woman,” and “a Tzeachten woman,” but speaks more frequently to the techniques of the generic Salish spinner or weaver. Names of specific weavers are withheld until the end of the opening chapter, where they appear in a much smaller font. This catalogue is a tribute to the weaver‟s art, but it is also appropriation of voice and experience. By 1986 a change in museum practice is already evident, as named weavers from the community of Musqueam are profiled throughout the exhibit, and the accompanying museum note, Hands of Our Ancestors. This exhibit catalogue, like the one for sahoyaleekw: Weaver’s Art, also provides a curatorial overview of Salish weaving, but the weavers profiled are no longer anonymous and are represented by their own words. The words of weavers – Debra Sparrow, Wendy Grant John, and Barbara Cayou, were also featured on exhibit panels throughout the Hands of Our Ancestors exhibit. The following label text was found in the MOA Archives, in the fonds of exhibit designer Herb Watson. The Revival of Weaving at Musqueam It is like somebody guides me. I don‟t do it. It‟s not me, really. I feel that I‟m only the hands through which my ancestors work… I feel that way…that I will be able to show people again what we have and what we are. Debbie Sparrow Musqueam Weaver The Revival of Weaving at Musqueam I‟d say over half of the women didn‟t realise what type of weaving we were even talking about. They thought, well, mostly Salish women are known for their baskets, their beautiful baskets. So when they came to the programme – we started a programme through Canada Manpower – and when they came they thought we were going to be doing baskets and were shocked to find out that we had blankets… 125 We got together… and we made a proposal to Canada Manpower. And we initially asked for ten women. We got four. So we started. To start off, two had no experience at all, one had a year in spinning and weaving and dyeing; one had about the same as me but of course she had more experience working with wool. And to just watch it, in that small room where we were, grow – there‟s no words to describe the feeling that happened in there. And so it‟s not just our own area doing it, either; we have people from other places down in the States and across the Island calling. And that‟s why I think the other reserves are asking for help, so they can start doing it again. If we don‟t go and sell it to the rest of the world, I‟m not really that concerned. But if we can have our own people appreciating and loving it again, that‟s a success. Wendy Grant Founder, Musqueam Weavers These passages accompanied several others written by exhibit curator, Elizabeth Johnson, which detailed the historical and cultural background of Salish weaving. However, by 2002, when MOA created the virtual exhibit, Weavers at Musqueam, and its accompanying sourcebook – Musqueam Weavers: Musqueam Weaving through the Personal Stories of Weavers, curatorial voice had become almost absent. The spoken words of weavers, transcribed from interviews conducted by MOA Education Curator Jill Baird, created the interpretative text – curatorial role had shifted to one of facilitation. South of the border, in Washington State, the 2006 catalogue for SQ3Tsya’yay: Weaver’s Spirit Power follows closely to the format of the 1986 MOA publication for Hands of Our Ancestors, although 20 years separates the two projects. In the SQ3Tsya’yay catalogue a brief bio of weaver Susan Pavel is followed by a longer introduction written by art historian Barbara Brotherton. The catalogue culminates with the words of Dr. Michael Pavel, husband of the featured artist, and the nephew of the late Bruce subiyay Miller (the Master Weaver who started the Southern Puget Sound Textile Guild). Curatorial voice and First Nations voices are balanced in this presentation, neither perspective is privileged. 126 Curatorial and academic voices provide a framework for interpreting weavings and other artistic traditions in the 2008 SAM catalogue for S’abadeb – the Gifts: Pacific Coast Salish Art and Artists, although six of the twelve chapters in the catalogue are authored (or co-authored) by Coast Salish people. Words from “art” producers are also included throughout, but they are sometimes secondary to academic voices. From these examples it appears that curators are employing different tactics for interpreting Coast Salish weavings (and other artistic traditions) in Canada and the United States. In Canadian museums curators are more frequently facilitating native voices, as opposed to framing them. Interpretation is occurring, but it is more subtle. Visitors do not always see the questions that provoked the responses given by weavers (and other artists), so the spoken words seem more spontaneous in nature. These perceivable differences may, however, be less characteristic of the two nations that produced them than the sites where these representations occur (art museums/galleries as opposed to anthropology/cultural history museums). Bringing Culture Forward The exhibits detailed in Tables Three and Four reveal that the sites of Coast Salish representation differ in Canada and the United States – museums dominate Canadian representations, while cultural centres and art galleries (public and commercial) play a much more significant role in the United States. 127 Table Five: Sites of Coast Salish Representations Site Canada United States Museum (includes Universities and Colleges) 30 (57%) 7 (26%) Art Gallery or Art Museum 5 (9%) 6 (22 %) Commercial Gallery 6 (11%) 7 (26%) Cultural Centre 4 (8%) 6 (22%) City Park 4 (8%) - Public Building (Airport) 1 (2%) - Internet / Virtual Exhibits 3 (6%) - Public Garden - 1 (4%) TOTAL SAMPLE 53 27 In museum settings, representations are largely predetermined through curatorial interests but transformed by consultation with participating communities. In cultural centres, communities negotiate amongst themselves to find a common voice to share their culture with youth and visitors (although this process is sometimes impeded by contract firms inexperienced in community consultation), while commercial galleries provide a forum for artists to share their visions. Each of these settings has its own unique set of constraints. Puyallup artist Qwalsius (Shaun Peterson) has worked with a variety of institutions. He comments: I have worked with the Burke Museum, Stonington Gallery, The Legacy Ltd. Gallery, Tacoma Art Museum, White River Valley Museum, Seattle Art Museum, the Museum of Art and Design in New York, and the Washington State History Museum on various levels of involvement, for such projects small and large. It came over time that I was invited to participate as a consultant, participating artist, or curator, and usually by recommendation of colleagues in the field (Interviewed October 22, 2007). He adds that when it comes to determining the content of exhibits, the process: varies a great deal [depending] on what kind of entity, gallery or museum. I think with the museums consultants play a large role and [museums], for the most part, do their best not to give one individual full reign over a project as there are many perspectives that need to be accounted for. In the gallery setting, however, it is a delicate matter of aim and focus of the exhibits planned – their themes and hopes. 128 They are aimed largely at collectors so it is about the clients and artists working under a theme most often. That varies too, as one theme could come from one artist speaking with the director(s) and stem outward, but then it could just be the directors themselves too (Shaun Peterson, Interviewed October 22, 2007). Art galleries, unlike museums, are more concerned with individual experience – how an individual learns more about themselves through encounters that are aesthetic or performative in nature (Duncan 1995; Foster 1996). These experiences may involve disruption or invoke an emotional response. Museums, by contrast, seek to translate experiences and in doing so sometimes mask difference and obscure complexity (Cruikshank 1998; Rowlands 2002). Indigenous art, sometimes referred to as primitive art, has often been anonymous art. Following in the turmoil of post modernism, indigenous art has (in some places) been elevated to the same status as western art, bringing contemporary artists into view and giving voice to their intentions (Johnson and Barnick 1986; Vogel 1988; Arnold et al. 1996; McMaster 1998; Bates 1999; Blanchard and Davenport 2005). However, in these types of exhibits the focus is on a specific type of cultural experience, and the individual artist gives voice to that experience. The collaboration is between the curator and the artist, as opposed to the community. As Art Historian Susan Vogal notes: “an art exhibition can be construed as an unwitting collaboration between a curator and the artists(s) represented with the former having by far the most active and influential role” (1999:191). This differs to the approach taken by museums since working with a collective of individual artists differs greatly from working with a group of representatives from a single community. The individual artist will be most concerned with the immediacy of how their own art or vision is represented; the overarching framework that unites that work with those of other artists will be secondary. The 129 resulting representation will be highly personalised – speaking to artist intent, whereas community involvement by its very nature speaks to a diversity of experiences each predetermined by the gender, age, and occupation of the participant. Negotiation plays a much larger role in the latter scenario, and the time involved must by necessity be more extensive. The exhibit, S’abadeb –The Gifts: Pacific Coast Salish Art and Artists (2008), was created using a hybrid of both approaches. For several years, the exhibit curator worked closely with taq wšəblu (Vi Hilbert), a respected Elder, to identify exhibit themes. Then in the last year of planning representatives from numerous communities were invited to engage in discussions about all aspects of the exhibit. One difficulty with this approach was a lack of consistency in attendants. Although representatives from approximately 40 communities participated – each of the three large planning meetings consisted of some new attendees and some, but not all of the individuals, who attended previous ones. While specific topics were selected for discussion, such as object selection and interpretative technology, community members devoted much of the time to familiarizing themselves with the project and then discussing the constraints to exhibiting certain aspects of our culture(s). Since only three of these larger community advisory meetings were held, much attention was focused on the culturally sensitive objects included on the proposed object list. A great diversity of opinion existed on what was, and what was not acceptable, for display and who should speak to these issues. Because no time was provided at the beginning of the process for these larger issues to be addressed, object selection for the exhibit proceeded in the background with the Exhibit Curator contacting individuals such 130 as myself for information on specific types of objects and then making selections independently. Museum loans were requested without group discussion, due to exhibit timelines, reducing community involvement to reactive rather than creative response. Community members did not suggest what should be included in the exhibit, but responded to the proposed selections by deciding what needed to be removed from the object list (due to cultural constraints). This process, more than any other, demonstrated the importance of remembering that what was being celebrated as “art” served a different role within source communities. The storyline, already mapped out with a gallery plan prior to commencement of widespread community consultation, continued on its predetermined course. Prior to the third and final planning meeting (held December 7 th , 2007) advisors were provided with a copy of “Ways of the Lushootseed People, Ceremonies and Traditions of the Northern Puget Sound Indians.” A generous gift, given with the consent of the author taqwšəblu (Vi Hilbert), but one that came with homework for the recipients who were advised in an accompanying letter that: “Vi suggested that each of you compose a similar sketch of your own community that would include such things as a map of your lands, sample words in your language, an origin story, and overview of ceremonies and traditions or other content that you feel paints a picture of your community” (November 19, 2007). A task that if completed would no doubt have facilitated insertion of content into the exhibit‟s framework. As a member of the planning committee, I was asked by the exhibit curator if I would “consider serving on a small committee of advisory members who will be planning the installation of work of modern Salish artists in the exhibition?” The 131 invitation, extended to me via email on December 6, 2007, noted that my involvement would include attendance at no more than two additional meetings and work that could be done by email or phone. In reality, my involvement was miniscule – responding to a handful of emails. They involved providing contact info for a Skwxwú7mesh artist of my acquaintance and a request to source a photograph of the late Amy Cooper, a Stó:lō Elder whose basketry was to be featured in the exhibit. Other planning committee members of my acquaintance reported that they also received personal requests for information or commissions for art works, but were not invited to participate on research trips or attend additional meetings. At the Gala Opening, held Tuesday October 21 st , 2008, Christine Nicolov of the SAM Board of Trustees announced that the exhibit represented community consultation with representatives of 40 Coast Salish communities, located in both Canada and the United States, impressing many of the assembled guests who were largely non- aboriginal. The focus at this member‟s only event was on the exhibit curator, Barbara Brotherton and the uniqueness of the final product, which was being promoted by the museum as an example of how to conduct community consultation. The tone was in- keeping with other exhibit marketing which noted: S'abadeb—The Gifts: Pacific Coast Salish Art and Artists is a major exhibition that explores the unique artistry and culture of Salish First Peoples of Washington State and British Columbia. The exhibition features more than 175 works of art from national and international collections that offer a glimpse into the daily and ceremonial lives of the 39 sovereign Salish Nations. Many of the works have never before been on view and are, for the first time, interpreted by Native voices (www.seattleartmuseum.org, October 4, 2008). 132 Although individual voices were used to interpret specific objects within the exhibit, suggesting multi-vocality, the framework for the experience remained highly individualistic, speaking to the curator‟s perceptions about Coast Salish culture. On viewing the exhibit for the first time I was surprised, and somewhat embarrassed, to find myself quoted (in really large font) on the narrative label in the basketry section. The quote, taken from a chapter I wrote for the exhibit catalogue (see Fortney 2008), was recycled for use within the exhibit. This, combined with errors regarding my affiliation on the acknowledgement panel at the entrance to the gallery, gave me the impression that the exhibit had been assembled in a hasty manner. Through conversations with others in attendance it became evident that encounters between the curator and individual artists, cultural experts, and community liaisons, provided the interpretation for the exhibit as opposed to consensus arrived at during the community advisory meetings as was being implied publicly. In the exhibit, diverse cultural objects were presented as “art,” displayed on white platforms, in galleries painted with muted tones. On the peripheries, in one gallery a timeline provided a historical overview, while in another an archival photograph showing the interior of a Quamichan longhouse was projected into a corner where it was flanked by two of the house posts featured in the photograph. These components added some context to the belongings on exhibit, but did nothing to disrupt the overall experience which focused on the aesthetic qualities of the objects. Native voices appeared on labels throughout the exhibit, but were used in an anecdotal manner that really only offered “a glimpse into the daily and ceremonial lives” of those featured. We might ask: “if this exhibit was in the planning stages for more than eight years, why it was only opened up 133 to community involvement in the last year and a half, when deadlines created a necessity for immediate response and action?” When time is a limiting factor, thought provoking exhibits are an unlikely outcome. How did community members feel about the exhibit? The overall tone was celebratory, although some privately expressed mixed feelings. SAM honoured its community advisors by inviting them all to attend a blessing ceremony, where each was ceremonially acknowledged by name for their role, in front of assembled witnesses. The media was also able to attend this semi-private event, and interact with advisors as they later previewed the exhibit. Some of those in attendance, including the Chairman of one Washington State tribe, privately expressed misgivings about seeing cultural and spiritual objects presented as art. Others celebrated the recognition that the event brought to Coast Salish artistic traditions and contemporary artists. For many the exhibit provided the opportunity to see cultural heirlooms usually hidden away from view in museum storerooms and those residing in the collections of foreign entities, such as the British Museum. Shla'dai', a Tradition Keeper for the Duwamish Tribe, reflected: I really enjoyed seeing the "spindle whorls" seeing them in person and not on a piece of paper was so wonderful! Also that little welcome figure that was found off Bainbridge Island just blew me away! I thought it was Large! And here it is this little 8-9 inch figure… and it is so much more in person than in the photos I have seen of it. I have been to a lot of museums but I guess this exhibit “hit me” so to speak, due to the fact that it was my heritage I was looking at (Mary Lou Slaughter 2008: pers. comm.). It is evident from one art critic‟s review that S’abadeb was able to provide enlightenment to some of its non-native visitors. Sheila Farr, a Seattle Times art critic, wrote: 134 Some ideas are present only as empty pedestals, with suggestions about imagery that is too powerful and personal to be displayed in a museum. “You put them out in the public, and they become fodder for logos and T-shorts, all kinds of things that are totally inappropriate,” said Penelakut tribal member Joey Caro, an advisor for the show. “Their powers are derived from visions long ago that ancestors had […] They are used in cleansing, purification, healing the sick, helping a deceased person‟s soul transit to another world. When they aren‟t being used, they are covered up.” As revered Upper Skagit elder Vi taqsheblu Hilbert, 90, explained at a preview for the show, “Our people have preferred to be quiet… We honor the gifts of the Earth and the spirit. Many things are private and will never be shared (Seattle Times October 24, 2008). However, in the same review Farr notes: In mainstream contemporary American culture something strange has happened. Art has gotten so alienated from its source that we‟ve come to believe an art object isn‟t worthy of the name unless it has no function at all (Seattle Times October 24, 2008).” From this statement it is evident that cultural difference was perceivable to non-native visitors, but beyond that, there was a failure to grasp that appropriation had occurred when it was decided to present these diverse cultural objects as “Art.” Although they are beautiful, they are not intentional art – to call them “functional art” is to classify them within western epistemology, ignoring their meaning for source community members. The Constraints on Exhibiting Culture When we look at the overview of exhibits presented earlier in this chapter, a trend is apparent in the subject matter of recent Coast Salish exhibits. This is an expressed concern for illuminating the contemporary nature of Coast Salish cultural traditions. Archaeological objects provide inspiration for contemporary artists in the exhibit Written in the Earth (1997), contemporary weavers and their innovations are at the forefront of exhibitions of Salish weaving, while contemporary art exhibits such as Awakenings: A Gathering of Coast Salish Artists (2005) and Transporters (2008), celebrate the 135 transformation of traditional art forms into new media – glass, metal, paint on canvas. This preoccupation with a contemporary presence, a strategic contrast to the historic notion of the vanishing Indian, is interesting and worth consideration. However, of similar interest is what is not addressed by these exhibits and that is the spiritual or religious elements of modern life. Michael Kew‟s exhibit, Visions of Power, Symbols of Wealth (1980) is the first, and larger, of two MOA exhibits that directly addressed this aspect of Coast Salish life. It resonated locally with the community of Musqueam, where it became the trigger for dialogues with museum staff about what was, and was not, suitable for public display. This occurred when spirit dancers, initiates, and other cultural experts from the community came to the museum to view the exhibit and voiced their concern (and embarrassment) over the inclusion of Musqueam ceremonial items, specifically a spirit dance costume. According to internal museum correspondence, a full set of spirit dance regalia was removed from view following these discussions and packed into a trunk in textile storage with “restrictions on access” (Memo from M.M. Ames, May 21, 1987). However, several more years passed before the remainder of culturally sensitive Coast Salish objects were removed from public spaces. In a 1995 letter to the Musqueam community, MOA‟s Director initiated a renewal of discussions about this topic. He wrote: On several occasions recently First Nations visitors have voiced to our staff misgivings concerning the presence of Swxaixwe masks in our visible storage area. These concerns have come from Katzie, Saanich and Sto:lo people. As you probably know, most of these masks were purchased from Musqueam people, and three unpainted ones were commissioned by the museum. One comes from Cowichan. It therefore seems proper to us that before we remove them, attempt to explain how and why they are in the collection, or take any other action, we should consult with you and ask your advice. 136 As you know, similar questions have been asked about the Musqueam memorial box with fishers on it. It has been the view of some staff, including Mike Kew, that having the box, masks, and rattles on display or in visible storage, is worthwhile for the opportunity they provide for visitors to see and study these unique and intrinsically valuable objects as art and as important cultural property. On the other hand, it is important for us to know if there are objections to the display of these materials, and to adopt better ways of exhibiting, storing and/or interpreting them (Correspondence of M.M. Ames, October 12, 1995). The outcome of these discussions was the removal of Swxaixwe masks and syelmuxwtses (ritualist rattles) from public view, and the development and implementation of protocols for accessing culturally sensitive materials originating from the community of Musqueam. Although museum staff struggled to varying degrees to come to terms with the changes that were required of them (Ames 1999), once they decided to move forward they were quick to include the public in the dialogues going on behind the scenes, as can be seen in the following label text found in the MOA Archives, in the fonds of Director Michael Ames: Sxwaixwe Masks The masks in this case are called Sxwaixwe, and come from the Halkomelem speaking people of the Central Coast Salish region (Fraser Valley and Southeaster Vancouver Island). The masks are used in spiritual cleansing rites by trained ritualists who inherit the right to their use. In community settings these objects are not displayed but kept covered and taken out only when they are used in ritual activities. The unpainted masks were made by an owner of the privilege for display in this museum. They have not been completed or used in ritual acts. Others in this case have been used before being sold to the museum by their owners. Museum of Anthropology staff members are in the process of consulting with descendents and representatives of former owners of these masks with the object of clarifying the proper, respectful, way in which these objects should be treated while in the Museum’s care. MOA also released guidelines for visitors to identify culturally sensitive materials to enable staff to remove such items from view. The implementation of these guidelines also provided a mechanism for First Nations to share information about appropriate care and handling of such materials. For example, on January 30, 1997, two Coast Salish 137 interns visiting MOA as part of the RBCM‟s Aboriginal Cultural Stewardship Program identified several bird rattles (originating from a secret society on Vancouver Island) as being culturally sensitive. Staff ensured that the rattles were quickly removed from display, and the two visitors were able to ceremonially pack them before they were transferred to closed storage (Memo from Miriam Clavir, February 6, 1997). The changes that were occurring at MOA throughout the 1990s were not always easy ones. Tensions arose during exhibit development for From Under the Delta (1996) and Written in the Earth (1997) – both archaeologically themed exhibits. This led to a series of meetings between staff from MOA, the Lab of Archaeology (LOA) and the Musqueam community, where through a series of complex negotiations the three parties agreed to sign two memoranda of understanding, one for each of the exhibits (Holm and Pokotylo 1997:37). These memoranda recognised that a relationship existed between Musqueam and the archaeological objects that were to be displayed – in essence that these materials were being “held in trust.” The memorandum signed for From Under the Delta also detailed specific steps that LOA would take to care for these collections – in particular they were required to develop better storage to conserve the fragile wet-site objects (archaeological basketry fragments, etc…) found at Musqueam Northeast and other local archaeological sites. Written in the Earth was a major achievement for MOA and LOA, as it departed from the “archaeology as science” model to recognise that living people still had connections with the objects displayed, and that to them the objects were endowed with spiritual qualities as well as aesthetic ones. The exhibit process was also a learning opportunity for LOA staff, who note they didn‟t initially recognise the significance 138 behind their choice to acknowledge the featured objects were being held “in trust” for local First Nations. The desire to conduct scientific testing, specifically radiocarbon dating, was one area where incompatibility between knowledge systems first became evident to them. Archaeologists Margaret Holm and David Pokotylo note: Although for the majority of the artefacts, we were only legally required to ask permission of the museums loaning the objects, we also asked permission from the First Nations communities associated with the material. Although we did not realize it at the time, our request to “drill small holes in a few artefacts,” highlighted a difference in values between archaeologists and First Nations people. Several key artefacts, in our perspective, would be much more significant if their age could be determined. The risk of the procedure and slight damage to the objects was a trade off for the increased knowledge that would result from the AMS dates. To the Musqueam exhibit consultant, drilling a hole and taking sample material out of artefacts was a high price to pay. The intrinsic and spiritual qualities of the carvings would not be increased by the AMS dates (1997:36). The question of the appropriateness of scientific testing led to discussions concerning liability and insurance of the featured objects, security issues that had not previously been considered by LOA staff (Holm and Pokotylo 1997). Another outcome of the two exhibits was policy development that gave First Nations approval over how their cultural heritage was displayed. This was facilitated by conducting a private preview of the installed exhibit, and an opportunity for changes to be made prior to a public opening. The travelling component of the show provided an opportunity for community artists to replicate fragile materials that could otherwise not travel, a process described as a “tremendous success” (Holm and Pokotylo 1997:38). These changes in protocol initiated in the 1990s, were at first difficult for staff, but have now become a routine part of how they conduct business. A decade earlier, mortuary practices, the Sxwaixwe dance, and spirit dancing were featured in the exhibit Visions of Power, Symbols of Wealth. Ceremonial belongings 139 were accompanied by photographs that depicted how these objects were used, while object labels were highly descriptive. The communities represented were not asked about the content of exhibits – objects selected, themes, text, or methods of display. For example, the following label text accompanied an Initiate‟s costume and staff featured in the 1980 exhibit: Costumes for spirit dance initiates were made from mountain goat wool or cedar bark and consisted of a headdress, wrist and ankle bands, and a sash used by attendants to restrain dancers under possession of their powers. Their canes were fir saplings with decorative twists of feather and deer hoof rattles. When spring came initiates‟ costumes were commonly disposed of in the wilderness where they might be hung high in a tree, apart from human contact, to return to nature. The initiate‟s costume exhibited here, a recent one made of sheep wool, was ritually cleansed at the end of initiation in order to disassociate it from the initiate and other humans, and thus permit its exhibition. (Source: MOA Archives, Herb Watson Designer Fonds) Highly descriptive, this text does little to covey the secrecy (or perhaps I should say privacy) that are normally associated with such events. Following the changes in policy that occurred at MOA throughout the 1980s – 1990s, label text throughout the museum was altered to explain the absence of certain collections from visible storage and to introduce visitors to the idea of culturally sensitive collections. In other areas of the gallery, culturally sensitive objects (from other areas of the world) were removed from public view by encasing them in white boxes with labels that proclaimed them culturally sensitive. Despite these changes, or perhaps because of them, Coast Salish ceremonial life returned to the galleries in a new way. Ceremonial life was the central theme in the more recent exhibit, To Wash Away the Tears (2003). This exhibit was initiated by an individual from the Musqueam community, who later made a presentation to the Musqueam Chief and Council to obtain permission to publicly discuss this private matter. 140 The resulting exhibit, which featured a mortuary canoe and its contents, revealed one family‟s way of mourning. The vessel was later gifted to the museum (after its use in a Memorial Ceremony) by Shane Pointe and Gina Grant – siblings of Margaret Pointe, for whom it was made. The belongings gathered for the ceremony are traditionally burned or given away. The family of Maggie Pointe chose to gift this canoe to MOA as a way to share something of their lives with museum visitors, and to tell them “we are still here.” Recognising the significance of this gift, MOA has decided (through consultation with the Musqueam community) that the canoe and its contents will be a central feature of the Coast Salish displays in MOA‟s newly renovated Multiversity Gallery (visible storage) opening in 2010. Rather than explicitly detailing beliefs about ghosts, mortuary houses and tombs, as was done in Visions of Power, Symbols of Wealth (1980), the exhibit team (family members, graduate students, and museum staff) instead chose to focus on how one family celebrates their dead and their process of grieving. The visitor book from the exhibit shows that they did so in a manner that spoke to visitors with diverse backgrounds. Exhibit Curator, Sue Rowley, found that visitors also showed their affinity and respect by adding to the contents of the canoe – including coins featuring Sacajawea and other Native American symbols. Sxwaixwe masks, dance regalia, and syelmuxwtses (ritualist rattles) are now sequestered from display in several Canadian museums such as MOA, the Vancouver Museum, the North Vancouver Museum and Archives, and the Glenbow Museum, an act which speaks to the recognition of the source community‟s prerogative to protect objects 141 of power (and the people who may come into contact with them). This is not a universal recognition, however, as museums such as the Royal British Columbia Museum (RBCM) continue to display images of personal ceremonial regalia (dance staffs, rattles, dance shirts, etc…) through collections databases available on their websites, and to a lesser degree in their public galleries (http://objectdb.royalbcmuseum.bc.ca/index.html, January 25, 2009). The potential inclusion of syelmuxwtses (ritualist rattles) in S’abadeb – The Gifts: Pacific Coast Salish Art and Artists (2008) was the source of lively discussion between delegates from Canadian and American Coast Salish communities at the Seattle Art Museum (SAM) at all three community advisory meetings. Opinions were mixed, with some representatives expressing reticence about the inclusion of such objects, while others debated how the experience could be mediated and the power of the objects could be conveyed to museum visitors. Some Canadian delegates (including myself) were surprised that this was an issue of discussion, since most Canadian institutions no longer attempt to exhibit materials that have been identified as culturally sensitive by community members. Community members did not share a common outlook on the matter of inclusion of syelmuxwtses (ritualist rattles) and from the onset SAM did not anticipate that its advisory council would require time to discuss these types of serious matters and potentially arrive at a consensus. They also didn‟t allow time at the beginning of the process for discussion of how to proceed if disagreements arose, and a consensus could not be reached. In 2007 loan requests for syelmuxwtses (ritualist rattles) were submitted to at least one Canadian institution – the Canadian Museum of Civilization. However, 142 this request was later rescinded, early in 2008, when SAM staff recognised the controversy that their inclusion would cause. What this example tells us is that in the beginning SAM staff gave the aesthetic value of these objects primacy over their spiritual value – in other words, western notions of art were initially given precedence over community concerns regarding the care of ritual objects and other personal ceremonial belongings. This is a phenomenon not uncommon in European museums, where interaction with source communities is limited, and thus curatorial responses to requests for repatriation or special care of collections are considered as theoretical rather than practical concerns since regular confrontations with angry source communities are unlikely. North American institutions, such as the Seattle Art Museum, must consider such outcomes before proceeding without a clear mandate from source communities as the above demonstrates. By contrast, European museums often utilise arguments for continued display that employ the rhetoric of censorship, or allusions to a greater human history, a means of the western world to continue exercising autonomy over indigenous peoples of former colonies while proclaiming the world to be “post-colonial”. The visitor‟s guide to the American Collections at the Etnografisch Museum in Antwerp, Belgium, includes the following: Show or Hide? Recently, a number of ethnological museums, American institutions in the main, have decided that they will no longer exhibit sacred objects such as False Face, Katsina and Gaan masks. This is in response to the demands of indigenous peoples, who feel strongly that the public display of sacred and ritual objects demonstrates a lack of respect. Although we can understand this point of view we have decided not to hide the masks away but rather to let them be seen. In this way we hope to draw the visitor‟s attention to the contrast between the western museum – which aims to show and reveal as much as possible – and the 143 standpoint of makers and users of the objects, who wish to preserve the power and mystery of ritual objects by hiding and concealing them (Holsbeke 2001:50). In this publication the patriarchal language of a former colonizer is employed. Requests to remove objects from display are alluded to as childish “demands.” The museum is heralded as a beacon of light that illuminates, in stark contrast to the indigenous people they represent, whom they characterise as “hiding” themselves in primitive shadows. Regardless of the language employed, in the end the issue boils down to one of power – museums having the power to “decide” what path they will choose, while source communities can only petition or advise. Several museums in Europe and North America have become proponents of the concept of the “Universal Museum,” a metaphor that employs the legacy of shared human history as a rationale for retaining contested collections. In December of 2002, a „Declaration on the Importance and Value of Universal Museums‟ was drafted and signed by 19 major European and North American museums. This declaration suggests that collections formed during the Enlightenment exemplify a specific era in human history (its mores and practices), and this justifies their continued existence. Geoffrey Lewis of the ICOM Ethics committee counters that: The real purpose of the Declaration was, however, to establish a higher degree of immunity from claims for the repatriation of objects from the collections of these museums. The presumption that a museum with universally defined objectives may be considered exempt from such demands is specious. The Declaration is a statement of self-interest, made by a group representing some of the world‟s richest museums; they do not, as they imply, speak for the “international museum community.” The debate today is not about the desirability of “universal museums” but about the ability of a people to present their cultural heritage in their own territory (2004:3). Interestingly, the only North American institutions that signed the declaration are Art Museums or Galleries. The following museums signed the declaration: 144 The Art Institute of Chicago Bavarian State Museum, Munich State Museums, Berlin Cleveland Museum of Art J. Paul Getty Museum, Los Angeles Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York Los Angeles County Museum of Art Louvre Museum, Paris The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York The Museum of Fine Arts, Boston The Museum of Modern Art, New York Opificio delle Pietre Dure, Florence Philadelphia Museum of Art Prado Museum, Madrid Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam State Herm
UBC Theses and Dissertations
Forging new partnerships : Coast Salish communities and museums Fortney, Sharon Michelle 2009
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