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Thunder and being : attribution, continuity, and symbolic capital in a Nuxalk community Smith, Christopher Wesley 2019

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    THUNDER AND BEING: ATTRIBUTION, CONTINUITY, AND SYMBOLIC CAPITAL IN A NUXALK COMMUNITY  by  CHRISTOPHER WESLEY SMITH    B.A., University of Alaska Anchorage, 2009  A THESIS SUBMITTED IN PARTIAL FULFILLMENT OF  THE REQUIREMENTS FOR THE DEGREE OF  MASTER OF ARTS  in  THE FACULTY OF GRADUATE AND POSTDOCTORAL STUDIES (Anthropology)     THE UNIVERSITY OF BRITISH COLUMBIA (Vancouver)          August 2019    © Christopher Wesley Smith, 2019    ii The following individuals certify that they have read, and recommend to the Faculty of Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies for acceptance, a thesis entitled:  Thunder and Being: Attribution, Continuity, and Symbolic Capital in a Nuxalk Community   submitted by Christopher Wesley Smith  in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the degree of Master of Arts in Anthropology    Examining Committee: Jennifer Kramer  Supervisor  Bruce Granville Miller Supervisory Committee Member   Additional Examiner                        iii Abstract  This ethnography investigates how Nuxalk carpenters (artists) and cultural specialists discursively connect themselves to cultural treasures and historic makers through attributions and staked cultural knowledge. A recent wave of information in the form of digital images of ancestral objects, long-absent from the community, has enabled Nuxalk members to develop connoisseurial skills to reinterpret, reengage, and re-indigenize those objects while constructing cultural continuity and mobilizing symbolic capital in their community, the art market, and between each other. The methodologies described in this ethnography and deployed by Nuxalk people draw from both traditional knowledge and formal analysis, problematizing the presumed binary division between these epistemologies in First Nations art scholarship and texts. By developing competencies with objects though exposure and familiarity, Nuxalk carpenters and cultural specialists are driving a spiritual and artistic resurgence within their community. One example of a traditional knowledge being returned to the Nuxalk is the “carpenter’s mark,” a crease on the palms of some carpenters connecting them to supernatural events and prominent ancestors who shared this rare physical feature. Through case studies and interviews, this thesis demonstrates that 1) Nuxalk carpenters and community members build and mobilize relationships to ancestral carpenters and iconic objects as cultural and symbolic capital, 2) Nuxalk carpenters have indigenized aspects of formal art analysis in their engagements with objects and images of objects in developing connoisseurial skills that draw coequally from traditional ways of knowing and formalism and 3) the carpenter’s mark, a single transverse palmar crease, serves as a physical connection between historic and contemporary carpenters and is a vehicle for both continuity and symbolic capital.                          iv Lay Summary  Nuxalk artists and cultural leaders in the town of Bella Coola, British Columbia, are developing methods to reconnect with objects in museums that have been absent from their community for generations. By studying images of objects available online and drawing from a variety of knowledge sources, Nuxalk people are connecting themselves and their art with well-known objects and ancestors to build recognition and status within their community. In familiarising themselves with these objects and their histories, Nuxalk members are returning forgotten traditions and ceremonies to their community to help strengthen their culture and identities as Nuxalk people. This thesis examines what that process looks like and offers insights into how the Nuxalk are building expertise in studying objects and replicating those objects to be used in their ceremonies. This process is an important step in helping the community heal by reviving Nuxalk culture and art traditions.                                   v Preface  This thesis is an original intellectual product of Christopher W. Smith. The fieldwork discussed throughout was approved by the Nuxalk Ancestral Governance Office and by the UBC Behavioural Research Ethics Board (BREB) under the title “Nuxalk Thunder” BREB number H18-00457.                                         vi Table of Contents Abstract ......................................................................................................................................... iii Lay Summary ................................................................................................................................ iv Preface ............................................................................................................................................ v Table of Contents ........................................................................................................................... vi List of Figures ............................................................................................................................... vii Nuxalk Name Key ........................................................................................................................viii Acknowledgements ....................................................................................................................... ix Dedication....................................................................................................................................... x Introduction: The Original Masks of Snuxyaltwa ........................................................................... 1 Art, Attribution, Continuity, and the Symbolic Capital of Connection .............................. 3 Theoretical Frameworks ..................................................................................................... 5 Outcomes of Research ........................................................................................................ 6 Fieldwork, Methodologies and Positionality ...................................................................... 7 A Note on Nuxalk Naming Complexities ........................................................................... 8 Thesis Structure and Flow ................................................................................................... 9 Chapter 1: Giving Credit to the Ancestors .................................................................................... 10 The Nuxalk Nation: Four Paths, One People ..................................................................... 10 Smallpox, the Sun Mask, and Snuxyaltwa (LS) ................................................................ 12 The Sleeping Period: Suuncwmay (DS) and Willie Mack II (WMII) ............................... 17 Suuncwmay (DS) (1889-1966) ......................................................................................... 18 Willie Mack II (WMII) (1927-1974) ................................................................................. 21 Nuxalk Carpenters Today ................................................................................................. 23 Chapter 2: Nuxalk Engagements with Formal Analysis in Art and Objects ................................. 26 Formal Analysis and the Etic Gaze ................................................................................... 27 Indigenizing a Western Way of Knowing ......................................................................... 31 Case Study 1: Alklasis (PS): Claiming the Carpenters after Smallpox ............................. 32  Case Study 2: Snxakila (CT): Clearing the Path for my Name ......................................... 34  Case Study 3: Qwaxqwaxmn (AM) and Wiiqa7ay (LM): The Purpose of the Art ........... 36 Chapter 3: The Hands of Carpenters ............................................................................................. 39  Nunanta (IS): The Hands of Yulatimut ............................................................................. 40  vii  Alklasis (PS): The Smell of your Blood Lineage .............................................................. 40  Wiiqa7ay (LM): Marking Connections ............................................................................. 41 Conclusion: Constructing Continuity, from Smallpox to Healing on the World Stage ......43 Works Cited .................................................................................................................................. 46 Appendix: Nuxalk Interview References ...................................................................................... 50                                      viii  List of Figures  Figure 1 The “original” masks of Snuxyaltwa. Deric and Peter Snow .............................................1 Figure 2 Map of Nuxalk Territory. Nuxalk Stewardship Office ................................................... 10 Figure 3 Snuxyaltwa (LS) lineage diagram ................................................................................... 12 Figure 4 The Nuxalk Sun mask. Jennifer Kramer ......................................................................... 13 Figure 5 Thunder Being figurine by Suuncwmay (DS), June 2016 ................................................18 Figure 6 Carpenters completing the Yaki pole and ceremonial raising, June 2018 ...................... 25 Figure 7 View of Acwsalcta entrance, October 2018 .................................................................... 25 Figure 8 Two views of Acwsalcta School art classroom, October 2018 ....................................... 27 Figure 9 Detail photo of “carpenter’s marks,” October 2018 ........................................................ 39 Figure 10 Detail photo of Wiiqa7ay’s (LM) Four Carpenters tattoo. Lyle Mack ......................... 42                           ix Nuxalk Name Key  7ANISPUXALS (JS)* ..................................................................................................Jeffrey Snow Alklasis (PS)....................................................................................................................Peter Snow Isyuyut (CBB) ...................................................................................................Captain ‘Blind’ Bob Kamalsuuncw (JM)........................................................................................................James Mack Matl'apalitsak (BS)............................................................................................................Bert Snow Nunanta (AS).....................................................................................Amanda Siwallace (née Snow) Nunanta (IS).................................................................................................................Iris Siwallace Nuskimnalh (BM).........................................................................................Betty Mack (née Snow) Nuximlayc (NP)...........................................................................................................Noel Pootlass Piixpiixlayc (DS)............................................................................................................David Snow Q’umukwa (MH)........................................................................................................Marshall Hans Q’umukwa (TS)..........................................................................................................Timothy Snow Qwaxw (PS).....................................................................................................................Peter Snow Qwaxqwaxmn (AM).......................................................................................................Alvin Mack  Qwayxus (AP)........................................................................................Amilia Pootlass (née Snow) Snuxyaltwa (LS).............................................................................................................Louie Snow Snxakila (CT).................................................................................................................Clyde Tallio Suuncwmay (DS)..............................................................................................................Dick Snow Ts’imlayc (CS).............................................................................................................Charles Snow Uma (HH).....................................................................................................Hazel Hans (née Snow) Wiiqa7ay (LM).................................................................................................................Lyle Mack Ximximuslayc (MS).............................................................................................Melvina Siwallace Yulm (DS) ......................................................................................................................Deric Snow  Nuxalk name unavailable at this time ............................................................................King George  Nuxalk name unavailable at this time ..............................................................Willie Mack I (WMI) Nuxalk name unavailable at this time ..........................................................Willie Mack II (WM II)  * 7ANISPUXALS (JS) utilizes an older spelling convention for his name. Per his wishes, I have used this spelling in my thesis.   x Acknowledgments  My sincerest gratitude and respect to my supervisory committee, Jennifer Kramer and Bruce Granville Miller, for your patience, support, and mentorship throughout this research. You have both encouraged and supported me every step of the way, from letters of support and rigorous notes, to cups of coffee and friendly chatting. Thank you.  One of the most rewarding aspects of my research has been the time and effort that the descendants of Louie Snow (Snuxyaltwa), specifically Peter Snow and family, Staltmc Jeffrey Snow, Staltmc James Mack, Principal Chief of the Nuxalk Nation Noel Pootlass, Staltmc Deric Snow, Marshall Hans, Iris Siwallace, Lyle Mack, and Alvin Mack have invested in helping me to understand how they perceive their treasures and the continuity of their ancestral art production. I also want to thank Clyde Tallio and the Ancestral Governance Office for sharing resources and insights into cultural practices. It is through all of this generosity and openness in sharing knowledge and allowing access to family treasures that this thesis was able to be so ethnographically rich. Many details on the lives and artistic productions of Louie Snow, Dick Snow, and Willie Mack II are presented here for the first time in print. The story of the “carpenter’s mark” and its significance to contemporary Nuxalk carpenter identity is also explored here for the first time in-depth, illuminating an aspect of Northwest Coast art engagements rarely considered in texts – dynamic processes of spiritual interaction and meaning. It’s an exciting time in Bella Coola as there are perhaps more carpenters working now than ever before – and I had the honour of being allowed to document some small part of it. Stutwiniitscw.  Additionally, I want to thank and acknowledge Karen Duffek, Nicola Levell, Sue Rowley, Sara Shneiderman, John Barker, and Charles Menzies for their support and insights along the way to completing this thesis.   I want to especially thank Emily Leischner, Amanda Sorensen, Karen Thomas, Eric Simons, Caris Windhausen, and my other fellow graduate students in the Department of Anthropology at UBC – you have been the best, most supportive cohort one could hope for.   I would also like to thank my parents, Gary and Sharon Smith, for their love and support over the years, and for encouraging and fostering my interest in the arts.  This research was funded and made possible by the Jacobs Research Funds and the UBC Faculty of Arts. Additional financial support came from the Francis Reif Scholarship and the Tina and Morris Wagner Foundation Fellowship.  Last but certainly not least, I want to thank my wonderful partner, Jill, for all of the love and support on this journey. Without your strength and support none of this would have been possible.  xi  Dedication This thesis is dedicated to my dear friend and mentor Dr. Phyllis Fast, who tirelessly encouraged me to pursue my dreams. I’m keeping the promise that I made to you the last time we spoke. Thank you for always believing in me. Basee’.         1 Introduction: The Original Masks of the Snuxyaltwa  “The Snuxyaltwa kept the original masks, and are to use this now... We claim it in our house, and in our treasure. And so, when I found out that these masks were the originals, it put more onto our family, how big of a treasure we have. Because we can now say that these are the original masks of our family house.” – Nunanta (Iris Siwallace), 10/11/2018    Figure 1: The "original" masks of the House of Snuxyaltwa. The large mask in the center is Alhkw'ntam (Creator), and the four masks on the left and right are the Masmasalaniixw (Four Carpenters). Photos by Alklasis (Peter Snow), used with permission from Yulm (Deric Snow).   The three young Kusyut1 initiates entered into the sacred space of the dance floor several hours into the House of Snuxyaltwa potlatch in the town of Bella Coola, British Columbia. This memorial potlatch, hosted by Yulm (Deric Snow) in Nuxalk Hall, was the first time the initiates had been brought out since their isolation and fasting rituals to become Kusyut. The young Nuxalk men walked around the four corners of the dance floor clockwise, four times, carefully executing every step and each wearing a carved wooden mask at least a century old. There was a murmur from the crowd, it was clear that these masks were special as the guests stirred in their seats. The first initiate to enter the dance floor wore the mask of Alhkw'ntam, the Creator, a                                                1 The Kusyut is a secret society among the Nuxalk. Members are initiated at puberty as a rite of passage.   2 massive, life-like portrait mask with a long, pointed protrusion emerging from its forehead. Alhkw'ntam was followed by the members of the Masmasalaniixw, the Four Carpenters who shaped the earth at the beginning of time, portrayed in smaller, cruder masks which featured twisted cedar bark ornamentation and carved fin-like appendages. The initiates showed great reverence for the masks, moving as slowly and deliberately as possible so as to not drop them or make any missteps.2 I was allowed to inspect the masks the night before in Alklasis’ (Peter Snow) carving studio, but seeing them danced was an entirely different experience altogether; they had come alive.  Gaining confidence as the dance progressed, the young men began making hand gestures that implied building with hammers, explosions, and releasing things into the world. This first performance leading into the Kusyut dancing portion of the potlatch was much more subdued than the high-energy and raucous performances by the Haw Haw,3 Wolf, and Thunder Being dancers that followed. While the young men made their rounds, Nunanta (Iris Siwallace), the speaker of the ceremony, recited not only the Smayusta4 of Alhkw'ntam and the Masmasalaniixw, but also the story of the masks themselves. Nunanta (IS) announced that her grandmother, also named Nunanta (Amanda Siwallace), had preserved these masks and hidden them away from outsiders such as Indian Agents, protected the masks during the residential school era, and prevented the masks from being sold or stolen and ending up in a museum or private art collection. These masks were very special and very old, she continued, carved by Snuxyaltwa (Louie Snow) or Suuncwmay (Dick Snow) in the 19th century, and these masks were the “original masks” of the House of Snuxyaltwa. Not only were the masks the originals she announced, but the masks in museums were “duplicates.”  The introduction of these masks was unlike any of the successive dances that evening and the inclusion of an artist attribution and provenance presented side-by-side with the Smayusta revealed outside valuations of Nuxalk treasures5 being mobilized as symbolic capital. By                                                2 Stumbling would be a breach in protocol that would shame the dancers as well as potentially damage the masks. Cash repayment would have to be made on the spot to amend for the offense. 3 Haw Haw are giant, cannibal birds from the Kusyut society represented by large masks with long, clacking beaks and highly animated dancing. 4 Smayusta are sacred family owned prerogatives that tell the origin stories of Nuxalk house lineages.  5 The terms objects, pieces, production, and work are not mutually exclusive and are used as generic terms for physical materials. The term art is generally reserved for objects made for sale. The term treasure denotes prerogatives, tangible and intangible, that are claimed by Nuxalk families and houses. The terms ancestral objects or ceremonial objects are not mutually exclusive and refer to the tangible materials owned or claimed by Nuxalk families and houses.   3 asserting the authenticity and artistic value of these masks publicly before the potlatch guests, the confluence of traditional values with art historical and market forces were made explicit in the cultural lives of the Nuxalk. In this presentation, the masks became proxies for the resiliency and strength of the House of Snuxyaltwa, and by extension, the strength and resilience of Nuxalk culture and people as a whole. This is why I was in Bella Coola.  Art, Attribution, Continuity, and the Symbolic Capital of Connection  For the year leading up to my fieldwork6 in Bella Coola I had engaged in lengthy conversations with Alklasis (PS), a Nuxalk carpenter,7 Kusyut, and member of the House of Snuxyaltwa, regarding his ongoing research to attribute objects in museums, private collections, and treasure boxes8 to members of his family. He was particularly interested in gaining acknowledgement from both the Nuxalk community and the broader First Nations art world for the specific carving style that he has identified as originating with his family. In doing so, Alklasis (PS) was also connecting his own art production and identity to specific ancestral makers and iconic Nuxalk treasures.9  These dialogues reminded me of how other First Nations artists reference ancestors and relatives as symbolic capital in their biographies that are presented to the art market through gallery websites and Northwest Coast art texts. Within Haida artist biographies, highly skilled artists such as Charles Edenshaw, Bill Reid, or even living artist Robert Davidson are frequently referenced. Amongst the Kwakwaka’wakw, artists draw connections to Charlie James, Mungo Martin, Willie Seaweed, and Mary Ebbetts, the Tlingit matriarch of the Hunt family. Likewise, in this ethnography I examine how contemporary Nuxalk carpenters tie themselves to three regionally well-known makers acknowledged in Bella Coola as master carpenters from the late-19th and mid-20th centuries, Snuxyaltwa (LS), Suuncwmay (DS), and Willie Mack II (WMII).   Since the 1960s, art historians and anthropologists have described contemporary Northwest Coast First Nations artists studying ancestral objects to develop their carving and                                                6 October 8th-15th, 2018 7 Nuxalk carvers are referred to in the community of Bella Coola as carpenters. I will use this terminology in the body of my thesis, though quotes will remain unchanged if the interviewee used another term such as artist or carver.  8 The term “treasure box” refers to both a physical box of ancestral objects kept by Nuxalk house members and a metaphorical receptacle of all the prerogatives, crests, and Smayusta owned by their house lineage.  9 The process of an object becoming ‘iconic’ is explored in Chapter 1 in the section titled Smallpox, The Sun Mask, and Snuxyaltwa (LS).    4 painting skills and to mirror older styles of production. This has been frequently referenced in Northwest Coast literature (Macnair, Hoover, and Neary 1984; Jonaitis 1988a; Brown 1998), but it has not been investigated in any depth to reveal how that process might inform the identities of the Indigenous artists interacting with objects, or how meaning is being constructed around the objects that are being studied. My research posits that through inspection and study of ancestral objects, Nuxalk carpenters and cultural specialists are connecting themselves to ancestors and heritage while constructing meanings and continuity that directly inform their identities as Nuxalk people. The relationships that are formed by this action are then mobilized as symbolic capital within their community and the art market through a) artist biographies, b) the bringing out of reproduced ancestral objects as family-based prerogatives at potlatches, and c) public assertions of attribution such as that made with the Snuxyaltwa masks.   There have been a number of excellent speculative studies on pre-contact ritual functions of Nuxalk objects (particularly masks) over the last century by McIlwraith (1948 [1992]), Ritzenthaler and Parsons (1966), Stott (1975), and Seip (2000; 2003), however, this ethnography will instead consider how Nuxalk members are connecting with objects and ancestors in the present, and how meanings or interpretations are being ascribed to objects in the community today. While probing contemporary Nuxalk constructions of heritage and ancestral objects, I also explore how outside influences such as books, museums, and Indigenous art auctions have impacted the ways in which Nuxalk people interact with their own material culture and history (Glass 1999; Kramer 2006). This research takes place in the atmosphere of recent advancements in information-technology accessibility that have resulted in the widespread availability of the internet in rural areas of British Columbia (Thomson 2018). These developments have created for the Nuxalk unprecedented access to images of objects that may not have been seen by community members for generations. The resulting connectivity between rural communities and the outside world has coincided with a sharp increase in the accessibility of museum collections through online databases such as the Reciprocal Research Network (RRN) and efforts by the Nuxalk Ancestral Governance Office to expose carpenters and community members to images of ancestral objects held abroad in museums (Rowley 2013; Leischner 2018). Influxes of information have laid a fertile ground for Nuxalk members to construct continuity and reincorporate long-absent objects   5 into meaningful frameworks, developing connoisseurial skills10 rooted in both formalist examinations of objects and deep cultural knowledge. This ethnography is interested in what those processes might look like.   Theoretical Frameworks   My thesis follows the lead of Jennifer Kramer’s work with the Nuxalk that conceptualizes art as action and emphasizes the role of art in identity making (2004, 164; 2006, 5-6) as well as what Kramer terms “figurative repatriation.”  “Figurative repatriation” is defined as “contemporary First Nations artists [making] possessive claims for [Indigenous] cultural objects existing in museum collections by embracing them within newly created contemporary artworks” (Kramer 2004, 173). Although reproduction of cultural objects is an important component of the processes I am describing in this thesis, I draw primarily from the aspects of “figurative repatriation” involving the rhetorical control and reinterpretation of objects, as well as the complexities that deal with identity construction of First Nations peoples vis-à-vis cultural objects. I also utilize Pierre Bourdieu’s theoretical framework the “field of cultural production” and the concepts of symbolic and cultural capital (Bourdieu, Darbel, and Schnapper 1991; Bourdieu, Johnson 1993) in examining Nuxalk engagements with objects and heritage. The “field of cultural production” considers the spaces in which art exists; its production, its consumption, its circulation, and the positions of those that control the mobilization of art as a resource of symbolic capital through cultural institutions and staked cultural knowledge (Bourdieu and Johnson 1993). Symbolic capital is defined as a “degree of accumulated prestige, celebrity, consecration or honour... founded on a dialectic of knowledge and recognition” while cultural capital is defined as “forms of cultural knowledge, competencies, or dispositions” that can “[equip] the social agent with empathy towards, appreciation for, or competence in deciphering cultural relations or cultural artefacts” (Bourdieu and Johnson 1993, 7). In the                                                10 Bourdieu discusses the ability to interpret or attribute objects as “artistic competence,” defined as “the previous knowledge of the strictly artistic principles of division which enable a representation to be located, through the classification of the stylistic indications which it contains” (Bourdieu and Johnson 1993, 221-222). He further notes that connoisseurship is an “art” that is accomplished through familiarity and exposure to objects and is “the unconscious mastery of the instruments of appropriation which are the basis of familiarity with cultural works... acquired by slow familiarization, a long succession of little perceptions” (Bourdieu and Johnson 1993, 228).       6 process I am proposing, cultural and symbolic capital are mobilized in tandem, with the former informing, producing, and enhancing the latter as Nuxalk members develop connoisseurial techniques by which to increase their cultural capital, repeating the process and expanding both their skills and status as carpenters and cultural specialists.  It is through this lens of symbolic and cultural capital that I investigate how Nuxalk members engage with objects and construct identity and cultural connections between objects, ancestors, and each other. In order to better understand this process, I also draw from the work of Alfred Gell and his concept of the art nexus, which states that objects can act relationally and contextually agentive in the interplay between social actors, dubbed agents (acting upon) and patients (acted upon) (Gell 1998, 22-29). In other words, objects can become affective and act on the people that act on them. I also reference Eduardo Viveiros de Castro’s concept of “Amerindian Perspectivism,” which helps articulate the belief held by many Indigenous people (including the Nuxalk) that all things are agentive and possess a spirit, or personhood, that must be respected by following certain protocols (Viveiros de Castro, Batalha, and Skafish 2014, 12). Gell’s and Viveiros de Castro’s ideas on agentive things and non-human personhood help shed light on the ways that Nuxalk people refer to objects as sentient beings that act in both the spiritual and physical planes. This research also considers the methods of engagement deployed by Nuxalk people, particularly in the manner that traditional knowledge and formal analysis have been syncretically combined in developing connoisseurial techniques utilized in attributing objects to families and individual makers. Applying Bourdieu’s observation that connoisseurial and attributional skills derive from familiarity and what he terms “artistic competence” with objects through exposure (Bourdieu and Johnson 1993, 228), the recent influx of information and images of objects available to Nuxalk members brings into focus the processes that are underway in the community of Bella Coola.    Outcomes of Research  My inquiries into contemporary Nuxalk relationships with ancestral objects and historic carpenters have yielded the following findings: 1) Nuxalk carpenters and community members build and mobilize relationships to ancestral carpenters and iconic objects as cultural and symbolic capital, 2) Nuxalk carpenters have indigenized aspects of formal art analysis in their engagements with objects and images of objects while developing connoisseurial skills, drawing   7 coequally from traditional ways of knowing and formalism and 3) the carpenter’s mark, a single transverse palmar crease on the hands of some descendants of Snuxyaltwa (LS), serves as a physical connection between historic and contemporary carpenters and is a vehicle for continuity and symbolic capital in the cultural resurgence underway in the Nuxalk Nation. My research presents a framework for how members of the Nuxalk community may be connecting with objects and heritage and represents an alternative to the presumed dichotomy of traditional knowledge and formalism in Northwest Coast art studies. This ethnography also appears to be the first to discuss in-depth the Nuxalk association of palmar creases with supernatural events, ancestors, and carving abilities, highlighting the dynamic nature of cultural resurgence movements in Indigenous communities.  Fieldwork, Methodologies and Positionality  My fieldwork in Bella Coola was carried out in two parts, composed of an earlier initial visit to obtain permissions for research and a longer, subsequent visit to witness a potlatch ceremony and conduct interviews. Prior to my primary fieldwork taking place, I was asked to travel to Bella Coola by the Nuxalk Ancestral Governance Office to explain my proposed study to the Staltmc11 descended from Snuxyaltwa (LS) and ask their blessing as a prerequisite of obtaining a statement of community support. I visited Bella Coola for a weekend trip from June 22nd to June 25th, 2018, attending a totem pole raising and requesting permission from a total of six Staltmc, three of whom are participants in this ethnography, at the conclusion of which I received a letter of support from the Nuxalk Nation. Alklasis (PS), the carpenter with whom I had been discussing potential research topics, volunteered to be my host while I was in Bella Coola and introduced me to the Staltmc with whom I needed to speak.  The methodology I utilized for my research was participant observation and interviews conducted over an eight-day period, October 8th – October 15th, 2018, which began by attending a two-day memorial potlatch hosted by the House of Snuxyaltwa. Alklasis (PS) continued to be my host while I was conducting primary fieldwork, allowing me to stay in his home and introducing me to other descendants of Snuxyaltwa (LS). Interviews were primarily conducted in participants’ homes and carving studios, with two interviews taking place at Acwsalcta, a Nuxalk                                                11 Staltmc is a Nuxalk term that can be glossed in English as “Ancestral Leader” and refers to the multiple chieftainships that stand for various families and regional lineages in Nuxalk culture.    8 Nation-run school (preschool through 12th grade) that focuses on learning though cultural activities. During my time in Bella Coola, I was also allowed to closely inspect several treasure boxes that held masks, whistles, and rattles carved by Suuncwmay (DS) and possibly Snuxyaltwa (LS). These objects were often catalysts for the discussions that emerged through interviews.  The Snow family has been especially supportive of this research, particularly 7ANISPUXALS (Jeffrey Snow) and Alklasis (PS), both of whom being tremendously helpful and instrumental in my work. I learned on the initial visit to Bella Coola that Alklasis (PS) owns and has studied the book that I had contributed to, Carvings and Commerce: Model Totem Poles 1880-2010 (Hall and Glascock 2011), that focuses on miniature totem poles and attribution. Wiiqa7ay (Lyle Mack) also informed me that Carvings and Commerce had been used as part of the history curriculum at the Freda Diesing School of Northwest Coast Art when he attended there. As this volume features the work of both Suuncwmay (DS) and Willie Mack II (WMII) and relied extensively on attribution, I must acknowledge that my ideas regarding attribution may have affected some of the processes I documented in Bella Coola and that I am part of the art nexus that this ethnography considers.  A Note on Nuxalk Naming Complexities  The Nuxalk profiled in this thesis are all closely related to one another and share the same three or four surnames, so it was impossible to use the standard academic format of full name [first mention] and surname [subsequent mentions]. There are multiple individuals who share the same English given name and surname, and even the same Nuxalk names (which pass through lineages as intangible property). This situation created a significant obstacle in standardizing a format to differentiate individuals from one another, but I settled on the structure Nuxalk Name (English Name Initials) as being the clearest and least cumbersome way to accomplish this. The first time an individual is mentioned in the text their full English name will follow their Nuxalk name in parenthesis as follows: Nuxalk Name (Full English Name). Individuals who do not have a known Nuxalk name are referred to by their full English names, and individuals who share full English names are differentiated by Roman numerals, with (I) being the oldest and successive numbers assigned to younger generations. Non-Nuxalk individuals will follow a standard academic naming format. Although only one name has been given for each individual Nuxalk   9 person in this ethnography, Nuxalk people accumulate many names in their lifetime and may switch between names at different points throughout their life or situationally, particularly during ceremonies. A Nuxalk name key is included on page ix.  Thesis Structure and Flow   This thesis is divided into a preface, introduction, three chapters, a conclusion, and an appendix. Chapter 1 introduces a brief ethnographic history of the Nuxalk people and the shared lineage of the Snow and Mack families through Snuxyaltwa (LS). This history connects several devastating epidemics, the consolidation of the four principal regions of Nuxalk Territory at the present site of Bella Coola, and the emergence of the Snuxyaltwa (LS) line of carpenters as the most prominent Nuxalk carpenter lineage of the 20th century.  Chapter 2 presents a schema for how Nuxalk carpenters are engaging with objects and ancestral heritage in developing connoisseurial skills, which proposes an alternative to and critiques the debate in Northwest Coast art studies between form and context emphases. This chapter also highlights the diverse interactions of Nuxalk members with their material heritage through three case studies and introduces ontological aspects of supernatural encounters in object-based engagements that defy formalist methodological categories.   Chapter 3 explores the prevalence of the “carpenter’s mark,” a rare genetic anomaly associated in Nuxalk oral history with carving skill, in the lineage of Snuxyaltwa (LS). The marks are said by descendants to be the result of a supernatural encounter between an ancestor yet in the womb and Yulatimut, the eldest of the Four Carpenter beings, the Masmasalaniixw. The conclusion reiterates the key points and frameworks of my research and presents the current status of arts within Bella Coola, following-up on some of the objects and programs discussed within the body of the ethnography. Appended to this thesis are a list of the interviews conducted in the course of this research.            10 Chapter 1: Giving Credit to the Ancestors  “You start learning your culture, your past, through your ancestors. Nobody can say that I did it physically, but spiritually, that mask has been around for thousands of years. I give the credit now to our ancestors, which includes Louie Snow, which includes Willie Mack [WMI], and Sampson Mack, and my dad, Willie Mack [WMII], it includes all of them.” – Qwaxqwaxmn (AM), 10/09/2018    Figure 2: The traditional territories of the Nuxalk. Map courtesy of Nuxalk Ancestral Governance Office.  The Nuxalk Nation: Four Paths, One People   The Nuxalk (formerly called the Bella Coola Indians) are a First Nation that occupy the Bella Coola Valley on the central coast of the Canadian settler province of British Columbia and are speakers of a northern, isolated branch of the Salishan language family (McIlwraith 1948 [1992], 1; Nater 2000, 137-139). The contemporary Nuxalk Nation encompasses four closely related regional groups, sometimes referred to as “tribes” by Nuxalk elders, that coincide with   11 historic villages and house sites. The people from the four main territories are the 1) Nuxalkmc,12 2) Talyuumc, 3) Kw’alhnamc, and 4) Istamc and Suts’lhmc (Figure 1) (Kramer 2006, 25; Nuxalk Ancestral Governance Office). Following a series of devastating epidemics (and mounting pressure from Indian Agents) the four regional groups consolidated in the early 1920s under the leadership of Chief Putlhas (Pootlass) at Q’umk’uts’, the present day townsite of Bella Coola. Pre-contact population estimates range as high as several thousand people in all of Nuxalk territory (Duff 1965, 38-40), but only between 150-250 people survived to settle at Q’umk’uts’.  Despite most Nuxalk moving away from traditional village sites as permanent places of residence by 1920, house lineages continue to assert ownership of those lands and resources and descent from these regional groups plays a prominent role in Nuxalk identity. Today, the contemporary Nuxalk Nation has drawn together as a unified political and national identity, though some elders did express reservations to me in their interviews regarding total integration and the possibility of losing regional distinctiveness. Perhaps addressing these concerns, the revival of Nuxalk Staltmc and the restoration of ancestral chiefly prerogatives has been a primary focus of the Nuxalk Ancestral Governance Office in recent years (Leischner 2018).  Like other Salishan-speaking peoples, membership in a house group or family is the central feature of Nuxalk kinship and ceremonial life, what Bruce Granville Miller calls a “corporate group” (Miller and Stapp 2016, 28). Corporate house group membership is based on common descent (or adoption) and has “...corporate functions, including, in many cases, those affecting fishing, ritual life, [and] regular small-scale reciprocity (such as babysitting, care of elders, borrowing cash, the lending of cars)” (Miller and Stapp 2016, 28). Distinct from their northern neighbors such as the Haisla, Wetʼsuwetʼen, and Gitxsan who have discrete, exogamous and matrilineal clan systems, the Nuxalk follow bilateral descent with a patrilineal emphasis on the transference of chieftainships (Kennedy and Bouchard 1990, 224). Together with the population bottleneck from a century earlier, this open kinship structure means that today most Nuxalk are related to one another and have considerable movement possible between corporate house groups. It is through this web of relationships that this ethnography focuses primarily on two artistic lineages, the Snow and Mack families. Though the Nuxalk interviewed in this                                                12 “Nuxalkmc” will be used in this thesis to specifically refer to the historic, regional, Lower Bella Coola Valley Nuxalkmc people. “Nuxalk” will be used as a general name for contemporary members of the Nuxalk Nation and their ancestors. Historic regional names and house lineages will be used where appropriate.    12 ethnography belong to different corporate house groups, all save for one13 descend directly from the 19th century carpenter Snuxyaltwa (LS) either through adoption or birth.   Figure 3: The relationships of the participants in this study to Snuxyaltwa (LS) and each other. This family tree is not comprehensive and is only intended to highlight the relationships between participants and the frequency of the carpenter’s mark.   Smallpox, the Sun Mask, and Snuxyaltwa (LS)  “Louie Snow survived smallpox, he lived right through it. Dick was born after smallpox, so it shows resilience that the carving is still here, even through all of the hardships of smallpox and the potlatch ban. Dick carved through that. When the residential school was happening, we were brought here by the Indian agent from South Bentinck. [The Snows] were pretty much the last ones to move into Q’umk’uts’.” - Alklasis (PS), 10/13/2018  A series of epidemics throughout the 19th century wrought devastating effects on Nuxalk people, disrupting many aspects of daily life including the creation of ceremonial art objects (Seip 2000, 9-10). While there may never have been a large number of Nuxalk carpenters, only Snuxyaltwa (LS) from Talyuumc, King George from Suts’lhmc, and Nuxalkmc carpenters Isyuyut (Captain “Blind” Bob) and Willie Mack I (WMI)14 have been firmly identified from this                                                13 Snxakila (Clyde Tallio) is closely related to the Snuxyaltwa through Talyu, but he is not a direct descendant of Snuxyaltwa (LS).  14 Willie Mack I (WMI) was identified as a carpenter and contemporary of Snuxyaltwa (LS) by Qwaxqwaxmn (AM).   13 period (Stott 1975, 42). Of these four carpenters, Snuxyaltwa (LS) has perhaps the most objects attributed to his hand with any degree of certainty by his descendants.15 The most well-known object attributed to Snuxyaltwa (LS) is an iconic mask that features the Sun and Four Carpenters, collected by Tlingit ethnologist George Hunt in 1897 during the Jesup expedition for anthropologist Franz Boas and the American Museum of Natural History (AMNH) (Jonaitis 1988a).    Figure 4: The iconic Nuxalk Sun mask in the collection of the AMNH. Since its collection in 1897 this mask has been reinterpreted to become the symbol of the Nuxalk Nation and a focus of carpenters researching Snuxyaltwa’s (LS) carving style. AMNH object number 16/1507. Photo courtesy of Jennifer Kramer.   After being selected as the centerpiece in the promotion of the Vancouver Art Gallery’s popular exhibition Down from the Shimming Sky: Masks of the Northwest Coast (1998), the Sun mask easily became the most widely recognized and celebrated Nuxalk object (Kramer 2006, 97). Although the Sun mask was prominently highlighted a decade earlier on the cover of the                                                15 During interviews, several Nuxalk identified historic carpenters by name, but were unsure what objects might be associated with those makers, save for Snuxyaltwa (LS) and Suuncwmay (DS). This situation is not unlike the one described by Stott in her fieldwork (1975, 41-42).    14 book From the Land of the Totem Poles: The Northwest Coast Indian Art Collection at the American Museum of Natural History (1988a) by Aldona Jonaitis, this publication did not have the draw, splendour, or scale of massive banners and bus signs showing the non-Indigenous world the beauty of Nuxalk art. Kramer identifies the heavy exposure the Sun mask received in Down from the Shimmering Sky as one of the events that coalesced the Nuxalk people around the Sun mask as a symbol for their Nation and points to the assertion of control over the Sun mask imagery as a form of “figurative repatriation” (Kramer 2006, 100). Today, the mask is still used to represent the Nuxalk Nation and has been reinterpreted from an individual house Smayusta to an emblem that belongs to all Nuxalk people. It has become iconic.  “Alhkw'ntam 16 is in the middle, and the Masmasalaniixw, so it talks about how Alhkw'ntam created those beings. We have all these different territories, and why we chose that [mask], why the elders chose that [mask], because of the different territories that we all come from. We use this mask as a symbol of our nation coming together as one, becoming one, and we use it now as our Nuxalk header because of all the different territories in the Nuxalk Nation. We had to move together as one, so now we work as one, we move forward as one, and we have to move together as one for the betterment of our community.” – Nunanta (IS), 10/11/18  Both Nunanta (IS) and Nuximlayc (Noel Pootlass) described to me the contemporary reinterpretation of the Sun mask, re-envisioning the faces of the Four Carpenters as representing the people of the four regions of 1) Nuxalkmc, 2) Talyuumc, 3) Kw’alhnamc, and 4) Istamc and Suts’lhmc. The circular shape of the mask and its humanoid face have also been reframed to signify the unity of the Nuxalk people. Appearing on the Nuxalk Nation flag, official letterhead, banners, and as a logo for a variety of businesses and institutions in and around Bella Coola, the Sun mask is ubiquitous within Nuxalk identity and culture (Kramer 2006, 98). It’s no surprise, then, that ownership of the mask is contested among Nuxalk members, with individuals from two different house groups asserting the original (pre-collection) claim to the mask and its Smayusta in the course of my fieldwork. Kramer describes a very similar situation with a historic Echo mask that had left the community but was later returned, igniting an intense conflict between families over legitimate ownership of the mask (2004; 2006). The physical repatriation of the Echo mask exposed underlying anxieties stemming from the return of an object without clear                                                16 Kramer identifies the being in the center as the Sun, “Snx” (2006, 97), and while interviewees identified the image as Sun in English, it was interpreted by Nunanta (IS) and Nuximlayc (NP) as a manifestation of Alhkw'ntam when explaining the significance for all Nuxalk people.    15 ownership to an originating community. In response, Kramer asserts that “figurative repatriation” and museum display can sometimes be an effective strategy for Indigenous people to regain some control of disputed objects while mitigating conflicts over ownership and possession (2006, 100).    “The Sun mask, the famous Sun design with the Four Carpenters, belonged to Putlhas in 1870. He had it made after the smallpox epidemic because the smallpox wiped us out and took us down to 150 people. When that genocide happened, Putlhas invited them all to Q’umk’uts’, and each face represented a group. One face represented [Q’umk’uts’], another one represented South Bentinck, the other one represented Kwatna, and then Kimsquit. That’s what the four faces represent. It also represented the Four Carpenters and the story of creation.”  – Nuximlayc (NP), 10/10/2018   As with the Echo mask, it is likely that several lineages would have legitimate claim to the Sun mask due to population reductions and the tangled interrelationships of Nuxalk house groups. My research indicates that even in a “figurative repatriation” such as the Sun mask, tensions can still arise if individuals stake too strong of a symbolic claim on a disputed or particularly prestigious object without community consensus. When asked about any potential future plans to repatriate the Sun mask back to Bella Coola, Nunanta (IS) stated that the Nuxalk Nation will be looking at short-term returns of items such as the Sun mask to be viewed and studied by the community at the big house cultural center that is currently under construction. By choosing to not pursue a physical, permanent repatriation in the short-term, the Ancestral Governance Office has likely avoided a lengthy and expensive battle, circumventing many of the tensions that could arise from a more permanent repatriation request.  The attribution of the Sun mask to Snuxyaltwa (LS) is either relatively recent or was not known outside of a few members of the Nuxalk community until the last decade or so. Publications by Holm (1983), Jonaitis (1988a, 1988b), and Macnair, Joseph, and Grenville (1998) all list the Sun mask as ‘maker unknown’ in illustrations and object appendices. Kramer (2006) also doesn’t mention a maker in her analysis of the “figurative repatriation” and reinterpretation of the Sun mask. Snxakila (Clyde Tallio) has stated that the identities of makers were historically “a Kusyut secret” and may not have been known by the general Nuxalk   16 population unless it was necessary.17 From the interviews and discussions that occurred during my fieldwork, it appears the contemporary attribution of the Sun mask to Snuxyaltwa (LS) is generally accepted by Nuxalk community members. What differs widely between individuals is the significance that is placed on the attribution of the Sun mask and other objects. Attribution as a practice stems from western art notions that often focus on individual artists and the manufacturing of an object rather than its community or cultural usage, seemingly standing in contrast to the Nuxalk view that emphasis should be placed on the Smayusta, ownership, and purpose of the object in a ceremonial context.18 For Alklasis (PS), the Sun mask is the basis from which other attributions to Snuxyaltwa (LS) can be made and informs his identity as a Nuxalk person and especially as a carpenter. The attribution also serves to tie other carpenters who are descendants of Snuxyaltwa (LS) to the Sun mask and each other including members of the Snow, Mack, Schooner, and Pootlass families.   The large number of carpenters descending from Snuxyaltwa (LS) and featured in this ethnography19 are a legacy of the epidemics and population decimation experienced by the Nuxalk people in the last century and a half and has significant implications for the production of art and ceremonial objects within Bella Coola, both historically and today. Foremost, the prominence and number of Snuxyaltwa’s (LS) descendants working as carpenters may have contributed to a canonization of Nuxalk style in the late 19th century and a valorization of his lineage’s work by collectors working for museums. Secondly, Snuxyaltwa (LS) is believed by his descendants to have had a “carpenter’s mark” on at least one hand, a rare genetic trait that has been passed down to several of his descendants. Within Nuxalk oral tradition, these single-crease marks across the hand are the result of prenatal contact between the carpenter and Yulatimut, the eldest of the Four Carpenter beings. These marks often signal preternatural carving abilities, a source of considerable symbolic capital for those who bare the mark as physical manifestations of their connections to Snuxyaltwa (LS) and the Masmasalaniixw.20                                                 17 Stott (1975) did not analyze this Sun mask in her study and was unsuccessful in coaxing Nuxalk elders into attributing other objects to specific makers during her fieldwork, although it is unclear if the elders did not know or were simply not sharing that information. Snxakila’s (CT) assertion leaves either possibility open.  18 This tension is further discussed in Chapter 2.  19 Only a fraction of the descendants of Snuxyaltwa (LS) who are carpenters are mentioned in this thesis due to space and time constraints.  20 This phenomenon is discussed in detail in Chapter 3.   17 Snuxyaltwa (LS) is known today as “the carver of chiefs” (Nuxalk Nation website) and is renowned for his abilities, particularly mask making (Stott 1975, 41). This esteem for Snuxyaltwa’s (LS) craftsmanship continues in the present, primarily in the form of carpenters admiring and studying digital images of treasures likely by his hand that have been reintroduced to the community via the internet and the Nuxalk Ancestral Governance Office. Although often referred to by art historians and anthropologists as ‘typical Bella Coola [sic] style’ (Holm 1972, 80), objects identified as being Snuxyaltwa’s (LS) work originate from Talyuumc and differ significantly from objects by Nuxalk artists from other regions.  Snuxyaltwa’s (LS) Talyuumc style of carving was preserved and carried well into the mid-20th century by his son Suuncwmay (DS), a master carver in his own right who made objects for ceremonial use as well as the art market. Other carpenters emerged in this period as well, notably Willie Mack II (WMII), a Nuxalk and Kwakwaka’wakw carpenter renowned for his precise model totem poles and intricate leather design work. Willie Mack II (WMII) married Nuskimnalh (Betty Mack), a granddaughter of Snuxyaltwa (LS), and his descendants are among the most prominent Nuxalk carpenters working today, both in their community and the contemporary Northwest Coast art market.   The Sleeping Period: Suuncwmay (DS) and Willie Mack II (WMII)  “That art also extends all through our history, to tell that fine story. That’s what keeps our art alive today. They said it died out, but I call it a sleeping period. It never died, it was just hidden. That’s why I give Louie Snow the credit, Willie Mack [WMI] the credit, Dick Snow, and my dad, Willie Mack [WMII]. I give them the credit, my grandfather, and also Charles Snow, and Orden Mack, for keeping that little piece of art we have left” – Qwaxqwaxmn (AM), 10/09/2018  Academic portrayals of the first half of the 20th century as a time of artistic decline on the Northwest Coast have been thoroughly critiqued in recent years (Glass 2013; Moore 2018) and shown to be patently false as multiple skilled and prolific makers emerged and worked during this period (Nuytten 1982; Jacknis 2002; Hawker 2003; Hall and Glascock 2011). What is true of this era is that unlike previous generations of carpenters, Suuncwmay (DS) and Willie Mack II (WMII) navigated an art market economy that compelled them to produce objects for sale to outsiders as frequently (if not more so) as material for community use. In many ways, these carpenters were and continue to be linkages between 19th century carpenters who primarily   18 created objects for ceremonial purposes and contemporary makers today who are heavily invested in the art market.  Suuncwmay (DS) (1889-1966)  “As far as I know Dick’s style was always from the Talyuumc area, and his style was from Snuxyaltwa [LS], so he maintained that.” – 7ANISPUXALS (JS), 10/11/2018   Figure 5: Thunder Being figurine carved by Suuncwmay (DS), 1962. Thunder Being figurines and model totem poles are among the objects that Suuncwmay (DS) made for sale. Photo by Author.  Suuncwmay (DS) was born in the village of Talyu in 1889 (Smith 2011, 212), the area currently known as South Bentinck, British Columbia, into the House of Snuxyaltwa. Likely learning his craft from his father, Suuncwmay (DS) would eventually become one of the most skilled and prolific Nuxalk carpenters of the 20th century. While he and other carpenters from this period may not be well-known outside of Bella Coola and some art collecting circles,21 their work is highly valued by their descendants as both family treasures and objects of display. A number of objects made by Suuncwmay (DS) for ceremonial functions remain in Nuxalk possession in Bella Coola, notably the House of Snuxyaltwa masks discussed in the introduction and several treasures belonging to 7ANISPUXALS (JS), a grandson of Suuncwmay (DS) and a Nuxalk Staltmc. Other known treasures by Suuncwmay (DS) in circulation in Bella Coola at the                                                21 Thunder Being figurines and model totem poles by Suuncwmay (DS) and Willie Mack II (WMII) are highly sought after and prized by collectors of Northwest Coast tourist art. See Smith (2011) and Hall and Glascock (2011) for more details.    19 time of this writing include two Raven frontlets, a grouse rattle, and approximately a dozen secret society whistles. In contrast to the treasures attributed to Snuxyaltwa (LS), the pieces that are associated with Suuncwmay (DS) have the benefit of living individuals who can attest to the authorship of the objects in their treasure boxes because they either remember the object being made or were told firsthand by the maker. Most of the masks and whistles in the treasure box of 7ANISPUXALS (JS) are actually signed and dated by Suuncwmay (DS) using his English name, Dick Snow, in a script that matches his signature on the Thunder Being figurines and model totem poles that he created for the tourist market. Signatures are unusual on older objects and help in making Suuncwmay’s (DS) carving and painting style knowable in ways that are impossible for the majority of historic carpenters. The number of Suuncwmay’s (DS) creations that have remained within Bella Coola, combined with confirmed signatures and elders remembering his art-making process, has meant that he has become a central focus of his descendants who are interested in studying and attributing objects to makers in museums and other collections.    “Dick would teach me about mixing those paints, he had certain disks that he mixed them in and he would have a piece in the middle where he would be stirring. He had several of these disks that he made all of the different paints in; for black he had a certain disk, for red he had a certain disk, and for any other colours he had all different disks that he used to mix those paints in.”  – 7ANISPUXALS (JS), 10/11/2018   One of the key features of Suuncwmay’s (DS) production that has been focused on by his descendants is the use of “Indian paint,” hand-made paints created by mixing minerals and pigments collected from the surrounding valley and prepared by pulverizing the ingredients and creating a slurry with chewed salmon eggs. So central to Suuncwmay’s (DS) practice were these paints that the installation that features his work at the Museum of Anthropology (MOA) at the University of British Columbia (UBC) has a large, single label that reads “He didn’t use white man’s paint. He used ground stone for his colours and spring salmon eggs as a binding. This paint didn’t come off. – Nuxalk Elder, Hazel Hans, who was raised by Dick Snow” (MOA label, Multiversity Galleries, Case 12). Q’umukwa (Marshall Hans) echoed his mother in recalling Suuncwmay’s (DS) usage of natural paints, stating “I used to go with my grandfather, Dick Snow, to get the stones for the colour for paint, and he mixed it with fish eggs, oil, he busted   20 them and mixed it in. He used to bust one big one, he used dog salmon fish eggs,” and “...he had a bowl and would grind it down to the colour he wanted. He used mostly black, yellow, and white because those are easy colours to mix on the rocks.” Q’umukwa (MH) emphasized the importance of the paint colours in representing the four regional groups, tying specific colours to the distinct regions and families, although he couldn’t recall all of the combinations and their meanings.   “Dick would have a round bowl like this [gestures about three inches with fingers] and he’d have a rock to grind it. I looked for it, but to this day I can’t find it. He was particular about his colours, and like I said, the colours represent Kimsquit, Kwatna, and South Bentinck. But mostly, the main colours are red, black, white, and green. You can see them in different cultures. That’s the story behind the paint, that’s what counts, the story behind the paint.”  –  Q’umukwa (MH), 10/13/2018  Although some of the treasures that Suuncwmay (DS) created do feature commercial polychrome paints, it is the consensus of his descendants that those objects were probably repainted due to wear and use, most likely by Suuncwmay’s (DS) brother, Q’umukwa (Timothy Snow). Alklasis (PS) has been especially anxious to reconstruct Suuncwmay’s (DS) paint-making process to incorporate into his own work after identifying it as a central feature of his family’s style that he wants to reclaim. He has spent the last several years gathering stones and minerals from the mountains surrounding Bella Coola and experimenting with textures and bindings, successfully replicating several colours. Not coincidentally, pigments and colour are a central feature of contemporary Nuxalk identity, particularly “Nuxalk blue,” a specific shade of cobalt so ubiquitous that it has come to represent the Nuxalk Nation in much the same fashion as the Sun Mask (Kramer 2018, 163). Alklasis’ (PS) goal of returning pigment-based paints to Nuxalk usage (and claiming those paints as originating with his family) would be a significant source of both cultural and symbolic capital for him and his family, although he is also quick to point out that the revival of traditional paints would benefit all Nuxalk carpenters.     “My family has some of Dick’s masks, and at this last potlatch brought out some masks that Dick carved. The younger generation has taken over some of the dancing and did some Kusyut dancing for the family. These masks that we have on hand, they mean a lot to the family. I’m quite sure that everyone who has Dick Snow’s masks, it means a lot to their families as well. Whatever Dick Snow masks that are still in this community are probably going to stay here until those masks rot, until they can’t be used anymore.” – Alklasis (PS), 10/13/2018    21 The study of Suuncwmay’s (DS) objects is already leading to the return of Kusyut whistles in the potlatch, largely through the work of Alklasis (PS) and two of his students who are reproducing whistles based on those that were anonymously given to 7ANISPUXALS (JS). Examples such as the return of whistles in ceremony illustrate the cultural benefit of the kind of focused work that Alklasis (PS) espouses in his engagement with ancestral objects. The ability of carpenters and community members to engage with objects by Suuncwmay (DS), like those found in the treasure boxes of Yulm (DS), Nuximlayc (NP), and 7ANISPUXALS (JS), is a critical component of the discursive construction of continuity that emerges in the identities of Nuxalk carpenters (and their respective houses, as in the case of the “original” masks of Snuxyaltwa).  Willie Mack II (WMII) (1927-1974)   “There’s actually a chieftainship from dad’s great-grandfather in Fort Rupert. He has ties there, and there’s a chieftainship that came from there. When he was in St. Michael’s, in the residential school, that’s when he started carving. I’m not positive exactly who taught him, but that’s why his totem poles were a little different than the old Nuxalk style.”  –  Qwaxqwaxmn (AM), 10/09/2018   Willie Mack II (WMII) was a Nuxalkmc carpenter from Nusq'lst, the ancestral territory of the Mack family, known for his elegantly painted model totem poles and fine leatherwork. He was the grandson of Willie Mack I (WMI), a historic Nuxalkmc carpenter who was a contemporary of Snuxyaltwa (LS). Willie Mack II (WMII) had connections to the Kwakwa̱ka̱’wakw through his maternal grandmother who was raised by a chief at Fort Rupert, British Columbia, on Vancouver Island. Willie Mack II (WMII) later married Nuskimnalh (BM), a granddaughter of Snuxyaltwa (LS), tying his descendants to the Snow family carpenters of Talyuumc. Willie Mack’s II (WMII) sons, Kamalsuuncw (James Mack) and Qwaxqwaxmn (AM), are renowned carpenters and art teachers, known internationally for their craftsmanship and precision, as are his grandsons and other descendants, including Wiiqa7ay (LM). As a youth, Willie Mack II (WMII) attended St. Michael’s Indian Residential School in the Kwakwa̱ka̱’wakw village of Alert Bay, on Cormorant Island, between Vancouver Island and the British Columbia mainland.   “When my dad did totem poles, to make a few dollars, he used to get me to sand the totem poles, put on the designs, and paint the designs. That’s where I first experienced the carving. The fine   22 arts, that’s what he taught me. He also taught me the leatherwork that he used to do. He used to do wallets and handbags, stuff like that. Homemade, right from scratch. I used to do the lacing for him, it took a long time to do it, so I would do it for him.” – Kamalsuuncw (JM), 10/10/2018  According to his son Qwaxqwaxmn (AM), Willie Mack II (WMII) first began carving model totem poles while he was attending St. Michael’s Residential School, though Qwaxqwaxmn (AM) was unsure who had taught him. Based on Willie Mack’s II (WMII) birthdate in 1927 (Smith 2011, 212) and the painterly emphasis of his model poles, it is likely that Kwakwa̱ka̱’wakw artist Arthur Shaughnessy (1880-1946) (Smith 2011, 209), from Kingcome Inlet, would have taught Willie Mack II (WMII) during his time at residential school. Shaughnessy took over as art teacher at St. Michael’s in 1938 after Charlie James’ death, about the time that Willie Mack II (WMII) would have attended there (Jacknis 2002, 285). Willie Mack’s II (WMII) style of art was an amalgam of Nuxalk iconography (such as Thunder Beings and Haw Haw) and Kwakwa̱ka̱’wakw painting style with a preponderance of white, yellow, and green, featuring painted – rather than carved – design elements. In conversations with his descendants, it is the careful design work and painting that connects Willie Mack’s II (WMII) art to successive generations, a painstaking precision that compliments the formal training from art schools that all the living Macks profiled in this thesis have received.    “A couple of months ago there was a guy with one of my grandpa’s poles. I was like, ‘Wow, this is amazing.’ I started learning more about it. I started studying his work a lot more. The things that my dad taught me, about crisp lines, how to design properly? I started seeing it that way. I always acknowledge my dad as my teacher, but dad says ‘No, you’ve got to remember your grandfather.’ When you look at his work, it’s so clean for his time, those little poles. They’re amazingly painted and designed.” – Wiiqa7ay (LM), 10/10/2018   Willie Mack II (WMII) was not known to make ceremonial objects, although he did carve at least one monumental pole in Bella Coola and a pair of house posts for the House of Noomst, a youth cultural center built in the 1960s by the United Church (Kramer 2006, 72). It’s interesting to note how the current generation of Mack carpenters connect their formal, analytically constructed productions with Willie Mack’s II (WMII) art, not through form or appearance, but rather through process and quality. In 2014, Wiiqa7ay (LM) carved and raised a crest pole at Nusq'lst, and the influence and presence of Willie Mack II (WMII) was explicitly stated during the event, which was documented in an article by Coastal Mountain News.   23   “Hereditary Chief James Mack Sr. and Alvin Mack remember as youth watching their father Willie Mack carve in their living room. They started by helping him sand and paint and they eventually learned the art and technique themselves. Lyle Mack kept his grandfather in his mind as he worked on the pole and cited him as an inspiration and reflected that, ‘On almost every one of his poles he carved the grizzly with the copper.’ The grizzly bear is the family crest used by the Mack family.” – Hanuse, 2014: np   Kamalsuuncw (JM) recalled in his interview that his father would use templates to design his leatherwork, “He had templates for everything. He would just cut them out, put them together, right from scratch. They weren’t just a kit. They were homemade.” The Mack family carpenters profiled in this ethnography also utilize templates in the design and manufacture of their work and Willie Mack’s II (WMII) use of them is another way in which his art can be related to his descendant’s processes. These discourses are important in understanding how Nuxalk members themselves construct continuity within the art production of the 20th century, challenging prevailing notions that there was a break in the creation of good, meaningful art on the coast or that so-called “tourist art makers” are not important contributors to the emergence and maintenance of contemporary Northwest Coast fine art.  “When I went to that first year in 'Ksan, the second-year teacher came in wondering who did this work. I said ‘Oh, that came from my dad!’ because I always remembered what he taught me: finish your work properly. Put a fine finish on it, do the painting nicely. Dad would straighten my painting out, you know?” – Kamalsuuncw (JM), 10/10/2018  Nuxalk Carpenters Today   There are many contemporary Nuxalk carpenters descended from Snuxyaltwa (LS) and Willie Mack II (WMII) working today, both in and out of Nuxalk Territory, who could not be featured in this ethnography due to time and space constraints. There are several others who descend from lineages other than the Snow or Mack families and were thus outside the scope of this research, but who make objects both for community use and the art market and are active participants in the cultural resurgence in Bella Coola. This thesis is not intended to be exhaustive in scope, but instead to reveal methodologies and frameworks being deployed by two prominent families of carpenters within the Nuxalk community to connect with objects, ancestors, and heritage. The next chapter will consider what those methodologies look like and how Nuxalk people today are navigating the complexities of being confronted with images of long-absent   24 treasures and of presenting themselves to the art market. In doing so, I will also explore how Nuxalk members are mobilizing their culture and ancestors as cultural and symbolic capital to construct continuity and reengage with ancestral objects in meaningful and identity-affirming ways.  Staked claims to symbolic and cultural capital can take a number of forms, but patterns emerged in discussions of how different Nuxalk carpenters present themselves to their community and each other. Some carpenters emphasized 1) their skills or technical prowess, while others focused on 2) the speed with which they can create functional objects for ceremonial use, or 3) the amount of money for which they could sell their work, if they were so inclined. These assertions were not mutually exclusive. All carpenters interviewed referenced a) culture as a reified thing,22 b) their familiarity with “old pieces,” and c) their relationships to historic carpenters. Several of those interviewed also described supernatural contact in their work with objects, guided by entities or ancestors in revelatory encounters. Chapter 2 will explore how these claims are mobilized, and how carpenters and cultural specialists are developing connoisseurial skills and techniques that draw from academic formal traditions as well traditional ways of knowing (including insights gained from supernatural sources).                                                  22 Both Kramer (2006) and Glass (1999) discuss the prevalence of a reified, discursive culture in contemporary First Nations dialogues and frameworks.    25  Figure 6: Left: Wiiqa7ay (LM) leads a team of carpenters (including his brother Reuben Mack, cousin Chazz Mack, and son, Kyle Mack) working on the Yaki (Mountain Goat) totem pole. Right: The team of Mack family carpenters stand with Staltmc Lhkw’anaats (Conrad Clellamin) and the completed Yaki pole after it was raised in Stuwicmc territory. Photos by Author.    Figure 7: Acwsalcta entrance with sculptural panel depicting Sisyulh (supernatural sea being) in Bella Coola, British Columbia. Photo by author.     26 Chapter 2: Nuxalk Engagements with Formal Analysis in Art and Objects  “That’s where all the books came into play. That’s why today, I say to these young artists ‘you guys are so blessed, because you can just go on the computer and all these masks will come in front of you.’ I had to buy all these books to find this one mask in there, to study the art, but I didn’t really get going until I was able to understand and to hear the stories when I went to my grandmother.” – Qwaxqwaxmn (AM), 10/09/2018  The above quote from Qwaxqwaxmn (AM) highlights one of the central points of this thesis – the syncretic processes of Indigenous connoisseurship that blends the language and methods of formal analysis with cultural knowledge to engage with objects and ancestors. Images of ancestral objects have become ubiquitous in the last decade in the town of Bella Coola, British Columbia, covering the walls of offices and studios. Often printed on copy paper, the pages depict a myriad assortment of Nuxalk masks that are held in museums around the world. The pictures are part of a wave of information entering the community of Bella Coola by way of the internet, online databases such as the Reciprocal Research Network (RRN), and the ongoing efforts of the Nuxalk Ancestral Governance Office to document objects held in distant museums (Leischner 2018; Rowley 2013). The images are also indicative of a growing interest by Nuxalk people to utilize aspects of formal analysis in attribution and connecting with ancestral objects.   “They had their own schools where they were taught to be carvers, artists. I have grown so much with my art because of all these pictures... I think we’re starting to learn more about each mask. It fills that gap as we’re becoming more familiar.” – Wiiqa7ay (LM), 10/10/2018  This chapter examines the roles that those pictures of objects may play in developing connoisseurial skills and in the construction and maintenance of identity amongst Nuxalk carpenters and cultural specialists. Like the “carpenter’s mark” which is explored in Chapter 3, the images are vehicles for Nuxalk carpenters to connect with ancestral objects and ancestors in meaningful ways. It is almost taken as a given in Northwest Coast art literature that contemporary First Nations artists study old objects to emulate 19th century styles of production (Macnair, Hoover, and Neary 1984, 84-87; Jonaitis 1988a, 246-249; MacDonald 1996, 223-233; Brown 1998, 163), but the characterization that Indigenous artists are merely considering form in these processes is a gross oversimplification. This chapter will address this lacuna by critiquing existing assumptions regarding formalist approaches by Indigenous artists and community   27 members through three case studies drawn from my fieldwork in Bella Coola. The case studies presented here illuminate how formal analysis has been indigenized by Nuxalk carpenters and cultural specialists and deployed in what Bourdieu describes as “art perception,” or the understanding and cultural deciphering of art through exposure and familiarity in the development of connoisseurial skills (Bourdieu and Johnson 1993, 222).   Figure 8: Left: Images of Nuxalk masks printed and hung on the wall of Wiiqa7ay's (LM) classroom at the Acwsalcta school. Right: Note the presence of Northwest Coast Indian Art: An Analysis of Form (1965) by Bill Holm used by Wiiqa7ay (LM) in his classroom and the fomline box design in pencil. Assignment on board reads “Bill Holm painting (Ovoid & U form).” Photos by Author.  Formal Analysis and the Etic Gaze   The academic study of Northwest Coast art has long described ancestral objects through the culturally-distant lens of formalism (Boas 1955; Holm 1965; 1972; Holm and Reid 1975; Brown 1987; 1998). Much of that literature has emphasized non-Indigenous uses of formal analysis while simultaneously downplaying the extent to which Indigenous people may utilize an indigenized approach that draws from formal analysis techniques and language for their own purposes. Kathryn Bunn-Marcuse’s article Form First, Function Follows: The Use of Formal   28 Analysis in Northwest Coast Art History (2013) provides an excellent overview of the history of formal analysis in Northwest Coast studies through which my critique of some of these discourses can take shape.  In her article, Bunn-Marcuse makes the point that while academic formal analysis considers form over context, the method can be used in service to Indigenous communities for a variety of social concerns including repatriation and land claims (2013, 412). She then goes on to state “Many Native (and non-Native) art-training programs use [Bill] Holm’s Northwest Coast Indian Art (1965). There is no doubt that contemporary [Native] artists have adopted Holm’s vocabulary” (2013, 412) and “it is not surprising that some of the best practitioners of formal analysis on the Northwest Coast are not academics but Native artists” (2013, 413). What Bunn-Marcuse stops short of considering in these observations are the ways that formal analysis has been incorporated epistemologically in conjunction with traditional knowledge (context) and other ontological sources of information (e.g. supernatural or spiritual interventions, visions). Beyond merely gleaning design elements for art creation, these close examinations of objects entangle in processes of identity and cultural construction. That is to say, Indigenous people have been reading the same texts as non-Indigenous scholars on Northwest Coast art for at least the last fifty years (Glass 1999; Kramer 2015). In doing so, they have appropriated aspects of formal analysis as tools in their methodologies for engaging with objects made by their ancestors23 and in reintegrating long-absent objects held by museums into their cultural spheres of reference. Through this process, Indigenous artists situate themselves and their productions in relation to ancestral objects and makers.  Bunn-Marcuse privileges formal analysis as being “key to an initial examination of an artwork” (2013, 413), which echoes Bill Holm’s statement that “any real understanding of Northwest Coast Indian art is to a large degree dependent upon an understanding of the decorative two-dimensional art of the northern coastal tribes” (Duff, Holm, and Reid 1967, np). These assertions that the formal reading of an object supersedes any traditional knowledge or context unnecessarily frames formal methods in opposition to Indigenous epistemologies, consequently discounting syncretic approaches that may emerge from Indigenous scholars’ experiences (Leischner 2018; Wilson et al. 2012).                                                  23 Including those made for sale, such as Willie Mack’s II (WMII) model totem poles and Suuncwmay’s (DS) Thunder Being figurines.   29 What is most troubling about the proposition of formal stylistic analysis preceding cultural considerations is that it privileges non-Indigenous valuations of objects that do not necessarily require any Indigenous participation. This structuring of formal analysis has become a vehicle for non-Indigenous appropriation, a critique that has rightly been leveled by Indigenous scholars against decontextualized stylistic analysis. Haida scholar Jisgang Nika Collison has noted how the mobilization of terms such as “Northern Style” in art history texts have created an environment where the distinctive art styles of First Nations can be appropriated while appearing divorced from issues of ownership or intellectual property (2006, 63-65).   “I see masks from my treasure box being made by non-Indigenous people who have no right. You know those masks that they say are the ‘North Wind?’ That doesn’t exist. It’s Nunusyalmlh, the Singer of the House of Heavens. They’re changing the stories. There’s a Salish carver from down by Seattle on Facebook who makes masks from my treasure box and I sent him a message and asked him to stop. I asked him how he had the right? He didn’t answer me, because he was shamed. He knows he has nothing to stand on.” – Alklasis (PS), 05/17/2019  As expressed by the above quote from Alklasis (PS), there is considerable anxiety in the Nuxalk community regarding this very issue, particularly how the term “Bella Coola Style” in the art market has led to a number of First Nations (non-Nuxalk) and non-First Nations artists creating Nuxalk-inspired objects to which they have no ancestral rights. Kramer also documented anxieties related to the appropriation of Nuxalk style of art and imagery during her fieldwork (2006, 110-112). The separation of formal analysis from context in practice can also create presumed, discrete realms of engagement of non-Indigenous and Indigenous peoples working with ancestral objects. Rarely do these texts focused on form speak to the ways that Indigenous people engage with objects outside of art production, or question how the experiences of Indigenous people interacting with ancestral treasures from their own cultures may differ from that of non-Indigenous people inspecting objects to satisfy academic curiosity.24 Alklasis (PS) and Nuximlayc (NP) described to me the potential danger one puts themselves into when handling or working with treasures, with Alklasis (PS) noting on the Kusyut practice of tying Haw Haw beaks shut for protection, “We tie them shut because they are alive with the                                                24 The Indigenous Repatriation Handbook (2019), prepared collaboratively by the Royal BC Museum and the Haida Gwaii Museum at Kay Llnagaay, notes that emotional responses or need for ceremony are important considerations for Indigenous people when preparing to view and research ancestral objects or ancestral remains held in museums. The handbook goes on to advise that strategies for emotional support or performing ceremony must be a part of any repatriation plan (Collison, Bell, and Neel 2019, 23-25).   30 spirit, and they could bite you even when not in ceremony. They have to be tied shut and the masks covered up with a blanket, so they can sleep while not in use.”25 These concerns highlight just one of the fundamental differences between Indigenous and non-Indigenous experiences with objects and is an example of cultural knowledge preceding and informing the way that the object is approached first.  Perhaps the greatest divide between non-Indigenous scholars’ ideas on formal analyses and those methods deployed by Indigenous community members is the reluctance of the former to move beyond strictly stylistic analysis, and delve into questions of meaning, ownership, and usage (Townsend-Gault 2000, 209). As Bunn-Marcuse notes, “Scholars trained in Holmian analysis often steer clear of interpretation and symbolism” (2013, 411), but these two avenues of inquiry are often what Indigenous people are most interested in and are foundational for collaborative work with communities (Kramer 2015; Glass 2014). It is useful here to quote Nuu-Chah-Nulth scholar Ḳi-ḳe-in, who has observed that non-Indigenous art historians “have helped to create a new setting, where much of the richness and many of the complex meanings faded away, the superficial details are stressed, and decoration seems to be the focus” (Ḳi-ḳe-in 2013, 686).  Lisa P. Seip has rightly noted that the objects referenced in Northwest Coast art studies as archetypally Nuxalk have largely been drawn from Sisawk society prerogatives, and that “when people talk about what they consider Bella Coola style they are often referring to the style expressed in the masks and head ornaments used for public display of clan26 identification at potlatches” (2003, 209). Indeed, Holm has commented on “typical Bella Coola” features (1972, 80), even coining the term “Bella Coola bulge” (1983, 41) to describe the sculptural volumes he considers an essential aspect of Nuxalk production, although this feature is predominately found                                                25 Supernatural experiences and safeguards are further discussed at the end of this chapter and in Chapter 3. Another example of the spiritual status of objects dictating certain protocols prior to any other engagement was an Alaska Native mask exhibit at Sealaska Heritage Institute in Juneau, Alaska, in 2017. Several of the masks featured had been taken from the graves of Tlingit medicine men in the 19th century but had since been repatriated. The decision to show them was controversial, so warning signs were placed on gallery entrances and near the cases to allow people sensitive to otherworldly forces to prepare themselves for – or avoid altogether – the masks in the gallery. In addition, protection bindings made of devil’s club (Oplopanax horridus) stalks were placed over doorways, in windows, and near the mounts of the cases.  26 Although Seip uses the term “clan,” as mentioned in Chapter 1, Nuxalk follow house lineages rather than clans. Nunanta (IS) has clarified that “Our head pieces show what family and territory we come from and the animal forms of our first ancestors when they came to earth... that's how we identify which house we come from, and also how we rank and seat ourselves in the big house.”   31 on Sisawk masks and is not common on Kusyut masks (which account for a significant portion of Nuxalk objects). It’s not clear if Holm was aware of the differences in style and production between objects intended for the Sisawk or the Kusyut (or even of the existence of the two societies and distinctive styles), but this merely reinforces Ḳi-ḳe-in’s point that formal analysis alone is insufficient in understanding objects and must be met with cultural knowledge and context. My intention in this critique is not to discount the usefulness of formal analysis as a tool, but rather to question the notion that stylistic analysis precedes other ways of understanding an object and to appeal for a more nuanced representation of how Indigenous people may deploy these methods in conjunction with traditional knowledge.  Indigenizing a Western Way of Knowing   “One thing that always stuck with me was that Dempsey Bob said to study the great pieces. Study your ancestors’ work, stuff that’s in the museums. I look at the guys today, that’s because they’re just learning from these old pieces. You’ve got to look at the great art. That’s when we were still strong, we weren’t affected by all the smallpox, the residential schools. That’s why most of these masks ended up in museums.” – Wiiqa7ay (LM), 10/10/2018  Bunn-Marcuse closes her article on formal analysis by proposing that “This generation of researchers must determine whether... a methodology based on formal analysis can address contemporary concerns among Native communities and academics on the Northwest Coast” (2013, 413). I believe that this thesis answers that challenge. While considering the place of formal analysis of objects in contemporary, collaborative anthropology practice I’m reminded of a quote from Marcus Banks regarding the status of ethnicity as a concept in anthropology, “Unfortunately, it is too late to kill it off or pronounce ethnicity dead; the discourse on ethnicity has escaped from the academy and into the field” (1996, 189). Similarly, formal analysis has ‘escaped to the field’ and become entwined with traditional knowledge in the methodologies that Indigenous people deploy in connecting with their heritage. During my fieldwork in Bella Coola, I found that there are a variety of situations in which Nuxalk people have embraced formal analysis, in one way or another, in their own engagements with objects. By examining three case studies drawn from my research, I will attempt to illustrate the diversity of experiences of Nuxalk people deploying formal analysis, and the extent to which formalism has been indigenized.    32 The first case study considers how Alklasis (PS) applies oral histories in conjunction with formal analyses to attribute objects to carpenters from his family. In his process of constructing continuity, he joins a growing number of Indigenous scholars who are questioning prevailing non-Indigenous narratives about Indigenous material culture (Sparrow 1998; Glass 2013). The next case study will examine the cultural work of Snxakila (CT), who collaborates extensively with museums and curators to identify Nuxalk objects held in collections. By documenting the objects in digital form, Snxakila (CT) enables digital returns of the objects and instigates contact between carpenters and ancestral treasures through digital photos. The final case study will consider Qwaxqwaxmn (AM) and Wiiqa7ay (LM), father and son carpenters from the Mack family who have mastered the production of Nuxalk art through study of ancestral Nuxalk treasures and formal art training in school. In addition to their insights on formal aspects of Nuxalk art, interviews with Qwaxqwaxmn (AM) and Wiiqa7ay (LM) reveal complex interactions between themselves and ancestral objects, involving supernatural transmissions of knowledge that supersede mere object-based study.  Case Study 1: Alklasis (PS): Claiming the Carpenters after Smallpox  “There’s distinctive ‘finger prints’ left behind by Dick that are apparent. I don’t know if it’s apparent to everyone, but it’s apparent to me and to people that study our work. Like the headdress we were speaking about earlier. I was thinking it was Louie at first, but the longer I looked at it, the more Dick started to come out. It started to look newer than it would have if it was one of Louie’s pieces. Dick had a really distinct way of carving his noses and putting details in the mouth. You can definitely tell Dick from his father when he started to mature a bit more in his carving.” – Alklasis (PS), 10/13/2018  Alklasis (PS) applies formal attribution methodologies in conjunction with his knowledge of family histories and Smayusta to identify objects created by his family. His goals in doing so are to reclaim what he has identified as the ancestral Snow family style, and to receive acknowledgment from the community for his family’s contributions to the material culture of the Nuxalk after the devastation of smallpox. Through his research, Alklasis (PS) wants to garner respect for himself and his family. Alklasis is a member of the House of Snuxyaltwa, and a direct descendant of Snuxyaltwa (LS). Snuxyaltwa (LS) is remembered by elders and culture bearers as a great Nuxalk carpenter, but his style does not appear to have been formally attributed to specific objects until Alklasis began his research. Although a carpenter, Alklasis’ (PS) core   33 interest in evaluating these objects is to identify makers, but not necessarily to see objects reproduced.  “My process of identifying masks is through “formline” and the “u-shapes.” How it was painted. Timothy created lots of Kusyut masks that weren’t painted much in his early days of carving, depending on what the mask represented. In Dick’s early days of his carving he would use crosshatching on a lot of his masks. Louie was something special, he painted a lot with blue, red and black.” – Alklasis (PS), 05/17/2019  Alklasis’ (PS) method of attribution utilizes hundreds of digital images of objects and historic villages provided to him by the Nuxalk Ancestral Governance Office. In the midst of describing his methodology for identifying objects, Alklasis (PS) recounted a story Nunanta (AS) had shared with him that she had played with the Sun mask27 as a child, and that the maker was his ancestor, Snuxyaltwa (LS). Using the Sun mask as a starting point, Alklasis (PS) identified other pieces that were made by Snuxyaltwa (LS) through analyzing materials and features, developing an oeuvre that could be used in further comparative inquiries. In walking me through his process, Alklasis described the roundness of masks, the powdery application of pigments, the orbing of the eyes, but he also talked about the Smayusta, the entity portrayed, and the family to which each object likely belongs. He spoke with familiarity and authority and described the design forms in the same technical terms coined by non-Indigenous researchers (Holm 1965; Brown 1998; Malin 1999; Bunn-Marcuse 2013, 412).  In discussing Alklasis’ (PS) analytic methods and findings, I was reminded of research by non-Indigenous art historian Steven C. Brown in identifying the hand of an old Tlingit master carver from Alaska (1987). Through comparative analysis, Brown was able to connect several previously unassociated objects to one another stylistically (1987, 168-170). Brown eventually attributed these objects to a Tlingit master carver named Ḵaajisdu.áx̱ch, the maker of the famous Whale House posts from Klukwan, Alaska (Enge 1993). Similarly, Alklasis’ (PS) work to attribute objects to Snuxyaltwa (LS) is grounded in the initial identification of an iconic object, the Sun mask, with a particular maker’s name that can serve as the stylistic basis of further attributions. It should be noted, however, that while Stott did record references to Snuxyaltwa                                                27 The same Sun mask from Chapter 1. This detail is a point of contention between Alklasis (PS) and some other cultural specialists in Bella Coola. While the attribution to Snuxyaltwa (LS) is generally accepted, Snxakila (CT) has pointed out the collection date of the Sun mask (1897) and Nunanta’s (AS) birthdate in the early 1920s as a reason that the mask referenced by Nunanta (AS) was a reproduction or later incarnation of the Sun mask in the AMNH.    34 being a great carpenter in oral histories, at the time of her research no specific objects were associated with him (1975, 40-41). It may seem strange today that an artist could be remembered for his fine skill, but not be linked with any pieces. At least in the context of Nuxalk tradition, carpenters were commissioned to create objects, but once they were paid at potlatch to “cut the wood for this feast” (Stott 1975, 40), they were no longer tied to the work. Instead, the creation was exclusively associated with the family that paid for the commission, and the object was generally only brought out at ceremony. It is for this reason that Alklasis (PS) has met with some resistance from other cultural specialists in Bella Coola, who fear that there is too great an emphasis on carpenters over purpose, and that this could lead to confusion between authorship and ownership of objects. But, as stated in Chapter 1, I did find that Snuxyaltwa (LS) is generally accepted as the carpenter who created the Sun mask. In this regard, Alklasis’s work has been successful, and stands as an example of a syncretic Indigenous deployment of traditional knowledge and formal analysis that is meaningful for him and his community.   Case Study 2: Snxakila (CT): Clearing the Path for my Name  “Carpenters were just the hands that made the objects. People didn’t know who made the masks, it was a Kusyut secret. That’s why they’re called ‘secret societies.’ Attributing masks to a single carpenter, singling out a name, isn’t how Nuxalk names work. You do things to make your name good, to clear the path for the next person that will have it.” – Snxakila (CT), 5/17/2019  Snxakila (CT) is a Nuxalk cultural leader from Bella Coola who is also a fluent speaker of the Nuxalk language, has taught at the Acwsalcta school, and often serves as speaker in ceremonies for the community. In many ways, Snxakila (CT) is the public face of the resurgence of Nuxalk culture, appearing in magazines (Noisecat 2018), radio interviews, and collaborating with institutions on exhibits in Canada and the United States (Kramer 2018). In his collaborative museum work, Snxakila (CT) frequently consults on aspects of Nuxalk culture in the display and representation of ancestral objects. Most recently, he has traveled to New York City to orchestrate the reinstallation of the Nuxalk portion of the AMNH Northwest Coast Hall.28 Together with elders and carpenters from the community, Snxakila (CT) has photographed hundreds of Nuxalk objects and digitally returned them to the community of Bella Coola                                                28 Snxakila’s (CT) plans for the AMNH Nuxalk reinstall will be further discussed in the conclusion.    35 (Leischner 2018). This process is what provides many of the images of objects to other Nuxalk researchers and carpenters, including Alklasis (PS) and members of the Mack family. Snxakila (CT) is also part of the team at the Nuxalk Ancestral Governance Office that is creating an Indigenous database of objects “By Nuxalk, for Nuxalk” which started with the Smithsonian Institution’s Recovering Voices program (Leischner 2018, 2-5).  Snxakila (CT) evaluates objects with the intent of identifying the crest being shown and returning that prerogative to the family that owns the Smayusta. Although he does not want to connect his process with a western concept like formalism, Snxakila (CT) deploys an analysis that is rooted in identifying objects from archives and photographs and applying cultural knowledge of family prerogatives. Considerations in determining origins of Nuxalk production involve a complex math of correlating the physical features of an object with Smayusta, stories from elders, feasting songs, and historic photographs that may show the object in situ. Kwakwaka’wakw scholar Daisy Sewid-Smith describes this process as interpreting and “reading symbols,” and notes that one must have a solid cultural grounding in traditional knowledge to accomplish this (2013, 15-25), not unlike Bourdieu’s concept of “artistic competence.” I propose that the methodology practiced by Snxakila (CT) is a connoisseurship that does not privilege form over symbol or meaning, but instead draws from all equally (and simultaneously) to identify ancestral objects in culturally significant ways.    “I will see where a group of raven masks were collected and take those masks to the family from that region and say, ‘this is what your raven masks look like’ and that family can work with a carpenter to recreate a mask in their family style to be brought out.” – Snxakila (CT), 05/17/2019  The methods and motivations of Snxakila (CT) markedly differ from those of Alklasis (PS), though both men work with many of the same images of objects and draw from largely the same sources. Unlike Alklasis (PS), Snxakila (CT) is unconcerned with identifying the individual hands of carpenters, and instead seeks to return prerogatives back to families to be brought out in ceremony. Snxakila (CT) has also expressed strong reservations that focusing too much on authorship of objects and not ownership will convolute the two and could cause confusion and strife within the community. Snxakila (CT) maintains that privileging the work of carpenters over the symbolism of the object is derived from outside influence, identifying the art market as the force driving carpenter prices higher and emphasizing individuals over community.   36 However, in lieu of physical repatriation it is still necessary to hire skilled carpenters to reproduce objects representing the prerogatives being returned.   Case Study 3: Qwaxqwaxmn (AM) and Wiiqa7ay (LM): The Purpose of the Art   “There are two types of artists: one artist that is there for himself, the other artist that understands his culture and the purpose of his culture, then does more of his work in the community. The other artist doesn’t understand his culture – he may – but he doesn’t have that spirit, a spiritual connection.” – Qwaxqwaxmn (AM), 10/09/2018   The Mack family are the most prominent Nuxalk carpenters in the contemporary First Nations art market, selling at major galleries in Vancouver and throughout the broader northwest region. The methodologies used by the Mack family in engaging with ancestral objects is the closest, in practice, to the formal analysis described by Bunn-Marcuse and others that I encountered in Bella Coola. During my fieldwork I was able to interview Nuxalk master carpenter Qwaxqwaxmn (AM) and his son, Wiiqa7ay (LM), and inquire about their artistic processes. Qwaxqwaxmn (AM) attended the Kitanmax School of Northwest Coast Art (also known as 'Ksan) in Hazelton, British Columbia, in the 1980s. He cites Gitxsan artist and teacher Vernon Stephens as a strong influence on his two-dimensional design. Qwaxqwaxmn’s (AM) son Wiiqa7ay (LM) also attended school for art training, the Freda Diesing School of Northwest Coast Art in Terrace, BC (which was founded by 'Ksan alumni Dempsey Bob, Stan Bevan, and Ken McNeil after the Kitanmax School closed). The methods taught at these schools emphasized formline from northern First Nations because all of the teachers either hailed from northern groups or were non-Indigenous and trained in “Northern Style” (Jonaitis and Glass 2010, 192-194). As a result of this influence on their work, members of the Mack family study old Nuxalk objects to glean forms and features to incorporate into their production.   “Why do I see images of carvings? Of course, the Creator is there. I saw a vision of this bracelet, a cuff that was carved out on the bottom, but there was another cuff on top of it. Rounded, but it was all cut out. You could see inside that. Of course, I sketched it out, and --- I didn’t do it. One day I was looking on the internet and BANG! The bracelet was done by somebody up north. And I said ‘Hey! Hey! That was my vision!’ and Creator said to me ‘If you don’t do what I’m showing you, I’m going to pass it on to somebody else.’” – Qwaxqwaxmn (AM), 10/09/2018   After receiving feedback from elders in Bella Coola, Qwaxqwaxmn (AM) began analyzing old Nuxalk objects in a self-conscious attempt to downplay the influence of northern-  37 style art in his designs. Wiiqa7ay (LM) credits his father and grandfather, Willie Mack II (WMII), with teaching him to absorb the high-quality standards he learned in school, and to apply those skills in creating pieces that present as Nuxalk to his community as well as the broader art market. In the studios of both Qwaxqwaxmn (AM) and Wiiqa7ay (LM) are images of ancestral objects taped to their walls, as well as chalkboards with formline designs being worked out before their application to objects. Qwaxqwaxmn (AM) taught at the Acwsalcta school (Hans et al. 2006, 99) when it first opened, and his son, Wiiqa7ay (LM) now teaches there. An important part of the curriculum is teaching two-dimensional and three-dimensional Nuxalk design work, and a primary text utilized is Bill Holm’s Northwest Coast Indian Art: An Analysis of Form (1965), though Wiiqa7ay (LM) also emphasized that Acwsalcta is a place for cultural teaching as well.  “You know, I teach a lot of history in here, not just the forms. I just take all the teaching I’ve had, and I incorporate it into our program. When I was here at Acwsalcta, I was actually working on language and art curriculum development... I always like to tell the story of a mask, and how I capture the attention of a lot of the students is I bring them back in time.”  – Wiiqa7ay (LM), 10/10/2018  Discussions that emerged from my interviews with Qwaxqwaxmn (AM) and Wiiqa7ay (LM) revealed significant ontological differences in the engagement with objects that set their experiences apart from the strictly aesthetic, descriptive formal analysis presented in most analytic Northwest Coast art texts. Threaded throughout Qwaxqwaxmn’s (AM) interview were references to supernatural interventions in his artistic process. Qwaxqwaxmn (AM) described praying to the Creator and receiving visions for a totem pole design that honours residential school survivors, a deeply meaningful and spiritual experience for him as a carpenter.  “Creator shows me this image. Right above you have the two ravens coming down with the sun in the middle. If I look up, the Sun is our life, every day it goes over us, looking over us, Alhkw'ntam, our creator, uses it as his canoe. Watching over his people, giving them warmth, light. To encourage us to live a healthy life!” – Qwaxqwaxmn (AM), 10/09/2018  Wiiqa7ay (LM) also spoke of the spiritual aspects of his process. He described a situation where he dreamed of a mask that he had not seen before but encountered later in person when he visited a museum, stating “I haven’t had very many art dreams, but I’ve had a couple about masks. I went into the museum and I saw that mask sitting at the end of the hallway when I   38 walked in, and man, that just floored me.” The Macks were not alone in describing the spiritual aspects of object engagement and creation, as Nuximlayc (NP) referenced visions in his design process, as did Alklasis (PS) in experiencing direct guidance from his ancestors while analyzing objects and creating art. Alklasis (PS) also reiterated the potential danger of engaging with ancestral objects if one is unprepared to contain the power of the beings represented.  “Each mask we bring out has its own entity, has its own identity, its own spirit, ‘syut.’ Each one of these masks that we bring out, the new initiates, they learn how to contain the energy from these masks that are being brought out and they learn how to take care of themselves spiritually… Even though it seems that it is just taking a mask out, it’s not, but holding the spirit of the being that has been taken out.” – Alklasis (PS), 10/13/2018  It is in these interactions with objects as affective agents (Gell 1998; Kramer 2004; Viveiros de Castro, Batalha, and Skafish 2014) and supernatural interventions from the spiritual realm that Indigenous engagements with ancestral objects differ significantly from the sterile, academic practices described in non-First Nations history texts on Northwest Coast objects. Qwaxqwaxmn (AM) points out that in order to understand Nuxalk art, one has to understand the spiritual aspect as well as the physical and formal elements.  “That’s what art is, if people think that that little mask there is a wall hanging --- No! It isn’t! It’s a real supernatural being that lived here, that was able to continue our culture on into what it is today. So, if you think of it in that way, then you get in touch with that spiritual world.”  – Qwaxqwaxmn (AM), 10/09/2018                39 Chapter 3: The Hands of Carpenters  “When a man partly closes his hand, if a wrinkle-like fold runs straight across the palm it indicates that he is a good carpenter.” – T.F. McIlwraith (1948 [1992], 763)    Figure 9: Left: Wiiqa7ay (LM) showing his “carpenter’s mark” on his left hand. Note the single, transverse line across his palm. Right: Alklasis (PS) showing his “carpenter’s mark” on his right hand. Alklasis (PS) also has a single, transverse line across his palm. Photos by author.   A brief passage in the back of T.F. McIlwraith’s The Bella Coola Indians (1948 [1992]) hints at an oral tradition that has resurfaced in recent years in Bella Coola that ties certain Nuxalk carpenters to the Masmasalaniixw, the Four Carpenters who shaped the world at the beginning of time. This rare ancestral gift, known in Bella Coola as a “carpenter’s mark” (or simply “the mark”) is a single line across the palm that indicates that the person who possesses it can become a great carpenter.29 It is especially prevalent amongst the descendants of Snuxyaltwa (LS), which enhances the reputation of the Snuxyaltwa lineage as being a family of great carpenters. The                                                29 According to Alklasis (PS) and Wiiqa7ay (LM), not all bearers of the mark become carpenters. They clarified that possessing the mark does not obligate one to become a carpenter, however, if the person with the mark did choose to carve, they would be great.   40 association of unusual physical features with supernatural gifts is found in other Northwest Coast cultures, particularly in the call to be a medicine man among northern First Nations such as the Tlingit, Haida, and Tsimshian (Wardwell 1996, 34).  In biological terms, this phenomenon is described as a “single transverse palmar crease,” formerly called a “simian palm,” found in about 1% of typical populations (Malla, et. al 2012, 411). Snuxyaltwa (LS) is believed by his descendants to have had this mark on at least one hand, and it is present on the hands of three of the carpenters profiled in this research: Kamalsuuncw (JM), Alklasis (PS), and Wiiqa7ay (LM) (Wiiqa7ay’s (LM) granddaughter also bears this mark). The high frequency of the carpenter’s mark in Snuxyaltwa’s (LS) descendants is probably tied to the epidemics and population decline from the 19th century, a tangible connection between the carpenters today and the ancestors who also possessed it. Nunanta (IS) shared the story of the mark from Nuxalk oral tradition, and both Alklasis (PS) and Wiiqa7ay (LM) described their carpenter’s marks and the meaning that it holds for them in their interviews. Their comments are reproduced here in full, lightly edited for clarity and repetition.   Nunanta (IS): The Hands of Yulatimut  “It’s said that when a carver is born, or to be born a carver, Yulatimut would grab the hands of the baby in the mother’s womb. When he touched the hands of the baby, the child who’s not yet born, it would leave a straight-line mark. That way, we knew that the Masmasalaniixw, Yulatimut, had touched the hands of that child while it was still in the womb. We know that child will become a great carver in that house. It still carries on to this day. It got lost over the years, but we were recently reminded of that teaching. And yes, it does show up a lot in the lineage of Snuxyaltwa, the House of Snuxyaltwa. That’s because our great, great grandfather was said to be touched by Yulatimut. It gave him that ability to carve, because Yulatimut was a great carver as well.” – Nunanta (IS), 10/11/2018   Nunanta’s (IS) retelling of the origin of the carpenter’s mark touches on several important points, specifically, it 1) correlates the mark with being a gifted carpenter, 2) connects the mark to Yulatimut, the eldest of the Four Carpenters who shaped the world at the beginning of time, 3) states that this was a lost tradition that has recently been revived, and 4) identifies the mark explicitly with the lineage of Snuxyaltwa (LS). These details are critical in understanding what the carpenter’s mark represents in Nuxalk culture and how these marks are mobilized as symbolic and cultural capital by those who bear it.     41 Alklasis (PS): The Smell of your Blood Lineage  “Auntie Amanda [Nunanta (AS)] shared a story with me. I went through my Kusyut ceremonies myself. My grandfather [Qwaxw (Peter Snow)] had trained myself and three others. We practiced dancing our family’s treasure box for about nine months and we went through our traditional ceremony of becoming Kusyut. Along the way, I had a spiritual awakening. It’s the smell of your blood lineage, something that I can’t hide. Something that my relatives who have a different last name can’t hide. It’s something that is never going to go away. So, this mark that I have on my hand, it’s a line that goes straight across. Auntie Amanda had shared this story with me and I had forgotten it. It wasn’t until recently when Clyde Tallio had reminded me of it. Alhkw'ntam had learned that his first grandson was going to be a human, so he sent down the eldest Carpenter, Yulatimut from the Masmasalaniixw, to greet his grandson. Yulatimut had come down from Nusmata, the House of Heavens, and went down to the first-born grandson. He reached inside the belly of the pregnant woman and Yulatimut rubbed the hands of Alhkw'ntam’s first-born grandson. He had done the ceremony with the grandson and Yulatimut, just before releasing his hands, said that he would be just like him. He pulled his hands out of the pregnant woman and floated back up to the heavens. When Alhkw'ntam’s first-born grandson came out, Yulatimut had left a scar on his hand. It’s this line across my hand, and that mark is one several of my relatives have that come from the same lineage as Snuxyaltwa. They’ll have different last names. I have it, I’m a direct descendant. Jim Mack [Kamalsuuncw (JM)] has it, Lyle Mack [Wiiqa7ay (LM)], Alvin’s son has it. Lyle’s granddaughter has it, some Pootlass family have it. To be a carpenter, to be a carver, for me it’s like riding a bike. I don’t know what it’s like for all the other people, but it definitely helps me see things in the wood that need to come out. When I start, spiritually, the wood removes itself, I just help it. The wood speaks to me. It comes out the way that my hand allows it to come out. I have teachings from community members, but the wood is the one that actually tells me what needs to come off.” – Alklasis (PS), 10/13/2018   Alklasis’ (PS) elucidation of his carpenter’s mark and the significance it holds for him connects him to Snuxyaltwa (LS) as well as other prominent carpenters that are related to him (regardless of surname or house affiliation). It also ties him to the Masmasalaniixw and manifests in his process of making ceremonial objects, creating a special relationship between him and the object he is creating. The mark is a significant source of symbolic capital (prestige) that informs not only the way Alklasis (PS) interacts with objects, but how he understands his relationship with other carpenters, the Nuxalk spiritual realm, and his family’s history. The mark is also a physical manifestation of the bearer’s cultural capital (connection to Nuxalk oral history, the Masmasalaniixw, historic carpenters with the mark, preternatural carving knowledge) and can be understood through Gell’s “art nexus theory” (1998, 22) as an affective index, or node, that connects together those who bear the mark with supernatural entities, ancestors, the objects those ancestors created, and each other.    42  Wiiqa7ay (LM): Marking Connections   “The tattoos are me acknowledging that side of the family, the Snow family. I’ve spent a lot of time with McIlwraith’s books, reading stories. That helps us with our art. I have the mark. It says in the book that if you crease your hand and the line goes from one side to another, that you can build anything. It all stems back to my grandmother’s side, the Snuxyaltwa. There’s a few of us. Uncle Jim [Kamalsuuncw (JM)] has it, he showed me. I was like ‘Oh, wow! That’s awesome, man!’ It’s very spiritual. That’s something that I like to focus on in here, in my classroom. I talk about masks, but I guess I don’t critique them too much. I like to talk about the spiritualty. It’s not just about being an artist, it’s about changing the way that you see things, and the way that you were brought up to see things. I actually had the vision. I haven’t got the other two brothers done, yet. Pretty soon, though, it’s all hand poke. I thought maybe I shouldn’t design my own, so I brought it to Chaz [Mack].30 I already had a quick drawing for him to see what I wanted it to look like, so he took it and added his lines. Made it ‘Chazz,’ right? He’s very good at that. Then I went to Danica [Naccarella]31 and she transferred it on. She did an amazing job. She had never done anything this intricate. To make all the lines work, that’s a dot, one at a time. Oh my gosh, inside my fingers was so painful!” – Wiiqa7ay (LM), 10/10/2018   Figure 10: Wiiqa7ay (LM) showing the completed hand-poke tattoo on his fingers that depict the Four Carpenters on the same hand that bears the “carpenter’s mark.” Photo courtesy of Wiiqa7ay (Lyle Mack).                                                 30 Chazz Mack is a cousin of Wiiqa7ay (LM) and the two of them frequently collaborate on projects together.  31 Danica Naccarella is a Nuxalk carpenter known for her traditional hand-poke tattoo work.    43 Wiiqa7ay (LM) is describing the extraordinary process of tattooing the masks of the Masmasalaniixw on the fingers of his hand that bears the “carpenter’s mark.” He has since added the last two supernatural Carpenters, enhancing the visibility of his “carpenter’s mark” and amplifying his position in the lineage of Snuxyaltwa (LS). Like Alklasis (PS), Wiiqa7ay (LM) emphasizes the connectivity to other carpenters who also have this mark, past and present, and the connection the mark (and his tattoo) has to the Masmasalaniixw and the Nuxalk conception of creation. Essentially, the “carpenter’s mark” functions the same way that other forms of mobilized cultural and symbolic capital do, such as discursive claims to iconic objects, attributions to prominent ancestors, and claims of authenticity through the art market desirability of ancestral objects (such as the “original” masks of Snuxyaltwa); It elevates the position of the one who possesses it. As a lost knowledge that has been revived in the context of cultural resurgence, and its close association with a particular family lineage, the “carpenter’s mark” and its significance is similar to other family prerogatives that have been restored in recent years such as the women’s “coming of age ceremony” (Leischner 2018, 1) or the Kusyut whistles being brought back by Alklasis (PS) and his apprentices.   Conclusion: Constructing Continuity, from Smallpox to Healing on the World Stage  Through interviews and case studies, this ethnography has illustrated the complexities involved in Nuxalk members engaging with objects from their heritage in dynamic processes of identity and cultural construction. Problematizing the assumptions surrounding how Indigenous people interact with objects and for what purposes, my research has sought to highlight the agency, diversity, and expertise of Indigenous people, specifically Nuxalk, in working with and understanding their own material culture beyond mere aesthetic analyses. Also, by critiquing prevailing discourses within Northwest Coast art studies and rejecting the long-held dichotomy of form versus context, nuanced understandings that more closely resemble actual practice within communities emerged and affirmed that Nuxalk people are the experts, architects, and connoisseurs of their own material culture. In these engagements there is not an either/or choice of form over context, nor is there thought as to which may come first, but rather an affective, dynamic, and deeply personal relationship between object and person (Gell 1998; Viveiros de Castro, Batalha, and Skafish 2014). It’s these relationships that Snxakila (CT) is seeking to foster   44 by exposing carpenters and other community members to ancestral treasures, whether through digital photos or the temporary return of those objects for community member inspection.   “[Nuxalk] people no longer know the imagery of our supernatural beings. They know the stories, but they’ve never seen the imagery. With our new big house, cultural center, and college we are building, we will have nice spaces to bring treasures back for people to see, study, and replicate. There are thousands of treasures out there. I figure that we are twenty years out from having them all reproduced, to completely restore them to ceremonial use. I want [Nuxalk] people to see these beings, to miss them, to need them.” – Snxakila (CT), 06/13/2019   Connections between Nuxalk people and spiritual entities are not the only relationships that Snxakila (CT) is fostering. In his work to reinstall the Nuxalk treasures in the AMNH Northwest Coast Hall he is mobilizing the iconic Sun mask to share the story of the Nuxalk Nation to the millions of guests who visit AMNH ever year. Snxakila (CT) envisions the new Nuxalk space as allowing visitors to “walk in our [Nuxalk] universe, move as we do, even for only five minutes” in developing understanding and potentially building alliances with both museums and their visiting publics. The Nuxalk exhibit at AMNH will have four corners, just like a Nuxalk big house, and guests will be guided to move clockwise around that space, just as Nuxalk dancers do. As the AMNH visitors enter the revamped Nuxalk space, they are greeted by the iconic Sun mask, the symbol of the Nuxalk Nation. Next, the visitors will see and learn about Sisawk objects, then Kusyut, and finally about how Nuxalk people live today – including information on fishing, the preparation of salmon “on stakes, in the old way” and the importance of sputc (eulachon), a calorically dense grease-yielding fish of major cultural significance to the Nuxalk.   Snxakila (CT) is utilizing ancestral objects to raise awareness of the Nuxalk people to the outside world, garnering both symbolic and cultural capital in the eyes of the museum-going public and working towards healing for the community from the traumas of colonial collecting and population decline. By decolonizing the “field of cultural production” for Nuxalk people at the AMNH – that is, by controlling the consumption and circulation of Nuxalk objects in an institution such as the AMNH – Snxakila (CT) has reclaimed a significant degree of agency for the Nuxalk through the ways in which their material culture is presented to the world. This is perhaps an example of the figurative repatriation of the representation of the Nuxalk people themselves – the control of their own narrative in the mobilization of ancestral objects and symbolic capital that is witnessed by the non-Nuxalk public. The reinstallation and   45 recontextualization of the Nuxalk objects at the AMNH are parallel and complimentary to the processes underway within the community of Bella Coola through the creation of the Nuxalk Nation object database and the return to ancestral governance by Staltmc standing for their house group lineages (Leischner 2018, 36). This resurgence is generated, in a large part, through the efforts and actions of Nuxalk carpenters and cultural specialists employing the analytical methods described in this thesis – reconnecting with objects and ancestors through close looking and meaningful engagement.  The framework presented here is an in-depth ethnography of a field of cultural production that outlines the ways that Nuxalk people are reclaiming the production, circulation, control, and power of their own art through an indigenized methodology that draws from both traditional knowledge and formal analysis. The sharp increase in exposure of Nuxalk members to ancestral treasures through recent information technology developments have allowed carpenters and cultural specialists to familiarize themselves with objects in developing connoisseurial skills that recontextualize and create meaning for treasures that have long been absent from the community. The resulting “artistic and cultural competencies” (Bourdieu and Johnson 1993, 228) derived from this process have given Nuxalk members the tools to construct continuity for themselves and their families and take meaningful social actions that reshape cultural landscapes and drive the artistic resurgence underway in Bella Coola. This ethnography has traced the lineage of Snuxyaltwa (LS) from the devastation and population decline from smallpox and other epidemics in the 19th century, to the robust artistic productions of today. There are likely more carpenters actively working in Bella Coola than ever before, utilizing the methods outlined here in promoting culture and wellness, reinvigorating spiritual practices, and doing the hard work of healing within the Nuxalk Nation.            46 Works Cited  Banks, Marcus. 1996. Ethnicity: Anthropological Constructions. London: Routledge. Boas, Franz. 1955. Primitive Art. New York: Dover Publications. Bourdieu, Pierre. 1984. Distinction: A Social Critique of the Judgement of Taste. Cambridge, Mass: Harvard University Press. Bourdieu, Pierre, Alain Darbel, and Dominique Schnapper. 1991. The Love of Art: European Art Museums and their Public. Cambridge, UK: Polity Press. Bourdieu, Pierre, and Randal Johnson. 1993. 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Sparrow, Kathy Bedard. 1998. “Correcting the Record: Haida Oral Tradition in Anthropological Narratives.” Anthropologica 40 (2): 215-222. Stott, Margaret A. 1975. Bella Coola Ceremony and Art. Vol. 21. Ottawa: National Museums of Canada. Thompson, Caitlin. “Bella Coola to Benefit from Massive Investment in Coastal Internet.” BC Local News, January 18, 2018. Accessed May 22, 2019.  Townsend-Gault, Charlotte. 2000. “A Conversation with Ḳi-ḳe-in.” In Nuu-Chah-Nulth Voices, Histories, Objects and Journeys. Edited by Alan L. Hoover, 209-214. Victoria: Royal British Columbia Museum.  Viveiros de Castro, Eduardo Batalha, and Peter Skafish. 2014. Cannibal Metaphysics: For a Post-Structural Anthropology. Minneapolis, MN: Univocal. Wardwell, Allen.1996. Tangible Visions: Northwest Coast Indian Shamanism and its Art. New York: Monacelli Press and Corvus Press. Wilson, Lyle, Karen Duffek, Gary Wyatt, and Barbara Duncan. 2012. Paint: The Painted Works of Lyle Wilson. Maple Ridge, B.C: Maple Ridge Pitt Meadows Arts Council.                             50  Appendix: Nuxalk Interview References    Hans, Q’umukwa Marshall. 2018. Interview with Christopher Wesley Smith. October 13. Jacobs Research Funds Collection at the University of Washington's Division of Archives and Manuscripts; Nuxalk Nation Ancestral Government Office. Seattle, WA; Bella Coola, B.C. Mack, Qwaxqwaxmn Alvin. 2018. Interview with Christopher Wesley Smith. October 09. Jacobs Research Funds Collection at the University of Washington's Division of Archives and Manuscripts; Nuxalk Nation Ancestral Government Office. Seattle, WA; Bella Coola, B.C. Mack, Kamalsuuncw James. 2018. Interview with Christopher Wesley Smith. October 10. Jacobs Research Funds Collection at the University of Washington's Division of Archives and Manuscripts; Nuxalk Nation Ancestral Government Office. Seattle, WA; Bella Coola, B.C. Mack, Wiiqa7ay Lyle. 2018. Interview with Christopher Wesley Smith. October 10. Jacobs Research Funds Collection at the University of Washington's Division of Archives and Manuscripts; Nuxalk Nation Ancestral Government Office. Seattle, WA; Bella Coola, B.C. Pootlass, Nuximlayc Noel. 2018. Interview with Christopher Wesley Smith. October 10. Jacobs Research Funds Collection at the University of Washington's Division of Archives and Manuscripts; Nuxalk Nation Ancestral Government Office. Seattle, WA; Bella Coola, B.C. Siwallace, Nunanta Iris. 2018. Interview with Christopher Wesley Smith. October 11. Jacobs Research Funds Collection at the University of Washington's Division of Archives and Manuscripts; Nuxalk Nation Ancestral Government Office. Seattle, WA; Bella Coola, B.C. Snow, 7ANISPUXALS Jeffrey. 2018. Interview with Christopher Wesley Smith. October 11. Jacobs Research Funds Collection at the University of Washington's Division of Archives and Manuscripts; Nuxalk Nation Ancestral Government Office. Seattle, WA; Bella Coola, B.C. Snow, Alklasis Peter. 2018. Interview with Christopher Wesley Smith. October 13. Jacobs Research Funds Collection at the University of Washington's Division of Archives and Manuscripts; Nuxalk Nation Ancestral Government Office. Seattle, WA; Bella Coola, B.C. ———. 2019. Interview with Christopher Wesley Smith. May 17. Jacobs Research Funds Collection at the University of Washington's Division of Archives and Manuscripts; Nuxalk Nation Ancestral Government Office. Seattle, WA; Bella Coola, B.C. Tallio, Snxakila Clyde. 2018. (Speaker for the Staltmc, Nuxalk Nation) in discussion with the author. October 14.  ———. 2019. (Speaker for the Staltmc, Nuxalk Nation) in discussion with the author. May 17.  ———. 2019. (Speaker for the Staltmc, Nuxalk Nation) in discussion with the author. June 13.   


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