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Western Arctic women artists’ perspectives on education and art McNeal, Joanne Carolyn 1997

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WESTERN ARCTIC WOMEN ARTISTS' PERSPECTIVES O N EDUCATION A N D ART by Joanne Carolyn McNeal B.A., Whitworth College, 1965 M.Ed. , University of Alberta, 1982 A dissertation submitted in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the degree of D O C T O R O F PHILOSOPHY in T H E F A C U L T Y OF G R A D U A T E STUDIES (Department of Curriculum Studies: Art Education) We accept this dissertation as conforming to the required standard T H E UNIVERSITY OF BRITISH C O L U M B I A June, 1997 © Joanne Carolyn McNeal In presenting this thesis in partial fulfilment of the requirements for an advanced degree at the University of British Columbia, I agree that the Library shall make it freely available for reference and study. I further agree that permission for extensive copying of this thesis for scholarly purposes may be granted by the head of my department or by his or her representatives. It is understood that copying or publication of this thesis for financial gain shall not be allowed without my written permission. Department The University of British Columbia Vancouver, Canada DE-6 (2/88) Western Arctic Women Artists — ii ABSTRACT In the Western Arctic, women from two indigenous cultures, Inuit and Dene, have made art for hundreds of years. Women's art was different from men's, but was essential to the survival of families. Their skills were also used by colonial explorers and traders. Now a third group of women, of European heritage called 'others' or 'non-natives', are also making art in the Western Arct ic . Each cultural group has a rich heritage, and where the cultures mix and co-exist, mutual influence is observable, and unique forms of art have developed. Women of all cultural groups make artwork to contribute to family use as well as for sale. Whi le their artwork is known, as individual women they have remained unseen, unheard, and unrecognized outside their communities. This study focusses upon the women who produce the artwork; what they call art; how they influence each other; how new materials and techniques have changed their work; how they learn their skills; their ideas for how future generations should be taught; what artwork means in their lives; how they value cultural history, and how they practice aesthetics, and/or art criticism. Forty-five women artists were interviewed over five summers, between 1992-1996. Most were videotaped in Inuvik at two festivals, or in Aklavik, Yellowknife, Tuktoyaktuk or Fort Smith, N W T . Each woman tells, in her own words, how her artwork evolved from early learning, and its meaning now. These women do not call themselves feminists but they discuss issues and struggles common to feminism. The lives of the women are interwoven; they are producing artists, teachers, organizers, wives, mothers, elders and community leaders. Their voices provide a historic link between old cultural traditions and new generations. Western Arctic Women Artists — The conclusions drawn from this study include differences in individual choices, power, education, various ways of learning, and how the women value their artwork. Influences on women's art include necessity, new materials and techniques, and other arctic peoples and land. The meaning of art in their lives is connected to individual self-development and economic survival, but also to families, and community recognition. They recommend that future generations be taught art skills at home as well as at school, and provide practical ideas for effective art education in schools in the Western Arct ic and beyond. \ Western Arctic Women Artists — iv TABLE OF CONTENTS A B S T R A C T i i T A B L E O F C O N T E N T S iv LIST O F F I G U R E S : M A P S A N D P H O T O G R A P H S v i A C K N O W L E D G E M E N T S ix C H A P T E R O N E : D E S C R I P T I O N O F T H E P R O J E C T 1 Women's lives in the Western Arctic 1 Evolution of the Project 2 Definition of Terms 14 Nature of the Western Arctic Community: Past and Present 17 Rationale and Statement of the Problem 26 Major Questions and Themes 28 Significance of the study 28 C H A P T E R T W O : R E S E A R C H S T R A T E G I E S 31 Theoretical Heritage 31 Ethnography 39 Ethical issues in ethnographic methods 60 C H A P T E R T H R E E : I N T E R V I E W S U M M A R I E S 74 CHARLENE ALEXANDER 79 ROSIE ARCHIE 93 JANE DRAGON 99 CHRISTINA FELIX 114 M O N A I G U T S A Q 119 ELSIE KLENGENBERG 131 LILLIAN KRISTENSEN 137 NANCY L A FLEUR 154 BEVERLY LENNIE 158 MARGARET LENNIE 170 MARY A N N M A C D O N A L D 180 LAURELLE MACY 194 CECE M C CAULEY 206 LENA OLIFIE 216 JANICE RAHN 223 SUE ROSE 234 BERTHA RUBEN 253 LORNA STORR 264 AGNES & M O N A THRASHER 271 VICKI TOMPKINS 277 JULIA & BRENDALYNN TRENNERT 287 Western Arctic Women Artists — v MARY TRIMBLE 293 PEETEEKOOTEE UGYUK 298 MARGARET VITTREKWA 303 R U T H WRIGHT 308 C H A P T E R F O U R : D I S C U S S I O N A N D A N A L Y S I S 327 Factors influencing the women's comments 327 Commonalities and questions of choice 328 Age, marital and parental status 329 Heritage and choice of arctic residence 331 Family and source of income 332 Early education, schooling, and religion 332 First Language 334 Differences: education, research experience, and perceived choice 335 Research themes 337 Early learning of artistic skills 338 Women's general education 340 Different ways of learning 342 How the women viewed their work 345 Influences on the women's work 349 The meaning of art in women's lives 366 Recognition by the Community 369 Teaching the next generations 371 Observations about the unspeakable 378 Cultural polarization and racism 378 Power and respect, family violence and abuse 381 C H A P T E R FIVE: C O N C L U S I O N S , I M P L I C A T I O N S & R E C O M M E N D A T I O N S 384 Conclusions 385 Cultural identity--how the women describe themselves 385 Choice and power 387 Womens' general education 392 Early learning of artistic skills 393 Different Ways of Learning 394 How the women viewed their work 394 Influences on the womens' artwork 395 Recognition by the community 398 Teaching the next generations 398 Implications and Recommendations 401 B I B L I O G R A P H Y 409 A P P E N D I X 426 Western Arctic Women Artists — vi LIST OF FIGURES: MAPS AND PHOTOGRAPHS Fig. 1: Map of the Western Arctic with Nunavut borders and treeline. 18 Fig. 2: 'Welcome' in Eight Official Languages of the Northwest Territories. 21 Fig. 3: Town of Inuvik logo. 24 Fig. 4: The Great Northern Arts Festival logo. 24 Fig. 5: The Diefenbaker Monument of 3 cultures in Inuvik. 24 Fig. 6: NWT symbol of three cultures cooperating in the Western Arctic. 24 Fig. 7: 1993 Pokiak River Festival friends, Holly & Katherine Lennie, right. 47 Fig. 8: Mackenzie Delta year-round cabin of Sam & Margaret Lennie, 1993. 49 Fig. 9: Irene Avaalaaqiaq, Charlene & Effie Arnaloaq at the Festival, 1992. 79 Fig. 10: Charlene Alexander checking sales figures at the 1994 Festival. 88 Fig. 11: Artists at the 1994 Festival in front of the Igloo Church, Inuvik. 88 Fig. 12: Rosie Archie in her home in Aklavik, June, 1993. 93 Fig. 13: Women sewing together at The Western Arctic Craft Festival, 1992. 95 Fig. 14: Rosie Archie & assistant in new Aklavik fur parkas, 1992. 97 Fig, 15: Jane Dragon sitting at her kitchen table in Fort Smith, NWT, 1992. 99 Fig. 16: Christina in the showroom of Christina Felix Parkas in Tuktoyaktuk. 114 Fig. 17: An example of Christina's Delta Braid design. 116 Fig. 18: Mona Igutsaq at The Great Northern Arts Festival, July 1994. 119 Fig. 19: Elsie cutting a soapstone block in an Aurora College sculpture class. 131 Fig. 20: Elsie in school—the first day of class in the Fine Arts program. 135 Fig. 21: Lillian Kristensen warping hand looms for teaching, March 1996. 137 Fig. 22: Nancy LaFleur at The Western Arctic Craft Festival July 1992, Inuvik. 154 Western Arctic Women Artists —vii Fig. 23: Nancy demonstrating tufting to other students at Arctic College, 1990. 157 Fig. 24: Bev. Lennie and her sister Glenna Hansen in Inuvik, 1993. 158 Fig. 25: Margaret Lennie holding up a new parka she just completed, 1993. 170 Fig. 26: Margaret with Jeanne Storr near her cabin on the Mackenzie Delta. 179 Fig. 27: Mary Ann MacDonald holding beaded moccasins she just completed. 180 Fig. 28: Newspaper photo of Mary Ann as Elder of the Year, 1993. 193 Fig. 29: Laurelle at The Great Northern Arts Festival, Inuvik, 1995. 194 Fig. 30: A drawing by Laurelle of a Dene mother and child. 205 Fig. 31: Pictures of Cece that appear with her weekly column in News North. 206 Fig. 32: Lena Olifie outside The Great Northern Arts Festival in Inuvik, 1994. 216 Fig. 33: Janice Rahn at the end of The Great Northern Arts Festival in 1994. 223 Fig. 34: Sue Rose standing in front of one of her recent paintings. 234 Fig. 35: One of Sue's paintings of an elder and child in Holman, 1991. 248 Fig. 36: Bertha Ruben and her son at The Great Northern Arts Festival, 1994. 253 Fig. 37: Bertha after winning the 'Good Woman' contest in Tuktoyaktuk. 262 Fig. 38 Lorna at Aurora College in Inuvik, Spring, 1995. 264 Fig. 39 Beaded baby belts made by Lorna Storr and her mother. 266 Fig. 40: Agnes and Mona Thrasher at the 1992 Great Northern Arts Festival. 271 Fig. 41: Mona painting at her easel in a Yellowknife Gallery. 276 Fig. 42: Vicki Tompkins outside Aurora College in Inuvik in May 1995. 277 Fig. 43: Julia & Brendalynn in front of their work at 1992 Arts Festival. 287 Fig. 44: 'Rebirth', a new caribou-hair tufting by Brendalynn Inuk Trennert. 292 Fig. 45: Mary Trimble carving at The Great Northern Arts Festival, 1996. 293 Western Arctic Women Artists —viii Fig. 46: Peeteekootee Ugyuk holding a packing doll and slippers she created. 298 Fig. 47: Margaret Vittrekwa at Aurora College in Fort Smith, 1992. 303 Fig. 48: An example o f knitting with beads' by Effie Blake, Ft. McPherson. 306 Fig. 49: Ruth Wright at the Canadian Museum of Civilization, April 1996. 308 Fig. 50: Ruth with 2 of her children at the 1996 Festival. 326 Fig. 51: Western Arctic Women Artists profile of age and heritage. 329 Fig. 52: Sister Germaine Cote with Aklavik school girls in parkas, 1950. 353 Fig. 53: Agnes Goose Nanogak in her dancing parka with inlaid fur trim. 353 Fig. 54: Delta Braid made of cotton bias tape by Polar Parkas, Yellowknife. 354 Western Arctic Women Artists — ix ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS I would like to voice my gratitude to the many people who have contributed to this research project. First, to the women artists of the Western Arct ic who kindly taught me, shared their lives, time, ideas, artwork and laughter in the hope of contributing to the success of the next generations. I hope I was a good student. Second, to the members of my doctoral committee, Professors Rita Irwin and Jean Barman, and especially my advisor Graeme Chalmers, for their guidance, astute questions, encouragement and suggestions throughout the research and writing process. Third, to the organizations and agencies who provided support in a variety of ways: the Getty Education Institute for the Arts for the honor of a Getty Doctoral Dissertation Fellowship; N W T Education for two Doctoral Scholarships, U B C Curriculum Studies for a research grant; Arct ic College for providing college housing in the summers; and the Great Northern Arts Festival for the opportunity to work with arctic artists for five summers, and to support myself. I am grateful to my department (Visual and Performing Arts in Education now Curriculum Studies) at the University of British Columbia for a positive learning environment, and for opportunities to support myself with work in research and teaching while learning as a doctoral student. I want also to thank the many colleagues who have encouraged, supported and assisted me throughout this process: Professors Ron MacGregor, John Gray, A n n a Kindler, and Ki t Grauer for their good ideas and interest, and fellow graduate students who asked hard questions. I appreciate the technical expertise of Peter Puttonen in sorting out my computer, and Dick Robinson for editing and proofreading. Finally a heart-felt 'thank you' to the many friends who have encouraged me, to my sisters Kathy and Sharon who told me not to give up, and to my daughters, Noelle and Corinne, who Western Arctic Women Artists — inspired and supported me in numerous ways, and for whom I want always to set a good example Thank you all very much. Western Arctic Women Artists — 1 CHAPTER ONE: DESCRIPTION OF THE PROJECT This dissertation describes a research project that grew out of personal involvement with arctic peoples over the past ten years. Vast changes were occurring in arctic communities, including the decline of the fur and petroleum industries, and a shift in the economic base of families from hunting to a wage economy. Complex inter-relationships developed between indigenous cultures—the Dene, Metis and Inuit—and the non-natives or colonial 'others'. Recent changes include the settlement of land claims, the impending political division of the Northwest Territories ( N W T ) in 1999, Federal devolution of authority to local and regional authorities, financial constraint, and the approach of unknown self government structures. Women's lives in the Western Arctic Through the changes in all co-existing cultures, women's work seemed more or less constant. The women bore, raised and educated children, worked within or outside their homes, and some did artwork, independently or in groups, to contribute to family survival. The changes, however, have affected women's lives and artwork as much as they have affected the lives of hunters and trappers. Today, women in the Western Arct ic produce art in many forms which are widely acclaimed for their aesthetic value, including mukluks, moccasins, mitts and parkas, paintings, prints, pottery and sculpture. In order to understand their art and its role in their lives, it is important to do more than talk about the women, we must talk with them, and listen to their perspectives. It is necessary to study the historic, social, cultural and aesthetic context in which women's art is created in this region. Therefore, through conversations with Western Arct ic women artists themselves, the purpose of this study is to discover the context of, various reasons for, influences on, meanings Western Arctic Women Artists — 2 and importance of making art in their lives from their point of view and in their own words. It also illuminates the role of women in education, and how they feel future generations should be taught. This study, therefore, focusses on the perspectives of several generations of women who create artwork, rather than on the artwork itself, which has been documented elsewhere (Duncan 1989, Karklins, 1992, Tippett 1992, Hall , Oakes, & Webster 1994, Thompson 1994, Ha l l e t al 1994). A s I taught, worked, studied and collected information over five years, I talked with many women who were artists or were involved in the arts. This study presents the individual voices of a number of Western Arct ic women artists. They are not strangers, their lives are interwoven by sharing life in an arctic environment, and the influence of the interwoven cultures is observable. The elder women artists talked about past and present practices, and about changes that occurred within their memory. The middle and younger generations talked about their cultural and artistic legacy, and how changes affected their artwork and lives. They all shared insights to help the next generations, and I felt privileged to learn from them. The voices of these women contribute to our understanding of art in a culturally diverse region. In turn the perspectives of the women on their art and education reveal their perception of art criticism, history and aesthetics, and how art production has evolved in this region. Evolution of the Project I first visited Eskimo Point, N W T (now Arviat), in 1987, where I stayed in a room in a parka factory, and was taken out on the tundra by a local family. Eskimo Point is located above the tree line, where there are no trees and the ground is permanently frozen, and where warm buildings are built up on posts to keep them from melting into the ground. This frozen state, Western Arctic Women Artists — 3 called 'permafrost', makes life very different from anything I had previously known. I was amazed at the physical problems created by the cold, such as the trucks delivering water daily to a tank in every house, and other trucks pumping out waste-water tanks. I was intrigued by the warmth of the Inuit people, their culture and lifestyle, and way they faced life on a frozen land. I became friends with a family who helped get artists' work to galleries in southern Canada, and listened to their views on bridging cultures through art. I saw the incredible artwork of Inuit artists in a variety of media being bought and sold, and I realized that here was a whole way of life that few knew about or understood. Teaching in the Arct ic Two years later, 1989 to 1991,1 taught at Arct ic College in Fort Smith, N W T , which further exposed me to arctic cultures. M y teacher education students were largely indigenous women, from several diverse groups of Dene (Indian) and Inuit peoples, along with a few 'whites'. They came from a number of small communities located around the western and central Arct ic . I was hired to teach art education methods, along with health and social studies methods, for use in the elementary classroom. The students had little formal knowledge in these fields, which meant that I also had to introduce the basics of each subject before we could go on to classroom methods. I did not realize how closely the subjects of health, social studies and art were linked in all our lives until I observed it in theirs. That link, along with the strength of the women I taught, prompted my interest in this research project. Learning from Arct ic students In the process of teaching these Arct ic College students, we learned from, and educated, each other, in an exchange of knowledge. The students taught me about their world, their Western Arctic Women Artists — 4 experiences living on the land, about their families and raising their children, their traditions, patience, acceptance, and skills. They brought elders and beautiful artwork to class and we visited their relatives in hospital together. I shared my own traditions and experiences, and we discussed differences and commonalities. Most of the students had little knowledge of the world outside their communities, except what invaded their living rooms on T V . Somehow I had to help them gain the skills of good teachers and researchers, enabling them to teach their own students their connection to the world. I knew very little about their cultures and life in the Arct ic , but had some knowledge of the rest of the world. W e embarked on an educational journey together. M y job seemed to require first listening well, in order to understand their perspectives and discover what they knew. W h e n we first met, most of the students could name only a few countries of the world. In terms of the new N W T curriculum, they knew little about body systems, and they told me they had never seen 'art'. I used the library and gathered information from everywhere—books, tapes, magazines, newspapers, T V , video and slides—to bring the rest of the world to class. W e used the resources with discussion, direction, and encouragement, challenging each other with new concepts and ideas. They seemed to feel very isolated from 'the South', yet southern T V images and junk foods had become part of their daily lives. I felt my job was to help them build a bridge between two worlds, within the structure of the formal N W T school system, because, as teachers, they had to be aware of both in order to teach the curriculum. It was a daunting task, requiring both the students' enthusiasm for learning, and my willingness to be taught, in order to narrow the chasm between us. Both sides had information to share. The students told me that their world was changing, and that they now needed more formal education to help support their families. Western Arctic Women Artists — 5 They said 'art' was 'that stuff that hangs on the walls in rich people's houses', yet the beaded mukluks, embroidered parkas and mitts they wore daily, were works of art in themselves. I asked them about their beading, sewing, and embroidery, and they said they did not think it was 'art', because it was just their clothing, it was necessary. W e talked about what art is, and they came up with words like skill, value, design, originality, workmanship and beauty. W e listed those words on a chart, then applied them to their own work, and they were very excited and pleased to think that someone might call their work 'art'. The subject matter of the art, health, and social studies courses were interwoven with, and relevant to, the students' daily lives. During the social studies course we explored social norms, family structures, history of the region, cultures, influences, and changes occurring in their communities. W e talked about changing power structures, prejudice, racism, and individual power to make choices. They identified social problems and discussed what could be done about them. They taught me about traditional women's and men's roles, about the acceptance of physical and social situations that seem to be a part of survival in both Dene and Inuit cultures, and about their sense that change was imminent. They taught me about their history, cultural traditions, and what the fur trade meant to them. They explained how the decline of the fur industry destroyed the pride of hunter or trapper husbands who provided for their families. The men must now find paid work, yet have few skills outside their vast and personal knowledge of the land. During the health course we talked about body systems, current health issues in the communities, about birthing, raising families, and their own experiences with sickness, healthcare systems, aging relatives and death. Some of the women had several children but did not know how their reproductive systems worked. Sometimes we talked about things that they usually do Western Arctic Women Artists — 6 not discuss at all: traumatic personal experiences such as infanticide, violence, abuse, alcoholism, and suicide. Sometimes tears were shed as they told these personal stories, and I felt privileged that they entrusted me with family secrets. The exchange of information at times became quite personal, and we learned to respect each other. Community Life Outside of the college setting, I was invited to visit some of the women in their temporary homes, and some came to visit me. W e drank lots of tea, the social lubricant on these occasions. Some of the students shared personal situations, worries, problems and concerns. A s I got to know them, I noticed the women often made 'crafts' to sell in exchange for groceries at the Northern (formerly Hudson's Bay Company) store. Although they were not signed, the Northern store sold them as local 'artwork'. I noticed that most of the women made major contributions to their family's survival, yet they expressed little self confidence. However, when they spoke about their 'crafts', their faces lit up, they spoke with enthusiasm, and they were obviously proud of their work. The economic power the women's artwork brought them became obvious. They had the courage to pick up and leave the comfort of their communities, moving their families to a larger center to take a college program. They wanted to get the education required to teach in local schools at a good wage. Many of my observations while teaching in Fort Smith underscored my sense that there is some connection, especially for the women students, between their education, their artwork, and their self confidence or sense of personal power to be in control of their lives. Western Arctic Women Artists — 7 Visiting other arctic communities In June, 1990,1 flew to Inuvik, above the Arct ic Circle on the Mackenzie River delta, during 24-hour daylight or the 'midnight sun'. I taught art methods for three weeks, and again, I learned a great deal from a new group of women students. W e had class in the daytime, and then worked on projects into the evening. Most of us were staying on site at the Arct ic College dormitory, so we shared personal stories and experiences and we laughed as we worked. In Fall 1990,1 taught more classes of art methods in Fort Smith, along with health and social studies methods to mostly women students. In January and February, 1991, during the coldest months of winter, I flew in small unheated planes to three small communities (pop. 400-900) to supervise student teachers. These small planes, with wind whistling through floorboards in -50 temperatures, sometimes landed on school yards, and everyone in town came to see what and who had arrived. I was introduced to the way of life in these remote places, and found each community intriguing. M y student teachers took me to meet elder women who were well known for specific skills such as birch-bark basket making, or to community meetings where all the men wore wonderfully hand-embroidered and fringed jackets, while the women wore plain store-bought nylon jackets and printed kerchiefs. Other times there were dog team races, feasts and dances, and I was privileged to participate with my students. Again, they quietly taught me to respect their cultures, about their relationship with a rugged and sometimes treacherous land, and to understand their joy in its beauty. In all, there were several different groups of student teachers that I taught over the two-year period between 1989 and 1991, perhaps thirty women and five men, and I learned a great deal from all of them. Western Arctic Women Artists — 8 Before I left Fort Smith in June 1991, another woman teacher and I decided to stage a dinner theatre concert to benefit the women's shelter. Our concert followed the history of women in song, and we were in the final stages of rehearsals, when my mother died of Alzheimer's. It was not unexpected, but it was still a shock, as I was planning to visit her later that month. She had taught me 'the show must go on', so later that week we sang our concert, and I dedicated special songs to her. Although our concert was for everyone, only 'white' people came, mostly women. The indigenous women for some reason did not come, and I was puzzled. The concert was successful in raising money and was later the subject of an article in NorthernHer Magazine (Crompton 1991). M y experience of arctic cultures and the women students affected me deeply, yet there were many unanswered questions. Eventually, interest in the women's lives became the impetus for this research project. Transitions: integrating theory with personal experience In July 1991, when I began the doctoral program, my experience in the Arct ic was always on my mind. M y arctic teaching and learning made every book, theory, and lecture either relevant or irrelevant, and informed my new understanding of the field of art education. I wanted to set a good example for my daughters who were both in university, and I also felt overwhelmed with ignorance. The more I learned the more ignorant I felt. There was much to know about the fields of art, education, and women's history, about the world, and about things that were not yet written. M y new arctic knowledge left me wanting to know more, to understand my own place in what happened around me in my lifetime, as well as in the world context. Western Arctic Women Artists — 9 There was also much more to learn about the Arctic. There are many small communities, each different, with a variety of traditions and languages. They have ways of life that few people in the rest of Canada or the world know about, let alone understand. I could see parallels in the lives of the arctic women and my own that I wanted to understand. Arct ic women, like my students, seemed to be the strong link to cultural survival and the key to preserving traditional arts and their children's future. Many were single parents, as I had been a single parent for many years. I appreciated their strength as well as their artwork. I wanted to explore connections I had observed, and I wanted these women to get the recognition I felt they deserved. I began to realize that I was uniquely positioned to enable the voices of arctic women to be heard. I did not know how I could do it, but I knew I wanted to try. I decided that I wanted to talk to women artists, and record the stories of their lives, their education, their art, and its importance in their lives. This project, therefore, became much more than an academic research topic, it was a very personal quest for knowledge and understanding. Research realities How was I going to talk to women all over the Arctic? I had no savings, no research grants, and airfares are very expensive. I had talked to women in the Fort Smith and southern regions of the N W T , but I knew little of the northern regions, except Inuvik, and what my students had told me. The scope of the project seemed overwhelming, the Northwest Territories is a vast region that is frozen most of the year. There are more than thirty communities, most with populations under 1000 and accessible only by air, or sometimes by water or ice road during the winter. M y former students lived in many of these communities, and I thought perhaps they could help me identify and get in touch with the important women artists as they had done Western Arctic Women Artists — 10 before. Still , how was I going to travel to all these communities? I simply couldn't: travel logistics and lack of funds were harsh realities. I had to find another way. I remembered hearing about The Great Northern Arts Festival, and that it was held during July every year. I knew artists were brought to Inuvik from all over the Arct ic , and I thought maybe I could talk to participating women artists while they were in this central location. I wrote to the Festival coordinator, asking if I could work for the Festival in exchange for a place to sleep on the floor. A few weeks later Charlene Alexander called me and offered me a summer student job at the Festival for five weeks during July and August, 1992. I was thrilled, and I paid my own airfare, stopped a week in Fort Smith on my way North, a day in Yellowknife, then on to Inuvik, where I house-sat for someone who was on holidays. T o my delight, I found there were two festivals happening while I was there beside other major events. The Western Arctic Crafts Festival and The Great Northern Arts Festival, as well as the Inuit Circumpolar Conference and the Northern Games were all being held the latter part of July. People came from all over, and the Town of Inuvik grew from 3000 to 6000. The artists who participated were chosen to represent their communities in both the Arts Festival and Crafts Festival, which seemed criteria enough to validate their recognition as artists for my study. It was a very exciting and busy summer, and through my work at the Festival I was introduced to many of the women I later interviewed. Education informs and transforms personal experience In the two decades of adulthood before I went North, I had been a single parent, raised two daughters, got a Masters degree, worked four jobs in four careers at one time, and renovated several old houses on my own. Yet, when I began the doctoral program, I knew little of women's Western Arctic Women Artists — 11 history, and nothing of feminist theory. A women's studies course, The History of Women in Education, made me increasingly aware of inequities in my personal life. I learned about the Suffragettes in England, the Nor th American women's movement, and I began to recognize my own privileged education and class. I had always thought of my parents as relatively poor, yet my childhood was rich i n so-called 'cultural' experiences. I was taken to museums, galleries and concerts, and was encouraged to believe I could do anything I wanted to do. I was unaware of gender discrimination, until I realized I had experienced it myself. This was not separate and irrelevant theory, but holistic learning which enhanced and instructed my very personal view of life. Studying feminist theory on an academic level shook my consciousness on a personal and emotional level. I had remarried when my daughters were in their late teens, and my husband had promised to support me through the Ph.D. But he deserted me after just one week of school, a month after my mother died. Then my husband returned after a few months, and later I finally realized I was tolerating an abusive marriage for reasons I did not understand. Something had to be done, and my new awareness empowered me to act. In the second year of the Ph.D. I sought advice from a lawyer and I left my abusive husband in the middle of a term. I moved all my furniture into storage, found homes for my dog and cat, and impatiently worked through my anger and grief. After I left, my life was threatened repeatedly, and I sought help through the R C M P , Battered Women's Support Services, the U B C Women Students' Office, and poured my anguish into writing and artwork. M y new consciousness was very disruptive to my studies, but my daughters were very supportive, and I managed to pass the term. Processing my emotions through art and singing helped greatly. M y experiences helped me understand the theory I was learning, which in turn, informed my new awareness of what was happening to me and others. Western Arctic Women Artists — 12 M y traumatic experiences also gave me a new appreciation of some of the issues I had experienced in the North. M y women students had shared their experiences of abuse, and I had a new capacity to understand. M y impression that the women's artwork was their key to self-esteem, was reinforced. I wanted to learn more about them, and what their artwork meant to them. Did their artwork and education empower them as mine had done? The theoretical learning of the doctoral program became more relevant, my research direction clearer, and the topic more urgent and personal. The next two summers, 1993 and 1994, I served as Assistant Coordinator of The Great Northern Arts Festival, each summer living in Inuvik for longer periods of time—three months and five months. I recorded more interviews each year and followed up on the ones I had done earlier. I also collected newspapers, documents, took photographs, videotaped, visited people and places, and experienced first hand many aspects of life in the Western Arct ic . Immersion in the field In January 1995 I was asked to coordinate the first fine arts program ever offered in the Western Arct ic , in Inuvik, N W T , at the newly divided western half of Arct ic College now called Aurora College. I accepted the challenge, spending fourteen months (March, 1995 to May, 1996) planning and coordinating a one-year Fine Arts Certificate Program. I shared a house with Charlene Alexander, who I had first interviewed in 1992 as a stranger and her new husband Brian, and their Golden Retrievers. As before, I learned a great deal from my students, my colleagues, my friends, and by being part of the community. In summer, 1995, my fine arts students needed a practicum, so we opened a storefront exhibit area in Inuvik so they could talk with the public, and some students worked for the Western Arctic Women Artists — 13 Festival. W e got to know a lot of people in the region, and that Fall I was elected to the Festival Board. I was no longer just a summer resident, I was becoming an accepted member of the community. During the winter I taught during the day, and worked evenings/weekends on my research transcripts. I talked to more women, and updated information as I could. In July/August 1996, I worked again for The Great Northern Arts Festival in Inuvik, doing inventory, pricing, and organizing and facilitating artist seminars. I got to know both artists and other people of the region. A l l of this work, over seven years in the Arctic, provided an opportunity to learn about arctic cultures, peoples and artwork first hand, and to meet and work with aboriginal and non-native colleagues and students. I observed and experienced a rich variety of events in the South Slave, Yellowknife and Mackenzie Delta regions of the Western Arct ic . I felt the tension between the different cultural heritage groups, witnessed overt acts of racism, and looked for ways to understand. I went to concerts, presentations, dances, aboriginal healing circles, and other community events, in order to learn and observe. Through all of this, it seemed to be the women who were the steadying force. They fought for education and community health, kept families together, and bridged old and new traditions. They quietly went about their work, doing art or getting more education, and making a difference in their communities. Non-native women seemed to be organizers of major events like festivals that benefitted all, and I tried to learn about the complex interrelationships between cultures. W h e n I reflect on these events, the dynamic changes occurring in the lives of arctic people and communities seem quite astounding. Throughout the years since 1990,1 have kept in touch with many of my former students, and I saw some of them every summer. They helped me identify women artists from their Western Arctic Women Artists — 14 communities that I should talk to. They introduced me to people I would not have been able to meet, and took me to places I could never have visited without them. They even took me in their boats to fish camps, community festivals, and to visit prominent elder artists. Because of their assistance I was able to talk to the wide range of women included in this study, for which I am grateful. I interviewed some former students themselves, because they are recognized as outstanding local artists, or they served as cultural interpreters. It was a rich and personal experience. I was not just a stranger, I was a participant observer, involved in the community, collecting experiences of a lifetime. Definition of Terms A number of terms used in this dissertation require defining. For clarification, the word 'Arctic' when used as a noun describing a particular place, is capitalized, such as 'the Arctic ' . W h e n 'arctic' is used as an adjective, as in 'arctic communities', it is not capitalized. The usage of some terms is a very sensitive issue in the Arct ic . The terms 'aboriginal' and 'indigenous' are commonly used almost interchangeably, although they have somewhat different meanings. Aboriginal means the original inhabitants of a country, and originated from Colonial descriptions of land ownership by aboriginees in Australia. The words 'indigenous' and 'native' are sometimes used as synonyms for 'aboriginal'. The word 'indigenous' is often used in defining 'aboriginal', with further criteria, connoting people that originally inhabited a land before the arrival of colonists. The word 'indigenous' means that which is produced naturally in a region. Common usage in the Arct ic reflects these definitions. O n some N W T government forms, there are boxes to check cultural heritage, including Inuit, Dene, Metis, and European, with a category called 'non-native indigenous', meaning a person of 'non-native' origin who was Western Arctic Women Artists — 15 born in the N W T . The term 'aboriginal' would not be used in this way. Berger quotes The Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms: 'In this Act , "aboriginal peoples of Canada" includes the Indian, Inuit, and Metis peoples of Canada' (Berger 1982). Terms like indigenous and aboriginal do not refer to particular groups of people, so I have not capitalized them here. Specific cultural groups of people are capitalized. 'Native' is sometimes used by non-natives to describe all indigenous people, but the Inuit women I talked to used the term 'native' to mean those of 'Indian' heritage (see E. Klengenberg). The term 'Indian' is now considered derogatory, as awareness grows of the pride, culture and languages lost in residential schools (LaRoque 1975). The term 'Status Indian' is a specific legal classification of Indian peoples in the Indian A c t of 1876, revised 1951 and 1985. In the Indian Ac t , Indian peoples were required to register as members of a particular band and given a number to receive 'treaty' monies and rights. Indian and Northern Affairs Canada (1986) explains: Status Indians are those who are registered with the Federal government as Indians according to the terms of the Indian Ac t . Non-status Indians are those who are not registered. A n Indian woman who married a non-Indian, for example, was no longer considered to be an Indian within the meaning of the act. Nor were her children. The reverse situation did not hold true, however, and it became possible for non-Indian women marrying Indian men to gain actual Indian status. This blatant discrimination against Indian women lasted for nearly 100 years, until long overdue amendments to the Indian A c t were passed in 1985 (p. 60). 'First Nations' is not used much in the Arctic, but 'First Peoples' is used occasionally. The Dene people refer to the 'Dene Nation' collectively, which includes five groups in the Western Arct ic . Most often Dene peoples refer to themselves by regional group names such as Slavey or Gwich'in. The term 'Metis' was and is used to describe specific peoples of mixed Native Western Arctic Women Artists — 16 and French heritage, but is sometimes used more broadly to describe anyone of mixed heritage, along with the derogatory term 'half-breed'. The term 'Inuit' is a modern term for 'Eskimo' which was recently disfavored as demeaning to Inuit, especially in the Eastern Arctic. In the Western Arct ic , some women still refer to themselves as 'Eskimo' depending on their awareness of terms and what they are used to (see B. Lennie summary Chap. 3). The Inuit were not included in the Indian Ac t , and there were no treaties affecting Inuit lands until recently. The Inuit are governed directly by Canada, and were given numbered tags at birth to wear for identification (Crowe 1991). The Inuvialuit are a group of Inuit living in the Western Arctic, and are related to Alaskan Inuit (Indian and Northern Affairs Canada 1984). A n individual of Inuit heritage is referred to as an 'Inuk'. A n Inuvialuit woman of mixed blood would never be called 'Metis', but might refer to herself as 'Inuit' with 'white' or 'Indian' relatives. The term 'Inuit' is not used in Alaska, the Yup'ik and Inupiat use the general term 'Eskimo'. M y students explained that many arctic peoples have mixed blood, and that heritage is sometimes hard to figure out. They said now that land claims have been settled, some people have a choice of which group to register with. The choice depends on several things: the amount of blood they have from parents of different heritage groups, where their traditional hunting lands lie, and formal registration and recognition by that group (see R. Wright summary Chap. 3). It is not a simple matter. For instance during the Festival when identifying artists for Gwich' in or Inuvialuit artist awards, we had to submit names of potential artists to each group office, and they told us which artists were legally registered as part of their group. I interviewed a woman I was told was Gwich'in, but she corrected me, saying she was 'Inuk'. Western Arctic Women Artists — 17 The 'non-native' group of people living in the Western Arct ic may include Caucasians, blacks, mid-Eastern and Asian individuals from a variety of religions. The majority are 'white', of European heritage, and Christian. Sometimes this group is referred to as 'whites' or a minority of 'others'. The various terms can be confusing, but awareness of the history of the region assists in developing a sensitivity and understanding of these complex issues. Nature of the Western Arctic Community: Past and Present The Land The geographic region defined in this study as Western Arct ic generally covers the western half of the Northwest Territories and may include the Yukon. The southern boundary is the sixtieth parallel, the eastern boundary roughly follows the diagonal line of the Canadian Shield or 'treeline'. This lies west of what is generally called the 'Eastern Arctic ' , which is 'barren ground' or permafrost above the trees (see Figure 1). The Eastern Arct ic coast is inhabited by Inuit, and will become the new territory of Nunavut in 1999. Baker Lake is the only inland community on permafrost inhabited by Inuit. The Western Arct ic contains two kinds of land: 'permafrost' barrens or 'tundra', and the sparsely treed 'taiga' along the tree-line and sub-arctic boreal forest. The Towns of Fort Smith, Fort Simpson, and Hay River lie along rivers in the southerly sub-arctic region of the Western Arct ic . The sub-arctic has trees of various sizes, forest animals, and houses that may have basements. The capital and largest city Yellowknife, and Inuvik, the largest town north of the Arct ic Circle, sit right at the edge of the treeline. This diagonal line is sometimes called the 'Canadian Western Arctic Women Artists C o o l Heritage Trail Put Deserve A hiking trail through the . Mackenzie Mountains • TaktntNogait National Park Reserve Valleys, coastal highlands and the Hornaday Rivet. fadareik National Park Reserve Great Bear Lake Muskoxen by the thousands Home ol some ot the largest in the Thomsen River valley. lake trout ever caught on a hook and line. A L A S K A Y U K O N WHITEHORSe B R I T I S H • Fort Nelson C O L U M B I A Natanni National Park Reserve Mackenzie Bison Saectuary Wood Buffalo National Park Thelon Same Sanctuary Mountains and spectacular ' Drive through this bison . Wood bison, karst features Forest and tundra home to waterfall on the South . preserve on the Mackenzie and salt plains beside the muskoxen on the Thelon Nahanni River. Highway. Slave River. River. Fig. 1: Map of Canadian Western Arctic Territories & Nunavut borders. The political division of the present Northwest Territories planned for 1999 falls partly along the treeline. (Arctic Tourism 1996). Western Arctic Women Artists — 19 Shield'. The Mackenzie River Delta communities near Inuvik lie at this northern edge of the trees, where spruce trees are small 'taiga', rock is exposed, the ground is 'permafrost', and buildings are set up on poles. Tuktoyaktuk, only a hundred miles north of Inuvik, is above the treeline on the barren 'tundra'. The severely cold climate of all this land defines the existence of the animals, plants, and humans that survive there. Generally, the Inuit lived along the coast above the treeline (Morrison and Germain 1995), while the Dene lived inland along rivers and lakes in treed regions. Western Arct ic peoples For hundreds of years in the Arct ic two indigenous cultures co-existed: the Inuit, and the Dene. Both groups of people were nomadic, hunting some of the same animals. The Inuit peoples camped along the arctic coast north of the treeline, while the Dene peoples lived below the treeline, usually inland along rivers and lakes in woods and forests. The men of both cultures hunted, fished, and/or trapped, while women's essential roles were bearing and raising children, sewing warm clothing and footwear, and preparing hides and food to contribute to family survival ( N W T Education 1989, Hal l 1986). They were drawn or photographed by numerous visitors such as Edward Curtis (Silversides 1994). The vast distances and isolation of the Inuit and Dene groups of peoples, allowed wide variations in language and customs to develop within each large group over hundreds of years (Crowe 1986). The Inuit people in the Western Arct ic are known as 'Inuvialuit' and are related to the Alaskan Inuit to the west along the coast ( N W T Education 1991). They have quite different customs from the Copper Inuit living in the Central Arct ic (Hall et al, 1994), as well as from the Eastern Arct ic Inuit (Bruemmer 1985). Western Arctic Women Artists — 20 The Dene nations living i n the Western Arct ic include the Gwich'in, Sahtu Dene, Hare, Mountain, Nor th and South Slavey, Dogrib, Yellowknife, Chipewyan and Beaver Indian peoples (Thompson 1994, M c M i l l a n 1988, Comeau and Santin 1990). Sometimes the Dene are referred to as Athapaskan (Duncan 1989), related by language to groups as far south as New Mexico. The people themselves use various names for particular groups, and both names and spellings can be confusing. The Dene and Inuit peoples had a history of trading, but rarely mixed except in the Delta region at the mouth of the MacKenzie River on the Beaufort Sea (Crowe, 1991 and Clark, D. , 1991). Each group maintained a separate co-existence, occasionally warring, until the arrival of the European-based explorers and traders. The newcomers gave both indigenous groups more reason to co-operate as well as to fight (Crowe 1991). The indigenous peoples openly welcomed the newcomers, and gladly traded what they had for new goods. They welcomed the chance to learn new ways and expected to gain new riches and conveniences. The first wave of newcomers did not stay, they merely passed through, trading with indigenous peoples, and went on their way (Newman 1989, Karklins 1992). This was true of explorers, traders, and whalers until the late nineteenth century. Settlements grow into communities About a hundred years ago, non-indigenous people began to stay i n settlements in the Western Arct ic , assuming positions of authority: first traders and trading posts, then churches (Fumoleau 1973, Marsh 1991, Sutherland 1984), then stores, RCMPol ice (Dobrowolsky, 1995), medical, government (Stoneman-McNichol 1983), business, and educational staff. A third, very powerful, cultural group emerged, collectively known as 'white', 'non-native', Euro-Canadian, or 'others' (Economic Development and Tourism 1995). Western Arctic Women Artists — 21 It was the newcomers who eventually required indigenous children to go to residential schools run by 'white' religious sects, either Roman Catholic or Anglican (Fumoleau 1973, Marsh 1991). These schools were located only in the larger communities (Special Committee on Education 1982), so the children were there for years at a time, losing the influence of their parents, home culture and language (Haig-Brown 1988, Barman et al 1986, Johnston 1988, Jaine 1993). In school the children were taught the ways of the 'whites', but some began a secret cultural exchange with other children in the residences (see M . Igutsaq summary Chap. 3), which may have kept traditions alive. For years, qualified teachers from southern Canada were flown in who did not know the cultures and who barely tolerated the extreme climate. Most were unhappy and left, causing high teacher turnover, continuity problems in schools, and bad feeling among the indigenous peoples. Today, non-native 'others' still hold most of the positions of authority in all communities, but the power is slowly being reclaimed by the . . WelCOYYlie . English' ' indigenous peoples (Dickerson, 1992, Freeman et ; m h QhitlNlMindHjoh Gwich'in al, 1992, Purich 1992). Indigenous languages are heJQ rOXBts'erdlUCUb North Slavey-being revived: eight languages have gained MdrClJ(l NllWe Gh# Mhdel Chipewyan official status in the Western Arctic, six of them , ~ » r . . » » T » >n » * Mahsi EjQh Nahxe Tah Aneti aboriginal (see Figure 2). Now, people from each • „ ^ . S o u t h ^ l a v T Sina,jQ naxighaehda community, who speak the local languages, are _ . D ° 9 n b „ . . QuvtanaqtuqQaigapsi 1 . . i i /- i Inuvialuktun being trained as teachers for at least two years at . ' _ . Btenvenue Arct ic and Aurora Colleges (see N . LaFleur _ F r e n c h Fig. 2: Eight official languages. Summary, Chapter 3). The isolation of many (Arctic Tourism, 1996). Western Arctic Women Artists — 22 communities means that it is expensive but necessary to provide schooling at the local level (Special Committee on Education, 1982). Non-natives still have a huge impact on the cultures of the Nor th (Maldaver 1993, Trigger 1985, Fisher 1992), but changes have begun to take place. Although 40% of the population is under the age of 17, most communities cannot afford to provide school past grade nine or ten. So many N W T children still have to go to one of the larger centers, and live in residence away from their families, to complete high school to Grade 12. They find this extremely difficult (see B. Lennie summary Chap. 3), unless they have family nearby. This is one reason for the high N W T drop-out rate in Grade 10. A l l three cultural groups now co-exist in various proportions in Western Arct ic communities. Some communities are predominately one indigenous culture, but most have a mixture of heritage groups. A l l groups have been affected by the rise and fall of the fur, whaling and petroleum industries, and must now find alternate sources of income (Aquilina 1981, Berger 1991, Dickerson 1992, Smith 1967). When these industries were thriving between the turn of the century and the 1960s, many traditional hunters and trappers sold their dog teams and went to work in the new wage economy. In doing so, they lost their traditional skills and the ability to live 'on the land' (LaRoque 1975). A r t is now viewed by government as one viable economic alternative to hunting ( N W T 1992). The traditional way of life on the land is lived by very few today, although most indigenous people still enjoy weekends at camps 'in the bush' (Maldaver 1993, Ha l l 1986). I talked with several women who still live in a traditional way (see M . Lennie summary Chap. 3). The vast social changes occurring with the settling of land claims and emerging political structures have affected all peoples (Frideres 1993, Coates and Powell 1989, Smith 1967). A good education is beginning to be recognized by all as one key factor in coping (Ellis & Bryant, Western Arctic Women Artists — 23 1990) and is a means to good jobs and regular income. Formal education is increasingly being seen as a way to perpetuate cultural heritages. The N W T has a unique governance system, a concensus legislative assembly rather than an opposition party system. The indigenous peoples are reclaiming power through learning aboriginal languages, signing land claims (Purich, 1992, Indian Affairs & Northern Development, 1984), learning how to function within government structures, and by training aboriginal teachers. Self-government is a fact of the future, and research is in progress on the Inuvilauit people's views and fears (see B. Lennie summary Chap. 3). A l l cultural groups have recently expressed the need to understand and cooperate with each other more fully to ensure the survival of future generations. A number of regional symbols acknowledge the three main cultural groups. For instance, the logo of the Town of Inuvik shows the housing styles of the three cultures under a midnight sun (see Figure 3). The Great Northern Arts Festival logo symbolizes the clothing styles of all the indigenous peoples of the Arct ic , along with newcomers, dancing around an inukshuk under the midnight sun (Fig. 4). In 1962 a triangular sculpture, symbolic of cooperation between the three cultures, was erected by the Town of Inuvik. It is called The Diefenbaker Monument, which stands in front of the elementary school, formerly the residential school, to encourage intercultural cooperation (Fig. 5). In 1970 the N W T adopted a three-figure symbol of "the North's Inuit, Dene and non-aboriginal cultures living as one Nor th of 60" (Northern News Services, 1993, p. 3) (Fig. 6). A large sculpture of these three figures stands outside the high school in Inuvik. Western Arctic Women Artists — 24 Fig. 3: T o w n of Inuvik logo Fig. 4: Great Northern Arts Festival Logo (Stoneman-McNichol 1983) ( G . N . A . F . stationery and brochures). Fig. 5: The Diefenbaker Monument, Inuvik. Fig. 6: N W T symbol of three cultures. (Northern News Services, 1993, p. 15). (Northern News Services, 1993, p. 9). Artistic Production in the Western Arct ic Most women in non-industrial world societies created articles to be used (and discarded) by their families such as clothing, footwear, or items of household decoration or use (Barber 1994, Chadwick 1990, Weiner & Schneider 1989, Chanda, 1993). They used available materials, which in the Western Arct ic included animal skins, bones, stone, wood and tundra plant Western Arctic Women Artists — 25 materials (Miles 1963). Materials and techniques introduced by European explorers, whalers, and missionaries were incorporated into the traditional aboriginal designs (Karklins 1992), and women became known for, and were very proud of, the quality of their stitches and designs (see B. Ruben summary, Chap. 3). The 'traditional' women's artwork of all three cultures is now interwoven with new materials and techniques, and must be understood in its historic context. The artistic production of each of the three cultural groups has been influenced by the others as they have developed together in the Western Arct ic region over the last hundred years, especially in the Delta region at the mouth of the Mackenzie River on the Beaufort Sea (Duncan 1989). Influences documented in this study include family, historic education and church practices, necessity, changes in society and traditional ways of life, politics and government, various economic pressures including the decline of the fur industry, the Arct ic landscape and the climate. These themes run throughout the women's summaries in Chapter Three of this dissertation. Artistic production is also influenced by gender roles. Indigenous women's art forms were traditionally different from those created by men, and were unsigned. Women originally sewed family clothing as a matter of survival, and individual styles developed slowly (Hall, Oakes & Webster 1994, Thompson 1994, and Hal l , Tepper &. Thompson 1994). Indigenous men produced small carvings or drawings related to hunting beliefs, or for historical record (Clark, D. , 1991). Some early artwork appears to have had other uses or intrinsic value. Now, in a development parallel to the Arts and Crafts Movement in Europe and America (Naylor 1971, The Fine A r t Society Ltd. 1973, Anscombe 1991, and Callen 1979) many women living in the Western Arct ic continue to make art for family use as well as for sale. O f the women I interviewed for this study, thirty make a major portion of their living through producing artwork. Western Arctic Women Artists — 26 Many use their expertise also in their teaching of children. A r t is now viewed by government as a viable economic alternative to hunting to help provide for families (Dept. of Culture & Communications 1995). This study centers on women who create art now, and their perspectives on education and artwork. Rationale and Statement of the Problem Three cultures co-exist in the Western Arctic, closely in all communities, and with almost equal populations in the Mackenzie River Delta, including Dene, Inuvialuit (Inuit) and a group generally known as 'white' or 'non-native'. The indigenous groups are, within a generation, being brought from hunter-gatherer societies directly into the technological age without going through an industrial revolution. They are very close to the old ways, which are still within memory of some elders. Many elders were born in an igloo or 'on the land1, but their grandchildren live in houses and are using computers in school, and they may never have seen an igloo. The decline of the fur industry decreased family incomes, and devalued the skills of hunters, who had to find new ways to provide for their families. Residential schools stripped the middle generations of their languages and customs, and now they are trying to reclaim them before all the elders who remember them are gone. The women told me that many indigenous people have become accustomed to government support, and seem to have lost much of their own independence, initiative, languages, self-suffiency and pride. The cultural groups co-existing in the Western Arct ic are sometimes polarized. They seem to cooperate awkwardly, but are somewhat suspicious of each other, and rarely acknowledge all contributors to the cultural fabric of communities. Non-natives have held most of the positions of power (government, police, education, religion, healthcare, and business) for the last Western Arctic Women Artists — 27 fifty or more years and are sometimes openly resented. Racism and prejudice are evident in all sectors, but are often hidden and seldom acknowledged. Certain individuals from all groups have gained the respect and trust of the other groups. Now, land agreements are being signed, new political powers and structures are emerging, and indigenous customs like drum dancing are being revived (Asch 1988, Cockney 1991). There is wide agreement that the indigenous people need training to take over their own self-government. The politics of creating a future government for the Western Arct ic that is fair to all, causes competition, polarization and fear within a framework of cooperation. A r t is being promoted as an economic replacement for hunting, and the current economic income derived from art-related activities in some arctic communities is rated as high as 50% (Dept. of Culture & Communications 1988). In the midst of all this change, the indigenous women's traditional artwork is relatively constant. It is recognized all over the world as 'art', yet the women who create it are unknown. Their work continues to reflect traditional culture (Duncan 1989), and some excellent artist role models are working in both old and new media. There is also evidence of mutual influence between the indigenous women artists and colonial newcomers. The art of all women seems to relate to their lives in similiar ways, and is promoted in several publications as 'arts and crafts'. However, the women who create the artwork are invisible. We do not know how they learned their artistic skills, how they value their aesthetic contributions to their communities, how they relate to artists of other groups, how they contribute to cultural identity, or how future generations should be taught in all cultures. This time of drastic social change makes the understanding of the cultural groups, and their complex interrelationships, important facets of future cooperation and survival. Western Arctic Women Artists — 28 The role of art in all co-existing cultures, as well as how women contribute to education, art, and cultural survival, are important facts of history missing in current accounts. Major Questions and Themes A number of questions were asked of the women who participated in this study. Their comments fall into themes, which appear in the following order throughout the summary of each woman's words. Interview questions were designed to establish: Childhood and early learning. How and when the women learned artistic skills. Influences on their artistic work. The kind of artwork they do now. How they incorporate new materials and techniques. How they learn from other cultural groups. The role art plays in their lives, and its meaning. Do they consider themselves artists, and their work art? How they feel future generations should be taught. These questions were asked of each woman artist, but not always asked and answered in this order. The same questions were asked of women who are arts organizers and gallery owners, with additional questions on women's images generally, the popularity of their work, value and sales, and how the cultural groups cooperate and influence each other. Significance of the study This study has implications far beyond the education of a few women living in the Arct ic . This region is important as the mix of cultures provides a unique view of societies co-existing in Western Arctic Women Artists — 29 one region, which are moving quickly from hunting societies into a technological age. The grandmothers who were born in igloos are now learning computer skills from their children. Through listening to their perspectives on their lives and art we share in their fear of change and joy of discovery. By understanding the skills with which they adapt to their changing world, we can also learn not to be afraid. This study is important for several reasons. First, it provides a way for the voices of women artists from the Western Arct ic who have previously been silent, to be heard. Their individual and collective voices are very powerful, as we learn the importance of art in their lives. Their perspectives on how women learned artistic skills, and how and why they make art, will add to the body of research on women's lives around the world. Their stories will bring a sense of pride to women of the region, and beyond. In discussing those issues, the women acknowledge a positive link between their art, education, and self esteem. This project is important in its examination of mutual influences between three cultural heritage groups. The women artists in this study contribute to their own culture, while appreciating the artwork of, and cooperating with, women of co-existing cultural groups. This study will enhance understanding of the role art plays in cooperating cultures, in resisting assimilation, and in maintaining cultural identity. This study provides clues to cooperation which may be used for positive change in other colonized countries of the world. This study contributes to the body of knowlege on education in several ways. It examines how the women learned as children and how they learn from each other now. W e discover how the women pass on their artistic skills, and how they feel future generations should be taught. This research provides a unique view of the ways indigenous peoples learn, so those ways can be accommodated in tomorrow's classrooms. It discovers new ways that discipline-based art Western Arctic Women Artists — 30 education can be used in diverse settings. The addition of these voices to existing perspectives, contributes to our knowledge of educational practice, and will foster more sensitive and appropriate art teaching. This study may impact curriculum planning and educational practice in all of Canada as well as in other colonized regions of the world. This study highlights the importance and meaning of making art in the lives of individual women from a remote arctic region of Canada. Together they provide a powerful collective voice for women artists who co-exist within diverse cultures. This study contributes to a greater understanding of women, art and learning strategies. Western Arctic Women Artists — 31 CHAPTER TWO: RESEARCH STRATEGIES This research project is about a particular group of women who create and teach art. It is about women's experiences, it is for women (and men), and it is researched and written by a woman. The focus is on women's perspectives as artists in the present, and their roles as students, daughters, wives, mothers, friends, grandmothers and community leaders in the Western Arct ic forms an integral part of each woman's narrative. The research strategies employed in this study were adapted from the social sciences, and are consistent with feminist research methodologies. Theoretical Heritage The legacy of history Writers of history for centuries focussed on royalty, war heroes, and other famous people, most of them men. They dealt with places, religions, statistics, events, buildings, laws, and power struggles, seldom discussing unique perspectives, conflicting points of view or feelings. There were very few accounts of the lives of ordinary people, and even fewer about women and indigenous people, as though they were invisible. Educators acknowledge those earlier historical accounts were biased and the need to rewrite history to include the contributions of these invisible populations. Diaries or journals of certain periods of time, such as explorers' voyages of discovery, and personal letters saved by relatives or archives, provide brief glimpses into a few individual lives. The diary of Anne Frank is a notable exception: an ordinary girl's life was shared with the world through her own descriptive writing of an extraordinary experience and time. Emily Carr's Western Arctic Women Artists — 32 autobiographical writings (1941, 1944, 1946) provide personal insight into one woman artist's life. The growth of feminism spurred scholars to write new accounts of women's history (Brown 1980, Heller 1987, Prentice et al 1988, Strong-Boag and Fellman 1991, Pantell 1992, Trager 1994). Some new histories focus on women in art-related fields (Callan 1979, Collins and Sandell 1984, Parker 1984, Kuhn 1990, Tippett 1992, Parker and Pollock 1981, LaDuke 1992, Pollock 1988, Cherry 1993, Barber 1994, Leroux et al 1994, Trenton 1995). The importance of examining women's lives as patchworks of creativity, is discussed by Bateson (1989). She calls it the 'women's history movement', and comments on its elements: . . . the need to make the invisible visible; the desire to provide role models and empower aspirations, the possibility that by setting a number of life histories side by side, we will be enabled to recognize common patterns of creativity that have not been acknowledged or fostered. . . . the undiscovered self is an unexpected resource. Self-knowledge is empowering, (p.5) Women's histories are written for various reasons and in different ways. Many studies have used letters, diaries, and other documents to piece together information about women's past lives from a particular time or place (Rasmussen et al 1976, Stratton 1981, MacKenzie 1988, Mcintosh 1989, Stewart 1990, Brennan 1990, Prentice et al 1988, Schlissel 1992, Andersen 1993, W a l l 1993, Goodwin 1994, Backhouse 1995). Some women are re-examining the studies of previous scholars, with a view toward uncovering gender bias and oppression (Barstow 1994). Recent anthologies of autobiographical excerpts (Rose 1993, Rountree 1993) and biographical dictionaries (Parry 1996) provide brief overviews of a number of women's lives. Women have written their own memoirs or autobiographies to share with family and future generations (Carr, 1941, 1944, 1946, McClung 1945, Livesay 1991, Berton 1991, McCarthy 1990 & 1991, Blackman 1992). Other women have enlisted help in telling their life Western Arctic Women Artists — 33 stories (Cruikshank 1992, Bird & Sutherland 1991). Many contemporary indigenous women have contributed to volumes of writings compiled and edited by non-indigenous women (Brant 1984, A l l e n 1989, Perreault & Vance 1990, Jaine & Taylor 1992, Silman 1987, W a l l 1993). A l l of these new accounts help women become more visible. They form a patchwork of stories of individual women, which together create a growing quilt of women's experience. Other formerly invisible populations are also beginning to be seen and heard. Many new histories of Nor th American indigenous peoples have emerged (Yenne 1986, Comeau & Santin 1990, Sioui 1992, Thomas et al 1993, Frideres 1993, Josephy 1994). Others are limited to a particular region or subject (Brown 1980, Crowe 1991, Bancroft-Hunt & Foreman 1979, Wolfe 1988, Newman 1989, Blondin 1990, Clark, D. 1991, Barman et al 1986, Fisher 1992, DeSmet Project 1993, Maldaver 1993, Haig-Brown 1993, Spence 1993, Silversides 1994, Morrison and Germain 1995). Individual voices have also emerged from Canadian (Fumoleau 1973, Kirk 1986, Johnston 1988, Marsh 1991, Houston 1995) and world cultures (Chanda 1993, Goodwin 1994). A l l of these new voices alter the perception that history is the work of European males, allowing others to be seen and heard. The legacy of social science Social scientists use observation and description in the process of interacting with populations being studied. This research technique is known as participant-observation. They acknowledge participation in the community, and describe and/or photograph the people, culture and context 'up close'. One advantage of this kind of research on groups of people is that the researcher can talk to individuals and ask them questions in addition to observing their behavior. Participant-observation is one aspect of ethnography, studying culture through the lives of people Western Arctic Women Artists — 34 living within it, which is discussed in more detail later in this chapter. Each investigative method has its strengths and weaknesses, and the legacy of scientific investigation is still felt in most research today. The legacy of feminism This study is not focussed on the groups or cultures sharing life in the Western Arct ic , but on individual women's lives. It is grounded in feminist research methodology as explained by Lather (1991): Feminist researchers see gender as a basic organizing principle which profoundly shapes/ mediates the concrete conditions of our lives. . . . The overt ideological goal of feminist research is . . . to correct both the invisibility and distortion of female experience in ways relevant to ending women's unequal social position, (p. 71) Feminists discuss how far women have advanced toward equality in our societies (Segal 1987, Kaplan 1986). The women included in this study discussed the roles, choices, cares, and struggles, which are central to feminism, but they did not use the term 'feminism'. This study is consistent with feminist research practices outlined by Harding (1987b). Ethnographic methods are thought to be consistent with feminist goals as they rely upon cooperation, collaboration and discourse. Gluck and Patai (1991) discuss the cooperative and anecdotal way women talk to each other about personal and affiliative issues. Women's interviews, or oral histories, become more like conversations: "What emerges and develops through dialogue are issues—the chaotic and problematic process of two humans thinking and communicating" (Minister 1991 p. 36). One of the avowed purposes of this study from the beginning was to illuminate the lives of women whose artwork has been known for decades, and to document and add their unheard voices to the written history of the Western Arct ic region. Indigenous women traditionally made Western Arctic Women Artists — 35 artwork as part of their role in the family, and it was therefore their 'work'. The women of the Western Arc t ic often use the terms 'work' and 'artwork' to describe what they do. They do not differentiate it from other forms of work they do; it is all part of their role as individual women in families and as contributors to the larger community. Now that many women also sell their work, they have become part of the labor force working for pay, and art has become an economic activity. The rising awareness of the significance of women's artistic activities in Inuvialuit, Dene, Metis, as well as non-native cultures, parallels feminism's increasing attention to women's unpaid labor in the home. This research is based on discourse between women with different life experiences, in cooperation, collaboration and equality in a shared society. Listening to each other as Bateson (1989) points out, even to unpleasant memories, helps us understand each other. A s we reflect on our lives and the lives of others, we begin to see ourselves in new ways. The legacy of art and educational practice A r t education in this century has undergone great swings in practice which has affected the politics of funding. Dorn (1994) provides a brief history of these movements over the last two hundred years. In the last century art education has swung from teaching drawing, to child-centered education in taste and beauty, to art in everyday life, to instrumental learning and creative expression, to art as a discipline. Throughout much of written history, art has been defined, valued and written by white Eurocentric males. The arts of other world cultures were largely ignored (Janson 1969). The traditional art of women around the world was excluded or ignored as less or unimportant 'crafts'. Broude and Garrard (1982) explain: Along with the dominance of a masculine value system in art and art history has often come a blindness to female experience, or sometimes quite literally, to female existence, Western Arctic Women Artists — 36 even when the reality of women's roles is well documented by the art of a given place or period, (p. 5) Broude and Garrard (1982) conclude that for women "art is not conceived as something that is higher, or separate from, life, but rather as a functional part of life itself (p. 13). Feminism has prompted historians and educators to challenge the patriarchical system and consider new ways to think about art (Pollock 1988, Parker 1984, Chadwick 1990). Finally new histories are being written which include the achievements of women artists (Callan 1979, Blodgett 1985, N u n n 1987, Heller 1987, Weiner and Schneider 1989, Duncan 1989, Thompson 1994, Hal l , Tepper &. Thompson 1994, Trenton 1995), and reshape art history. A r t education was based on western ideals of 'high art' which was separate from life. Most of women's art was considered craft, and coincidentally was connected to everyday life. A number of teachers and scholars from around the world began to push for a broader approach to art education, including the art of women and cultures around the world (Young 1990, Collins and Sandell 1984 and 1996). Some of these scholars were supported by the U.S. National A r t Education Association ( N A E A ) . This research has been supported by a Doctoral Fellowship from the Getty Education Institute for the Arts. The Getty Education Institute for the Arts supported the research of numerous scholars who focussed on art disciplines: art making, art history, art criticism and aesthetics (Perkins 1994). W i t h drastic budget cuts overtaking schools, Getty supported the fight for the place of art in schools, introducing the term "Discipline-Based A r t Education," or D B A E (Getty 1985). They promoted continued dialogue on art education by holding national conferences in 1989, 1990, 1992, 1994 and 1996. Scholars researched and reported on the connections between thinking and art (Gardner 1983 and 1993), seeing, and creativity (Berger Western Arctic Women Artists — 37 1972, May 1975, Ealy 1995). Other scholars documented new approaches to world cultures in art and art history (Chalmers 1996, Smith 1993), and Irwin, Rogers, & Farrell (1996) point out the unique situation of indigenous peoples. The Getty Institute has also become increasingly committed to art education and cultural diversity. This legacy of art and education practices extends even to the Western Arct ic . A r t in schools in the 1960's supported other subjects and had little relevance to the art produced by a student's family. The Great Northern Arts Festival from 1989 perpetuated the myth, initially accepting only 'fine art' painting, printmaking and sculpture, excluding most women artists as craft persons until 1994. This was ironic, considering the Arts Festival was created initially by two non-native women (C. Alexander and S. Rose) with the goal of helping indigenous women show their work. Eventually other non-native women created the Yellowknife Festival of the Midnight Sun, and the Western Arctic Crafts Festival in Inuvik in cooperation with indigenous women, in order that all work by regional women could be shown. These legacies influence western thinking. They affect the way art is made, taught, bought, and sold across Nor th America as well as in the Arct ic . A sense of urgency A s I taught in the Western Arct ic I began to hear indigenous people express a sense of urgency in getting to know elders' stories, languages and traditional skills before they are lost. I began to build small research assignments into my classes, so my students would gain the skills of how to learn about another person's life. While a person is still alive, we can document events in shared lives, talk to others about them, or talk to them directly and record their words. We can even collect their letters, pictures, Western Arctic Women Artists — 38 articles or writings. A few of the women I interviewed wrote letters that add to the richness of their oral narratives. Life histories written after a person dies are more difficult partly because the information cannot be validated by them. Family and friends may relate stories and provide photos; documents they wrote, or that were written about them, can be examined, as can artifacts they made or treasured. Most ordinary folks leave few documents and letters other than birth, marriage, taxes, graduation and death records along with a few photos. Personal recollections are more important than lists. Several recent studies have featured interviews with living women of particular groups, some combined with writings about the women's life experiences (Brant 1984, A l l e n 1989, Perreault & Vance 1990, Silman 1987, Jaine & Taylor. 1992, Rountree 1993, Harrington 1993). In these accounts we hear the perspectives of individual women, from the past or present discussing events or issues in their lives. Their collective voices provide powerful first-hand accounts not just of their own lives, but of issues important to them, of the time and context in which the accounts emerged. Many of us have begun to recognize the value and urgency of listening directly and carefully to previously unheard voices while they are still in our midst. I first understood this sense of urgency ten years ago, when my sisters and I realized that our mother was dying. W e wanted to know more about her life before the Alzheimer's took all her memory. W e dug out old photos and got her to tell us what she remembered, and began tape recording her recollections. I wish I had also videotaped her, but at least we have a tape of her voice telling family stories, and albums full of old photos. Her brothers also helped to identify some of the people in the old Western Arctic Women Artists — 39 photos, but the loss of family information that died with her, prompted even more sense of urgency. A person speaking for him/herself is very powerful. A person's view is valid as their version of the truth, but may clash with other accounts of the same event. W e must remember that memory can be selective, so several accounts are better than one. A range of views provides the truest picture of an event, time or place, which is what this research provides. W h e n oral histories include movement and sound on videotape they become a very rich and accessible inheritance. Ethnography Ethnography is actually a group of methods, including participant observation and interviews, used by social scientists for studying cultures or groups of people. The word 'ethnography' comes from the Greek 'ethno' meaning race, people, or culture, and 'graphy' meaning the process of writing, drawing, describing, or representing. Ethnography was used by Margaret Mead to study people of'other' cultures, or 'we studying them' (Bateson 1984). Ethnography is characterized as initially exploratory and open-ended, involving the researcher in the social context of the culture being studied, using observation and participation in varying degrees. The many descriptions of ethnography provided by noted researchers, also reveal some of the issues. Hammersley and Atkinson (1983) provide their perspective: For us ethnography (or participant observation, a cognate term) is simply one social research method . . . drawing as it does on a wide range of sources of information. The ethnographer participates, overtly or covertly, in people's daily lives for an extended period of time, watching what happens, listening to what is said, asking questions; in fact collecting whatever data are available to throw light on the issues with which he or she is concerned, (p.2) Western Arctic Women Artists — 40 Clifford (1988) describes contemporary ethnography as different from cultural anthropology, in terms of our twentieth-century social milieu: Ethnography, a hybrid activity, thus appears as writing, as collecting, as modernist collage, as imperial power, as subversive critique. . . . One of the principle functions of ethnography is 'orientation'. . . . Twentieth Century ethnography reflects new 'spatial practices' new forms of dwelling and circulating. Twentieth century academic ethnography does not appear as a practice of interpreting distinct, whole ways of life but instead as a series of specific dialogues, impositions, and inventions. "Cultural" difference is no longer stable, exotic otherness; self-other relations are matters of power and rhetoric rather than of essence. A whole structure of expectations about authenticity in culture and in art is thrown in doubt, (p. 13/14) Tyler (1986) describes ethnography as investigation based on common sense, cooperation, and adaptation to situations of contemporary daily life. Clifford (1988) argues that modern ethnography can contribute to our understanding of cultures in the process of change, provide perspectives on the effects of so-called progress, and the invention and transformation of cultures through change. He grapples with questions of identity as relational and inventive. "Ethnographic texts are orchestrations of multivocal exchanges occurring in politically charged situations" (Clifford 1988, p. 10). Ethnographic methods require the researcher to 'be there', to be 'on site' or 'on location'. Clifford (1988) discusses the various roles of modern ethnography, voice and authority in studying 'other' peoples in a post-Colonial world. . . .the questions it raises are of global significance. W h o has the authority to speak for a group's identity or authenticity? What are the essential elements and boundaries of a culture? How do self and other clash and converse in the encounters of ethnography, travel, modern interethnic relations? What narratives of development, loss, and innovation can account for the present range of local oppositional movements? (p. 8) Ethnography can help to answer these questions by going to the source and listening to the peoples within a culture or community. It can adapt to the needs of various groups, Western Arctic Women Artists — 41 communities, and/or cultures, and allow a researcher to use the tools and techniques which best fit the situation (Hammersley &. Atkinson 1983). The group of women artists included in this study provide insights into life in changing arctic communities through their stories. The focus is on them and their lives rather than on the cultures of the Western Arctic. This study began with an open-ended search for information, and uses a range of ethnographic methods to study the lives of individual women, presenting multivocal perspectives on the education and art of Western Arct ic women. Community support In the Spring of 1992, when I first contemplated this research, I wrote to a number of people in the Western Arct ic asking for letters of support for the project. I received a number of letters back (see Appendix 1), and I was surprised at the strength of the positive response I received. The President of Arctic College, Mark Cleveland, now Deputy Minister of Advanced Education in the N W T , offered College housing during the summers. The Council on the Status of Women wrote saying this research project was long overdue, and Jane Dragon, a Chipewyan school counsellor in Fort Smith who I later interviewed, also wrote a letter of support. Yukon College offered Research Associate status, and a Whitehorse newspaper offered to publish articles I sent them on the topic. The Government of the Northwest Territories Department of Education, Curriculum Division, offered to help publish a future book for use in the schools. A n arctic magazine Up Here offered to publish articles on the project. However, the N W T Arts Council turned down my request for research funding, saying they'd like to see the research done, but couldn't help with expenses because it was related to a degree. They said they might consider assisting with publication of a book 'down the road'. I proposed my idea to business people, and Western Arctic Women Artists — 42 two bookstore owners in Inuvik and Fort Smith said they'd help with publishing a book anyway they could. W h e n I talked to N W T women and my former students, they said "It's about time someone asked us our opinion." U B C Ethics Review, and N W T Science Institute In the Spring of 1992,1 applied to the University of British Columbia Behavioural Research Ethics Board for permission to conduct the study, even though I had not yet submitted my proposal to my committee. I prepared consent letters with a tear-off portion at the bottom for the women to sign. The letter explained the study to the women, the tear-off portion for my use had a consent statement and a place for them to sign their name, address and date. I wanted to take advantage of the opportunity to work in Inuvik that summer, and U B C faculty advised me to 'go and collect everything you can'. I was already in Inuvik when I received a conditional permit from the Ethics Board. The original permit stated I was to ask permission of local Band Councils before talking with any women. I talked with Bev. Lennie, an Inuvialuit former student about it (later interviewed), and she wrote a letter to the U B C Behavioural Research Ethics Board in support of my study. She explained that the Western Arct ic is different from the situation in southern Canada. She firmly explained that in the Arct ic there are few reserves, that in Inuvialuit communities there are no Band councils, and that the indigenous women can speak for themselves or say 'no' quite well, so permission from male-dominated councils, where they exist, is not needed in this region. After a few weeks the U B C Behavioural Research Ethics Board granted permission for me to pursue the study in Inuvik, interviewing women over a period of three years. Western Arctic Women Artists — 43 The Science Institute of the Northwest Territories also required that I apply for a research licence, and that I report to them on my research activities each year. Beginning in 1992,1 applied for a N W T Research licence under my former married name Delisi and was granted permission to interview women in the Western Arct ic both in 1992 and 1993 in the Fort Smith and Inuvik regions (see Appendix). However, in the third year, 1994, the Science Institute regulations changed, and my permit required me to write to all small communities I wanted to visit, and ask permission of the mayor to talk to certain named individuals. So, I wrote to Aklavik, Fort McPherson, Arct ic Red River (now Tsiighetchic), Tuktoyaktuk, Holman and Paulatuk, asking if I could visit, including the names of resident women I wanted to talk to. Only Tuktoyaktuk replied and granted permission, so I was not allowed to travel to the other communities and talk to more women as I wanted to in 1994. However, I had already talked to a number of women from these communities in the previous two summers, either while I was visiting there, or while they were in Inuvik. The Town of Inuvik is the regional center for shopping, sports events, medical and dental visits so families are always coming in and out from outlying areas. I could talk to people I already knew while they were in Inuvik. The airfares to communities like Holman and Paulatuk are very high, and I could not afford to go there. I was limited to the women I could talk to in Inuvik, and with the added help and contacts of my former students, I was able to arrange to talk to many women while they were in Inuvik. Ethnographic research in an arctic setting The women included in this study provide multiple views of life as individual women artists living in the Western Arctic. They were chosen generally on the basis of recognition as Western Arctic Women Artists — 44 artists (or arts teachers/organizers) either by their communities, or through selection by their home communities to participate in two arts festivals in Inuvik, N W T : The Great Northern Arts Festival, and the Western Arctic Crafts Festival. The interviews were recorded on video and audiotape to allow the women's voices to be heard individually and directly, and to assist later study on the above issues. Supporting documents such as notes, letters, newspapers, booklets, government publications, pictures and archival materials were also gathered, and used to provide background information and documentation. The primary sources for this research project were approximately thirty women artists. Secondary sources were approximately 15 women who were arts organizers and teachers. In all, I talked with more than 45 women, representing fairly equal numbers from the three main cultural heritage groups: Inuvialuit, Dene, and non-native, with a few Metis, and a few Inuit from the Eastern Arct ic . Many of these women I saw every summer for five years. Others I formally interviewed only once, but I saw them in town, talked with them informally, and kept notes on changes in their lives. A participant observer In Chapter One I explained how in 1992 I went to Inuvik by way of Fort Smith and Yellowknife. Once in Inuvik I felt the pull between the stances and roles of participant, observer, tourist and respectful visitor. I was hired to work at the Festival so I was a participant working within the community, which also gave me an introduction to all the artists. I was able to observe people and activities unobtrusively in my work with the Festival, while I was not actively doing research. I was asked to document the Festival on video for the Festival Board, so my videotaping had a dual role, and sometimes I had to choose which would predominate. A t least Western Arctic Women Artists — 45 one woman was confused by my asking her for an interview; she thought it was for the Festival. A t times language was a problem in understanding the artists clearly. I walked everywhere, which allowed me to observe the community in action, even though I was bothered by blackflies and mosquitoes. Observation: The Pokiak River Festival In 1993 Bev and Johnny Lennie took me with them and four of their children in their boat over to Aklavik to the Pokiak River Festival. Aklavik is an old traditional community with a mix of Dene and Inuvialuit peoples, and is across the Mackenzie delta from Inuvik. Along the way we stopped at old campsites and saw log homes and boats disintegrating in the elements. I felt the sense of history and an urgency to get these sites documented before they were completely gone. After six hours in a small outboard boat, we approached an island with a big open space where many boats were tied up. W e could hear music playing and saw smoke rising from fires. W e could see canvas tents set up all round, most of them were open and elders were sitting inside visiting or playing cards, while other tents had food cooking. Children were playing all around, and everyone seemed happy and relaxed. I was aware of maybe a hundred people, almost all indigenous, and I was a stranger, one of perhaps five non-native people there. I felt very 'out of place' and that I stuck out, so I stayed close by the Lennies, who knew everyone and greeted them warmly. I felt that I was accepted as a stranger as long as I was with them. As we walked through the tents I noticed that most of the elder women wore kerchiefs on their heads, and traditional decorated parka covers. Some babies were dressed in traditional parka covers too, but the middle generations of people all wore store-bought clothes. The only sign of indigenous traditional clothing was in some of their footwear, Western Arctic Women Artists — 46 mukluks with rubbers worn over the soles. We all went to watch the dancing. A country band from Edmonton began to play a limbo, and everyone from grandmas to little kids lined up to try to wiggle under the bar. The mix of cultures and generations was astonishing to me. Dene and Inuvialuit people in parkas doing the limbo to a country band, on an island in the middle of the Pokiak River north of the Arct ic Circle! I wanted so much to videotape, but it seemed disrespectful when I was their guest at what seemed like a large family gathering. W h e n the Lennie's oldest daughter, Crystal (age 15), asked if she could use my video camera, I said 'sure'. I showed her how to work it, and she spent the next two hours videotaping things I felt I couldn't. The subject of her footage was different from what I would have captured, and provides an 'insider' perspective. Later we visited Bev's folks in their house in Aklavik, and I took lots of photos of the kids and family there. The conflict I felt was between my several roles as a participant. The Lennies had taken me along as their friend, so it was okay to observe, but not to behave like a disrespectful tourist. I took photographs with my good camera and natural shots of the Lennie family together, and of children (see fig. 7). Observation: A Mackenzie Delta Cabin O n the way back from Aklavik, Bev's parents followed in their boat, and we all stopped at a cabin owned by Johnny's Uncle Sam and Aun t Margaret Lennie. It is about 20 miles by boat from Inuvik, with no electricity or plumbing, and they live there year round. They bring tourists out from Inuvik to experience life on the land, cook them a meal and talk about traditional ways. Again I felt the conflict between my role as a guest and a researcher. The men went off to check the fish nets, while Margaret showed us their new metal storage shed, her sewing projects, and Western Arctic Women Artists — 47 Fig. 7: Pokiak River Festival friends, June 1993, Holly 6k Katherine Lennie, right. the furs she was preparing for use in sewing. The men brought back several whitefish which Margaret cleaned. The researcher in me wanted to take pictures and video, but as their guest I couldn't. Later as we were sitting inside their cabin, Margaret made bannock and tea on the wood stove. Then she showed us some fifty-year-old photos that someone had sent her to help identify people. The women talked and laughed while the men talked about other old times and ways. I wanted to tape it, so I gave Crystal the video camera, and she shot footage that I could not take myself. These two observations will be used as examples in the following discussion. The techniques of ethnography in practice: participant and/or observer A brief discussion of the various techniques used in ethnography will show how it is used in this study. The variation between the two terms participant and observer runs from extremes of 'complete participant' to 'complete observer', with many situations in between. The attitude Western Arctic Women Artists — 48 and role of the researcher can be fairly involved or fairly detached. Hammersley and Atkinson (1983) state that "Everyone is a participant observer, acquiring knowledge about the social world in the course of participation in it" (p. 106). Alexander says: T o discuss participant observation and ethnography together is to recognize the substantial overlap between the two. Participant observation is a group of methods that stresses observation in the setting, informant interviewing, respondent interviewing, document analysis, artifact analysis, and informal counting of events. (1982 p.63) The women included in this study were all participant observers of Western Arct ic society, providing their perspectives on their lives and the community from their unique vantage points. A s the researcher asking questions, I was also a participant observer with another unique perspective. Observation: frames and lenses One of the key ways ethnographers collect information is by observing and taking notes. A n early form of noting observations was by drawing diagrams and pictures of a site. The researcher is an integral part of the research-it is s/he that frames the process and has to 'take note' of what is important. Berger (1972) says ". . . the way we see things is affected by what we know or what we believe. . . . we only see what we look at. To look is an act of choice." (p.8) A l l that we see cannot be noticed, however, so we make further choices in deciding what to note or observe. Once something is noticed visually, then it must be described using language and writing. Thus, a number of frames have already filtered and focussed our vision before we begin to actually write something down. The same is true of taking pictures. Both still photographs, movie film and video provide greater observational power than taking notes and drawing pictures. They can also be analysed from different perspectives once the researcher is 'back home'. Still the researcher is holding the Western Arctic Women Artists — 49 Fig. 8: Mackenzie Delta year-round cabin of Sam and Margaret Lennie, 1993. be impolite for me to take video, while Crystal Lennie, a member of the community, took the camera and easily took video footage. However, what she pictured was somewhat different from what I would have captured. She got her friends laughing and making faces for her, but also captured images of parents and grandparents I could not approach. I found the video camera an invaluable tool for getting data related to the interview and setting, and also used it in later study of both the women and their context. Description: frames of language and point of view The note-taking and documentation of ethnography are detailed and time-consuming, even with the assistance of modern tools, but again, all information is framed by the researcher. W h e n researchers get to a new place and look around, there are many things to describe, and it is hard to know where to begin. Most ethnographers start with notes about place, date, time, their impressions, how they got there, etc. These very notes use words symbolizing meaning in a Western Arctic Women Artists — 50 impressions, how they got there, etc. These very notes use words symbolizing meaning in a particular language, so they are limited by the vocabulary and writing skills of the researcher even before the first word is written. One researcher might describe events and conditions quite differently than another. For instance, what do we mean when we say 'it's hot and humid'? Compared to what? Hot and humid are relative terms. When artists came to Inuvik from the high Arct ic they said Inuvik was 'too hot', but people from Vancouver said it was 'light and sunny'. People's past experience frames their description of conditions. Most visitors to Inuvik comment on the midnight sun, the flies and mosquitoes, while local people hardly notice these things. Geertz (1988) gives a good example of how the researcher frames description in the process of 'being there' in the field: The highly situated nature of ethnographic description—this ethnographer, in this time, in this place, with these informants, these commitments, and these experiences, a representative of a particular culture, a member of a certain class—gives to the bulk of what is said a rather take-it-or-leave-it quality. "Vas you dere, Sharlie?" as Jack Pearl's Baron Munchausen used to say. (Geertz, 1988 p.5) W h e n 'we are there', even before we begin writing or filming, our descriptions have already gone through several filtering frames. W h e n I was visiting the Pokiak River Festival and the fish camp with the Lennies, I was experiencing the visit through my cultural frame as an outsider. I was not born there, and people did not know me. I was a stranger, I did not know their customs, and I felt like I stuck out. I was fascinated, but both my past experience and my feelings framed how I perceived and described things, even where I pointed the video camera. New tools of observation and description In the last century a number of new tools have been invented which enhance the observation of the ethnographic researcher. The still camera was first used about mid-nineteenth Western Arctic Women Artists — 51 century. Fi lm without sound has been used to assist observation for most of this century, and with sound for several decades. Audio recording in various forms has been used for several decades and provides a reviewable audio record, capturing all sound, both what you intend to record--a person's voice—and that which you do not. Some of the film equipment is heavy, clumsy and requires electricity. The innovation of a small video camera with a battery pack has overcome many of these limiting factors. The video camera is especially useful in capturing 'thick description' because it records an interview both visually and with sound as the person speaks. It records facial expressions, hand gestures, vocal inflections, accents, close-ups of working techniques (summaries of M . Lennie, B. Ruben, J. & B.Trennert), and captures background sounds, activities, and surroundings. It can capture an entire interview in a foreign language along with the translation for later study (summaries of P. Ugyuk, and M . Aklukjuk). New technologies, including electronic devices that record both visual and sound images, like the video camera, enhance the observational skills of a researcher, and can also assist in learning new skills. Goldman-Segall (1991) points out how the video camera can serve as instructor for the researcher. She states that when she began her research, the camera helped to define the project: By having to decide when to turn the camera on, what to videotape, how to hold the camera, and most importantly, how to respond to the children with this invasive tool in my hands, I defined the scope of the project. . . . Even in those early stages of videotaping, I produced results that I had not been able to produce using fieldnotes and audiotape recorders. . . . Daily I would view both the content and the technique of my shooting. This combination of instant self-instruction and feedback . . . taught me how to look at my research environment without prejudging it, how to see what was worth filming and what was not. . . W i t h the camera, I could better respond to what the environment told me to record, (p. 476) Western Arctic Women Artists — 52 The new tools of video and audio tape overlap and have added greatly to the researcher's ability to observe both visual and auditory 'actions', but they require additional skills. Mead (1974) more than two decades ago questioned why there was still a tendency for researchers to use written words instead of new visual aids to observation, and suggests possible answers in the very nature of cultural change: M u c h of the fieldwork that laid the basis of anthropology as a science was conducted under conditions of very rapid change, where the fieldworker had to rely on the memory of the informants rather than upon observation of contemporary events. The informant had only words in which to describe the war dance that was no longer danced, the buffalo hunt after the buffalo had disappeared. . . . Another explanation has been that it takes more specialized s k i l l . . . to photograph and make films than it does to set a tape recorder going or to take written notes . . . . I believe the best work is done when filmmaker and ethnographer are combined in the same person, (p.5) Using a camera, tape recorder, or videocamera along with notes still means that what is 'shot' is framed by the researcher. These devices, valuable as they may be, cannot capture everything that is going on. W e point the camera in one direction, and we don't see what is going on behind the camera, nor can we leave the camera running indefinitely. Choices of what to notice and observe naturally have to be made. Goldman-Segall (1991) relates a number of details of camera technique for getting into the center of the action in an intimate way, including holding the camera on her hip or lap to ensure eye-contact; holding the camera close to the centre of action; following activity with the camera to recreate reality; recording a whole interaction; and providing contextual footage through stepping back and panning the whole scene. According to Geertz 'ethnography is thick description' (1973), and using photographs, film, and/or video can capture a great deal more than can be humanly noted by writing it down. These tools can be used to assist the researcher in building the 'thick description' that Western Arctic Women Artists — 53 characterizes good ethnography, but they do not reduce the conflict between roles. Overlapping sources of information reinforce each other, and provide description from several points of view. Interviews Interviews may take many forms, from unstructured conversations to formal structured ones. Each requires a different attitude and style of responding and questioning. Interviews are used widely in ethnography to gather information from various people and points of view. Every person has an individual point of view, so interviews tell us about the person as well as their ideas and perspective. Hammersley and Atkinson (1983) point out that in ethnographic interviews the agenda is not set in advance. The issues to be covered may be listed, but the style of dialogue, questions and answers, may vary greatly within an interview. The role of the interviewer may at times appear to be quite passive, but active listening is required. The interviews for this study were quite varied. Some were long and full of quickly-stated, detailed information, interwoven with life experience and events. Others were shorter, or constrained by language, or the time or place we found to conduct the interview. I had a set of general topics in my head that I wanted to discuss, and I talked to the women about them briefly when I set up an appointment for an interview. We reviewed them again before we started as the women signed the consent form. Sometimes the women told me their life stories without much prompting. Other women needed prompting so I asked a lot more questions. Finding a quiet place to talk During the festivals it was hard to find a quiet place to have a conversation, so some of the interviews have background talking and noise. We sometimes had to record in the midst of a Western Arctic Women Artists — 54 busy room full of people. Sometimes we found a quiet place away from crowds for awhile, and then we had to go out on the festival floor to look at the artist's work while they talked about it. W e tried to arrange this in the morning before the festival opened, but mornings were also my time to conduct the artist seminars for the Festival. Again, there was a conflict of roles. Some of the interviews were conducted outside on a fire escape or stairs (E. Klengenberg) which was quiet until a big truck went by, or a rock band began tuning up ( M . Igutsaq), or the wind or rain began to blow, or the bugs found us. Many were difficult to hear when I was transcribing. One interview stands out as an example of the difficulty of finding a quiet place to talk. I was to talk with Mary Trimble in her sister's home in Inuvik. W h e n I first arrived there seemed to be nobody else around besides Mary. I learned later that the children had been sent upstairs to their rooms to 'play quietly'. Mary was quite nervous at first, but relaxed as we talked. By the end of an hour, I could see in Mary's facial expression that something else was happening behind me. I noticed her eyes go to the stairs or to the couch. I kept the camera on her but turned around to look, and I saw that several children had crept down the stairs, and were sitting quietly both there and on a couch across from us, behind the camera. They listened intently to what their A u n t Mary had to say, and seemed fascinated that I was videotaping her. A t the end of our conversation, I turned the camera around and caught the faces of half-a dozen children before they scurried away. The children were an invisible part of the story, seen only in the concern on Mary's face which may have affected her remarks. The activity behind the camera reminded me that as the one holding and pointing the camera I was framing the story. Each interview I did made me more aware of what and how I was situating the women, and I tried to just get out of the way and Western Arctic Women Artists — 55 let their sharing of cultural expertise predominate so the focus was fixed on them, and I could learn. Interview techniques In my interviews with women artists in their homes, I wanted to show them I was truly interested in their work. I was friendly, brought cookies, and drank lots of tea with them. A t our pre-interview conversation, I asked their advice about the time frame and we discussed the general topics. I tried to put them at ease, and I listened intently. I was certainly aware of the power imbalance: I was the teacher, the Festival official, the researcher—which meant that I had to be extra careful not to exploit my positions of power. I was also 'white' or non-native, and was a college teacher, so some women were suspicious of me at first. However, as a mature woman with a rounded figure I presented a motherly or grandmotherly image, so my age and size helped me to fit in, and relate to many women, especially elders. Many women asked me if I had children, and they seemed to relax when I told them about my daughters. I learned to take my sewing and beading with me to interviews, and asked the women's advice, because I was struggling to bead a pattern I had created. Some of the women laughed at my attempts, and they took pity on me and showed me how to do it. That immediately put me in the position of student, and helped to throw the balance of power in their favor. Only two women refused to be interviewed. W h e n we were finished, I made sure to thank the women for their time and cooperation. I promised them a copy of the tape, and to keep in touch, but didn't promise anything quicker than I could deliver. I am not sure they understood how long it might take. Outside, I took contextual footage. W h e n I got home, I wrote notes in my notebook, and taped the permission Western Arctic Women Artists — 56 slip to it. Later I reviewed the tape and made notes. I carried my videocamera, other cameras, and notebooks with me everywhere. Technical skills of videotaping interviews I felt conflicts of role in videotaping, was I a friend, a camera operator, a technician or an interviewer? I tried to make the camera as unobtrusive as possible and still make sure it was working. Sometimes we set the camera on a table or a book and just let it run, but then I was not in control of the picture. A tripod is helpful for long interviews, to relieve the researcher from holding the camera, but control is also lost. If a woman wanted to show me details of her work, or demonstrate a technique to do something, I kept the camera in my hands so I could zoom in on the detail of what she was showing me. I asked advice and tried to encourage an atmosphere of collaboration. W h e n we were seated at a table, I tried to hold the camera steady on my elbow, but sometimes my arm went to sleep during an interview. I focussed the camera and then tried to hold it in place, while looking around it to maintain eye contact. Interviews conducted at the Festival site were quite different. In this public setting, people walked in front of the camera, or shouted close by. The videocamera records everything that is happening around it, while the lens is focussed only in one direction. So the possibility of a lot of unwanted sound coming from unseen sources is very real. These sounds can be louder than what the camera is focussed on-so an external microphone is useful. Writ ten description may also be necessary, especially if the sound is not clear on the videotape. Using the two techniques together, can help to cover all situations. Keeping a notebook and permission letters handy is also useful. Western Arctic Women Artists — 57 In videotaping interviews, there are many skills required of the researcher-physical skills like juggling the camera while remembering what questions to ask and being mindful of the needs of the person being interviewed. The researcher needs skills in language, speaking, writing, multiple meanings, and ethics, besides the instinct to know when things are right or wrong, a curiosity about people, and a genuine interest in the welfare of others. The skill of using a videocamera can be developed. The interview is a valuable method of collecting diverse perspectives on a range of subjects. It can follow a number of formats from collaborative to conversational. The video camera is a valuable tool for getting both sound and visual thick description. Collection of documents and artifacts Ethnographers collect documents for later study to also help round out the picture or to fill holes in the complete information when the researcher is 'back home'. These documents may include (and certainly did for this study) local newspapers, tourist publications, programs for events, letters or diaries, writings about old photos and the photos themselves, government reports, brochures about festivals, schools, cultural events, committee decisions, town rulings and bylaws, and sports and community events. Depending on the focus of the research, some or all of these may be very useful in providing other views on what is being studied. Hammersley and Atkinson (1983) advise that one cannot just use this material without being conscious of its source and purpose: . . . official documents and statistics should be treated as social products; they must be examined not simply used as a resource. To treat them as a resource and not a topic is to trade on the interpretive and interactional work that went into their production. . . (p.137) Western Arctic Women Artists — 58 Collection of artifacts is also necessary, and can provide valuable information about people and their culture. These might include various kinds of artwork, tools, clothing, toys, books, or other items used in daily life. Both documents and artifacts help provide background. For this study, I examined the artwork of the women and tried to buy one piece of artwork from each woman I interviewed, but found it impossible on a student budget. However, I did collect a number of artworks from the women, which illustrate both their perspective and growth. For example, Sue Rose showed me a realistic painting done five years before I first interviewed her. It is of an Inuvialuit woman cooking on the beach in Holman. Two years later I photographed her standing in front of an exhibit of her new work which was semi-abstract, incorporating beads and rocks. Last year her work was completely abstract. How could I choose which would best exemplify her development as an artist? I first bought the realistic one which showed the influence on her work of the lifestyle of the Inuvialuit community in which she lived. The semi abstract work showed the influence of northern materials beads, quills and stones. These artifacts add a lot of information to the verbal account of Sue's life. Validating women's words I asked myself continually how I was hearing and understanding the voices of the women included in this project. I first transcribed the early interviews exactly as they were spoken, and sent two copies back to each woman for checking and correction. I wanted to ensure that I understood what they had said and meant. One copy was for the woman to keep, the other was for her to correct and send back in a self-addressed stamped envelope. Most of these copies were not returned to me. A few copies did come back with a few corrections of names, and I made the suggested changes. Western Arctic Women Artists — 59 Some women were offended at the way the speaking looks when it is written out as they spoke it, and Ruth said it made her sound 'like an ignorant Indian!' Some women wanted me to correct their English, and I made minor changes to make the meaning clearer, but I did not change sentence structure. I chose not to edit the transcripts into a single standard English form, because then it would have been my style, my words, and not theirs. The women were not equally comfortable speaking in English, or familiar with this conversational form, which results is some unevenness in both style and quantity of words. However, I believe what comes across here is more true to the speakers: the words, the idiom, the order and manner is theirs. They are individual women, describing different lives, experiences, families, and artwork. A n y unevenness of articulateness and implied power is unintended. Some women demonstrate their power by speaking with just a few words, others use many words, I chose to honor their uniqueness. In order to focus on the essence of each woman's comments, with the permission of my dissertation committee, I removed my questions from the transcripts. The intention was to remove my disruptive questions, and let the women's accounts flow as complete uninterrupted stories. There is much debate in the methodological literature about the authorial voice. Some writers would say that taking my questions, or my voice, out of the transcript simply hides rather than eliminates the power of the editor. The purpose, however, in taking out my questions was not to hide myself or my role as editor, but to allow the women's voices to be heard in uninterrupted form. I acknowledge that I moved sections of text around somewhat within each summary in order to convey the chronology of each experience in a similiar order. I was careful not to change words or meaning, but I did eliminate repetitious comments, statements about personal matters, and comments the women wanted to make 'off the record'. The summaries Western Arctic Women Artists — 60 have therefore been edited to some extent, but I was very careful not to alter the meaning or the sense in which a statement was made. Analysis and writing W h e n I began analysis of the notes, interviews, and documents I collected, questions of point-of-view, language, style and inclusion/exclusion emerged. One of the most important is, who is really speaking? Clifford & Marcus (1986) say: The writer's 'voice' pervades and situates the analysis and objective, distancing rhetoric is renounced. . . . In classical ethnographies the voice of the author was always manifest. . . . A t best, the author's personal voice is seen as a style in the weak sense: a tone, or embellishment of the facts, (p. 12/13) Geertz (1988) discusses the issue of the author's position in Works and Lives : The question of signature, the establishment of an authorial presence within a text, has haunted ethnography from very early on . . . . Finding somewhere to stand in a text that is supposed to be at one and the same time an intimate view and a cool assessment is almost as much of a challenge as gaining the view and making the assessment in the first place. (p.9/10) It is impossible to separate the researcher or author from the report of her research. They are her observations, her notes, her views, her photos, and her words and style that form the summary conclusions about the work. However, with the cooperation of those interviewed, a researcher can commit to allowing all the individual perspectives to be heard, and one way to do that is to include minimally edited summaries or text of each woman's words, presented in the conversational form that is comfortable. Ethical issues in ethnographic methods Some important ethical questions run through ethnography which need to be clarified, though there are no easy answers. Ethics can be loosely defined as a system of moral principles or rules of conduct with respect to a certain class of human actions or a particular group or culture, Western Arctic Women Artists — 61 or the moral principles of an individual. There is more than one understanding of ethics, so the ethics of other cultures also require research. We must ask 'Whose ethical principles must we follow-theirs or ours?' How do we find out what the ethical principles are? It may not be easy to find out what theirs are, and we cannot assume that all our ethical principles are the same. W e dare not presume that all of us basically follow a 'Christian code of ethics' based on the biblical ten commandments and the 'golden rule'. Can we simply respect the human rights of each other when there are cultural differences in interpretation and practice? What are those basic human rights? Karl Heider (1976) said, "In science, the end cannot justify the means: results are only as sound as the methodology which produces them" (p. 16). Likewise in using ethnographic methods, the end cannot justify the means, so we must be aware of ethical considerations every step of the way. What an ethnographer does is loosely structured and based on trust, so the ethics of the researcher are of utmost importance. Patai in Gluck and Patai (1991) comments on the ethics of the interview: . . . many of us sense that ethics is a matter not of abstractly correct behavior, but of relations between people. The personal interview is, therefore, a particularly precise locus for ethical issues to surface—unless, that is, we are busy (as indeed we often are) supressing our awareness of those issues, (p. 145) There are times when ethical questions will be difficult to answer and will require more research, or at least delicate handling. For instance, in my interview with Margaret Lennie, she told me that Inuvialuit people believe they have to know a person really well before they can ask questions of them. In a flash of ethnographic insight, I realized that I had already conducted forty or more interviews and asked many questions without being aware of this belief. So there I was, sitting at her kitchen table as a perfect stranger, asking loads of questions, which was not Western Arctic Women Artists — 62 acceptable in her culture! I resolved to keep further questions to a minimum. But how would I be able to conduct research without asking any questions? There are ways and I resolved to discuss major topics ahead of time, and then allow them to comment freely. Some probes helped to keep the conversation focussed, and added other interesting information. Other specific ethical issues raised in the course of this study are discussed below. Framing the picture W e have to keep asking ourselves 'What are we leaving out?' 'Who are we leaving in?' The interview with Mary Trimble is one example: The ethnographer's concern is always for context. One's focus moves constantly between figure and ground'-like a zoom lens on a camera-to catch the fine de