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Art as negotiation: the reciprocal construction of meanings in the argillite carvings of Charles Edenshaw Ransom, Kelly Marie 1993

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ART AS NEGOTIATIONTHE RECIPROCAL CONSTRUCTION OF MEANINGSIN THE ARGILLITE CARVINGS OF CHARLES EDENSHAWbyKELLY MARIE RANSOMBA.. The University of British Columbia. 1987A THESIS SUBMITFED IN PARTIAL FULFILLMENT OFTHE REQUIREMENTS FOR THE DEGREE OFMASTER OF ARTSinTHE FACULTY OF GRADUATE STUDIESDepartment of Fine ArtsWe accept this thesis as conformingto the required standardTHE UNIVERSITY OF BRITISH COLUMBIADecember 1993© Kelly Marie Ransom, 1993!n presenting this thesis in partial fulfilment of the requirements for an advanceddegree at the University of British Columbia, I agree that the Library shall make itfreely available for reference and study. I further agree that permission for extensivecopying of this thesis for scholarly purposes may be granted by the head of mydepartment or by his or her representatives. It is understood that copying orpublication of this thesis for financial gain shall not be allowed without my writtenpermission.(Signature)_____________________________Department of Fe Ar4sThe University of British ColumbiaVancouver, CanadaDate DeC20, Jc193,DE-6 (2/88)ABSTRACTThe argillite carvings of Haida artist Tahaygen (Charles Edenshaw) can be viewed as a siteof interaction and negotiation between the producer— a Native artist who lived duringa time of tremendous cultural upheaval and change— and the consumer — curio collectors,anthropologists, and museum collectors who were members of the dominant Westernsociety. This thesis examines the intercultural exchange of various messages betweenproducer and consumer taking place within the object-site, with specific reference to threeexamples of Edenshaw’s argillite work.A discussion of the historical circumstances surrounding the production and consumptionof argillite carvings is first presented to suggest the various different significations thatthe intercultural art object can hold for both artist and buyer. A model for analyzing theexchange of messages in the object is then explained, and applied to three examples ofEdenshaw’s argillite carvings. By considering the perspectives of artist and collector duringthis process of interchange, I attempt to explain how meanings can be reciprocallyconstructed as part of a struggle, on the parts of producer and consumer, to assert bothindividual and cultural identities, needs and desires. The intercultural object, in light ofthis reciprocal process, becomes a politically-charged arena for the negotiation andrenegotiation of individual, societal and cultural positioning.TABLE OF CONTENTSAbstract iiTable of Contents iiiList of Figures ivCHAPTER ONEIntroduction: Dealing with the Intercultural Object 1CHAPTER TWOCharacterizing the Context of Production 12CHAPTER THREECharacterizing the Context of Consumption 243.1 The Argillite Medium 253.2 The Burgeoning Curio Trade 253.3 Anthropologists and Museum Collectors 293.4 Edenshaws Use of Myth and Crest Imagery 31CHAPTER FOURThe Reciprocal Construction of Meanings 35CHAPTER FIVEConclusion: Towards a Postmodernismof Resistance for the Intercultural Object 53Figures 57Notes 61Bibliography 66Appendix 72LIST OF FIGURESFigure 1 Argillite plateField Museum of Natural History. Chicago 57Figure 2 Argillite plateSeattle Art Museum. Seattle 58Figure 3 Argillite plateNational Museum of IreIand Dublin 59Figure 4 Argillite plateBritish Columbia Provincial Museum. Victoria 60Figure 5 Argillite plateUBC Museum of Anthropology. Vancouver 60APPENDIXAccession records. Field Museum of Natural History. Chicago 73Frisbee design, from the files of the Field Museum. Chicago 78iv1. Introduction: Dealing with “the Object”My work as a graduate student in art history has focussed on characterizing how NorthAmerican Native art has been codified and commodified in Western interpretive discoursesand institutional collections and exhibitions. I have been interested in how Native-madeobjects were coveted by collectors (first as curios and specimens, and later as craft aridfine art1)and how these objects came to function metonymically(Clifford 1986; Dominguez1986; Stewart 1984) as representative of entire cultures. The power of the object” inthese Eurocentric systems of representation is compelling. In museum collections andexhibits, and in the ensuing literature dealing with these collections, the materials gatheredfrom Native artists have been used to stand for” vast groups of people, to exemplify asocial totality of Native culture, to impart an ideological coherency to the diverse socialand political groups that make up Native populations. This profound discursive powerprompts one to wonder, ‘how can scholars, in the context of intercultural art history,deal with the object? Given the postcolonial crisis of authority, how can we find a wayto write and talk about art produced by individuals of another culture2?”The act of collecting Native-made objects (whether considered curios, artifacts, or art)has historically featured an almost fetishistic focus on the object.” Collection of theseobjects began during the first contacts between Native and European society in the 1500’s,atwhich timetheyweresoughtas”curiosities” of the exotic, untamed lndian3,and continuedthroughout the 1700’s and 1800’s as contacts between the two societies increased. Thezeal with which these objects were hunted, amassed and displayed in home interiors and“curio cabinets” during the late Victorian era is remarkable, and it has been suggested(Stewart 1984; Gordon 1984; Cohodas 1993) that this “curio craze” performed an importantK. Ransom- Art as Negotiation: The Reciprocal Construction of Meanings in the Argillite Carvings of Charles Edenshaw - 1993ideological function in European society. By appropriating Native objects as souvenirs oftheir own past, alienated Westerners sought to re-create a sense of inner authenticity,to repair a self-identity that had been damaged by rapid industrialization, urban populationexplosion and capitalist commoditization taking place during the Victorian era.Like private curio collecting, the discipline of ethnography has also, since its inception,centered its activity around “the object.” Indeed, James Clifford has characterizedethnography as the collection of cultures, whereby entire societies are themselves treatedas objects: objects to be studied, recorded and preserved (Clifford 1988: 218). During theso-called Museum Age of anthropology from 1880 to 1920 (Sturtevant 1969:622), theethnographic focus on objects became particularly pronounced. During this period,anthropologists and ethnographers in the New World became overwhelmingly concernedwith gathering material culturefor institutional collections, a concern that hasbeen outlinedin great detail by Douglas Cole in Captured Heritage: The Scramble for Northwest CoastArtifacts (1985). Like the private curio hunters, these collectors were motivated by thediscourse of preservation, whereby ostensibly primitive” cultures were seen as livingancestors of modern European society, a fossilized glimpse into modern man’s past thatwas rapidly disappearing under the influence of Western settlement. The collection ofceremonial and other “traditional” objects, as well as skulls and bones often blatantlystolenfrom Native gravesites, was considered of paramount importance to the scientific studyand preservation of indigenous cultures.Franz Boas, celebrated founder of professional anthropology in the United States (Jacknis,1985:75), was a major proponent in this effort. His development of anthropological methodbased on rigorous documentation techniques and attention to gathering culturalinformation such as myths and songs — in addition to objects — was founded on this desire“to preserve.” Cole describes how Boas, in gathering objects and information from theHaida during the Jesup North Pacific Expedition of 1897, concentrated on the scientificevaluation of specimens” carried out very much in the spirit of preservation:2K. Ransom- Art as Negotiation: The Reciprocal Construction of Meanings in the Argillite Carvings of Charles Edenshaw - 1993Boas’ team devoted much of their time to mythology and physical anthropology.especially to making plaster of paris casts of Indians’ heads (a new practice andjudged as ‘the only feasible method of permanently preserving the vanishing typeof American Native.’) (Cole 1985:152).And, as was noted as early as 1957 (Barbeau 1957: 177), the choices Boas and otheranthropologists made about which objects to collect determined what would later be seenas “traditional culture.” By selecting certain kinds of objects based on what was deemedto be authentic” Indian culture, and sometimes actually instructingthe Native artist abouthow to achieve thisauthenticity4,institutional collectors imposed their own biases to delimittradition, often ignoring contemporary change in their efforts to preserve what was dyingout, to reconstruct what had been lost. The collection of objects can thus be seen as aprocess of actually creating tradition, of defining and fixing” entire cultures by metonymy.This creation is based not so much on contemporary cultures, but on reconstructions ofNative “tradition reflecting the desiresand needsof the Euro-American/Canadian collectors(Dominguez 1986).Once within the context of a museum collection, moreover, the object is subjected toadditional codification in the discourses of museum classification and exhibition5.Thedisplay of cultures, dependent as it is on the objects collected, becomes primarily basednot on the historically specific sociopolitical context of the producing culture itself, buton the Eurocentric contexts of”invented tradition” (Hobsbawm and Ranger 1983) imposedon the culture during the collecting process. Susan Stewart has observed, further, thatthe linear ordering of the collection overrides the individual social history of the object’sproduction and appropriation. Through the obfuscation or erasure of original social contentand the imposition of a new content, the narrative of production is replaced by the narrativeof classification. The quintessential expression of such a recontextualization is the museumcollection, for it is the museum, in its representativeness, which strives for authenticityand for closure of all space and temporality within the context at hand.” (Stewart 1984:161).3K. Ransom- Art as Negotiation: The Reciprocal Construction of Meanings in the Argillite Carvings of Charles Edenshaw - 1993A similar closure is enacted on the object by writing. The text — whether ethnographical,art historical or otherwise — seeks to encode the object in signs, to render the ineffableobject comprehensible by bringing it into the world of language. Michel de Certeau discussesthis process as a metaphor for the enscription of Native American culture by the colonizingEuropean power in ethnographic texts and travel literature:...What is initiated here is a colonization of the body by the discourse of power.This is writing that conquers. It will use the New World as if it were a blank, savage”page on which Western desire will be written. It will transform the space of theother into a field of expansion for a system of production.... this writing fabricatesWestern history (de Certeau 1988: xxv. His emphasis.).Although his nature-versus-culture construction is perhaps an example of Eurocentricsimplification, de Certeau’s point here is nevertheless a valuable one. Since initial contact,Native cultures have been enscribed” by ethnographers and explorers into written texts.Myths, stories, songs and histories have been recorded in writing as part of the processof preservation discussed above, and as part of an attempt to contain and control theOther through the signifying power of language. In this way, writing can be said to havebeen a powerful weapon of the colonial enterprise6.Much of the writing about Northwest Coast objects in particular has ventured to interpret”these objects to reveal an underlying meaning.” Marjorie Halpin (1993) has observed thatthis trend is largely an outgrowth of the Boasian paradigm of representationism7,wherebyall Northwest Coast art is assumed to represent something external, such as an animalor mythical creature, with the role of the interpretor being to discern what is beingrepresented. According to Boas, the meaning of any Northwest Coast image can bedetermined through identification of recognized symbols” or pictorial elements:...the fundamental rule underlying the art is that the characteristic parts of theanimal must be shown. Thus a beaver, which is characterized by the large incisorsand by the tail, must contain these elements, no matter how the rest of the bodymay be treated. The killerwhale must show the large dorsal fin, no matter howthe rest of the body may be presented (Boas quoted in Halpin 1993: 5. Emphasesin the original.).4K. Ransom- Art as Negotiation: The Reciprocal Construction of Meanings in the Argillite Carvings of Charles Edenshaw - 1993Halpin notes how Boas rejects conflicting Native explanations of designs because theydo not coincide with his understanding of these recognized symbols, which “must” be usedas clues to the true meaning of the image. This interpretive approach has beenoverwhelmingly influential in the field of Northwest Coast art study to date.An example of the ongoing power of the “Boasian project” (Halpin 1993: 5) is Bill HoIm’spivotal Northwest Coast Indian Art:An Analysis of Form (1965). HoIm’s book has provenvaluable in stimulating interest in and garnering attention for Northwest Coast art amongNatives and non-Natives alike. However, its claim to reveal the underlying rules of thenorthern formline style is problematic. Based on the representationist reading initiallyasserted by Boas, HoIm’s analysis rivets the art neatly to an understood framework of seeing,and provides a system for the usage of specific design elements based on a meticulousscientific coding of four hundred museum “specimens” considered to represent traditionalart. His codification of the artform is presented as a closed set of rules for understandingthe artist’s intentions, such as the definitive identification of various animal forms solelyby noting certain recurring design elements. In this system of “reading,” meaning isconsidered to be stable, fixed and unambiguous; HoIm’s interpretation of formline styleis presented as an objective scientific effort that reveals the “truth” about what theseimages mean. His analysis has provided a how-to textbook for some Native artists seekingto re-create the traditional formline style, and has thus had considerable power in “creating”what is understood to be traditional formline design, and what is continuing on as northernNorthwest Coast design today8. Recent findings have emphasized the problematic natureof HoIm’s system, however, by expanding the canon of “traditional” Northwest Coast art.The infrared photography and other image recovery techniques developed and implementedover the past year by Bill McLennan and Lyle Wilson at the UBC Museum of Anthropologyhave enabled the discovery of previously unseeable painted compositions on wooden boxesand panels from collections across North America and Europe. Many of these images donot neatly fit the rules as set out by HoIm. What was previously thought of as a fixed5K. Ransom- Art as Negotiation: The Reciprocal Construction of Meanings in the Argillite Carvings of Charles Edenshaw - 1993system for understanding traditional Northwest Coast design, though of course still valuable, will now need to be reconceptualized.HoIm’s system of “rules” is an example of Northwest Coast art scholarship based on theBoasian paradigm of representationism that has been intent on “fixing” the meaning ofimages by imposing a supposedly objective authority without being sufficiently self-conscious about that imposition. I think it is clear that, with recent developments in criticaland theoretical awareness (Jacques Derrida’s faulty metaphysics of the origin, RolandBarthes’ death of the author, etc.9), so—called “interpretations” of art that claim to reveala transcendental signified can no longer be seriously done. It has become similarlyproblematic to claim authority over the “voice of the Other” by uriselfconsciouslyinterpreting objects made by individuals who are members of another society.How then to deal with the object? Johannes Fabian articulates the difficulty inherent inthe process of “othering” that takes place in anthropological and art historical writingby characterizing the writer’s dilemma in the following terms: “if writing is part of a systemof intellectual and political oppression of the Other, how can we avoid contributing tothat oppression if we go on writing? Is there a guarantee that oppressors will be lessoppressive just because they become self-conscious?” (Fabian 1990:767-768). I must saythat I share Fabian’s unease about this seemingly inescapable complicity. From my ownposition within the discourse of Western art history, and asa Euro-Canadian, I have wrestledwith this dilemma throughout my graduate work. However, rather than choose not toparticipate in the discourse (which is certainly a viable though for me an unproductiveoption), I have attempted to find a way of accepting this complicity as the very meansof defusing, or at least diffusing, its associated oppressions. What I’ve been concernedwith in this project is contributing to a moving-forward of the discourse of interculturalart history from within that discourse attempting to open up a discussion of the presenceof the Native artist rather than creating a structure solely upon the exclusions perpetuatedin so much existing scholarship.6K. Ransom- Art as Negotiation: The Reciproca’ Construction of Meanings in the Argiflite Carvings of Charles Edenshaw - 1993My project is to focus on a selection of argillite carvings produced in the last two decadesof the 19th Century by Haida artist Tahaygen (Charles Edenshaw), and to explore howthese objects can be viewed as a site of interaction and negotiation between the producer— a Native artist who lived during a time of tremendous cultural upheaval and change— and the consumer — curio collectors, anthropologists, and museum collectors who weremembers of the dominant Western culture. I am aware that my choice of objects forexamination imposes a relational structure on these objects that essentially creates” ameaning itself10.Recognizing that this is unavoidable, I want to assert that my study shouldnot be accepted as an objective presentation of fact or an attempt to reveal some kindof “truth” message. What I’m trying to do in this project is to open up an area of discussionwhich I consider to have been closed down in prior scholarship; to create a space for talkingabout other possibilities, other voices and other messages intermingling within the object.My choice of “examples” is openly based on this agenda.The objects I have selected are carvings in argillite, a black, slate—like stone traditionallythought to be quarried only on Haida lands, but actually also found in a number of otherloci11. Argillite pipes, small figure sculptures, plates, bowls and compotes were carved bythe Haida for sale to European traders perhaps as early as the 1820’s (MacNair and Hoover1984: 14). These objects were collected by explorers, traders, settlers, curio hunters, andprivate curio dealers from across Europe and America, and now reside in private and museumcollections all over the world. The particular argillite objects I will discuss in this paperare attributed to Charles Edenshaw on the basis of stylistic analysis and limitedcontemporaneous documentation. An identifiable “hand” for Edenshaw has been definedand codified bysuch scholars as Holm, and mostsources readily agree on this identificatio&2.Existing art historical scholarship dealing with argillite objects has been almost exclusivelyconcerned with identification of iconography and individual “hands” such as Edenshaw’s,and discussion of production and collection dates. I am thinking here of such work asCarole Kaufmann’s Changes in Haida Indian Argillite Carvings(1969); Robin Wright’s work7K. Ransom- Art as Negotiation: The Reciprocal Construction of Meanings in the Argillite Carvings of Charles Edenshaw- 1993on argillite pipes (1977, 1979, 1980); Leslie Drew and Douglas Wilson’s Argillite: Art ofthe Haida (1980); HoIm’s 1967, 1981. and 1983; and Peter MacNair and Alan Hoover’sMagic Leaves: A History of Haida Argillite Carving (1984). Many of these texts have alsoexpanded upon identification of iconography to interpret the images carved in Haidaargillite objects as a reflection of social and cultural changes. Carol Sheehan’s 1981 Pipesthat Won’t Smoke, Coal that Won’t Burn is an example of this methodological tendency,although the other writers I mentioned also participate, to varying degrees, in thisinterpretive investigation.Iconographic analysis is a traditional strategy of art historical decontextualization thathas recently come under attack, particularly in the case of intercultural art objects. RuthPhillips has identified one of the reasons for this: There are so many problems with thetextual sources available to us in studying Native American historic art that they call intoquestion the whole iconographic process.” (quoted in Cohodas 1993: 98). These problems,in particular, call up questions of authority: who is to say what these images represent?Are we to suppose that institutional experts” are privy to special knowledge about theirsignifications? Add to this the theoretical problems now generally associated withunselfconscious “readings” that I mentioned previously, and you have a pretty strongargument for avoiding iconographic interpretation altogether, particularly when it comesto intercultural art histories wherein artist and historian are not members of the samesociety. Discerning the “meaning” of objects (as many of these art historical texts haveindeed attempted to do, based on iconography) becomes impossible to accomplish, notonly because of the problems associated with iconographic interpretation, but also becausethere are a multitude of other things to consider when dealing with an interculturalexchange:Meaning is a much broader issue than iconography. In the marketplace forintersocietal curios, value had to be determined on the basis of significationsince the objects were made for display rather than utilitarian functions.Indeed, collectors were purchasing the significations of the object much morethan its material form (Cohodas 1993: 98).8K. Ransom- Art as Negotiation: The Reciprocal Construction of Meanings in the Argiflite Carvings of Charles Edenshaw - 1993The intercultural object, made by a producer in one culture expressly for consumptionin a second culture, means differentthingsto artistand buyer.The consumer’s understandingof the signification of the object is based on his or her own individual, social and culturalcontext, as well as on the needs and desires that initially mobilize the act of consumption.To the producer, the signification of the object is a function of market demand and hisor her own motivations (both individual and cultural) for making art. These significationsmeet and intermingle within the object-site, creating reciprocal “meanings” that cannotbe interpreted as a univocal and unambiguous expression, but that reveal themselvespolysemically13 in the web of significations generated by both producer and consumer.My agenda is to characterize this web of meanings that is reciprocally spun by artist andconsumer around the argillite carvings I have chosen to discuss. In this project, I will beparticularly concerned with demonstrating how “the object” can be seen as a product andprocess of negotiation between producer and consumer based on the intercultural exchangeof various messages. Note my emphasis on the process of message exchange rather than onmeanings; this is an important distinction. I cannot (of course) fully characterize the contextfrom which Edenshaw perceived his work (i.e. understand his intentions), and cannot attemptto discover and proclaim the true “meaning” of his art. What I can do, however, is speak tothe interchange of ideas between Edenshaw and the Euro-AmericanlCanadian buyers of hisargillite carvings. I can do this because “these objects are intersocietal in conception, madeby members of one society to communicate to consumers in another society and thus designedin part to convey messages the consumers wished to receive.” (Cohodas 1993: 98). Intendedfor consumption by Euro-Americans, Haida argillite carvings serve to convey messages thatwere intended to cross the cultural boundary. I will thus take a look at how these exchangesoperate to create multiple meanings, structuring my study around identification and discussionof the process with which these messages are transferred.My methodological approach, to view the object as a site of intercommunication andnegotiation between producer and consumer, is inspired by the work of L3ennetta Jules9K. Ransom - Art as Negotiation: The Reciprocal Construction of Meanings in the Argiflite Carvings of Charles Edenshaw - 1993Rosette who has written about African “tourist art” in terms of its semantic constructionwithin the economic system of commodity exchange. Her model is based on the assumption,after Michel de Certeau, that “the consumption of art and culture is an interpretive process.”(de Certeau quoted in Jules-Rosette 1984: 196). According to Jules-Rosette, consumersdo not receive images passively, but participate in their creation through semanticcontributions made in the purchasing decision. Similarly, the producers of “tourist art”are not limited to a mechanical response to market demand, but are engaged in a dialoguewith the consumer in constantly reassessing and rearranging the culturally encodedpossibilities for communicating particular messages (Jules-Rosette 1984: 56). Like Jules-Rosette’s objects of study, argillite carvings are “tourist art”: commodities produced bya Native person specifically for sale to White buyers. They are commodities by destination,in Jacques Maquet’s terminology (Appadurai 1986:15) and, as such, they have been treateddifferently by anthropologists and art historians than objects considered to be more“traditional.” A reductionist model of art—for—sale has structured this bias, in which “touristart” is seen as a mere derivation from the more “authentic” forms of traditional or “high”art. Argillite works have been dismissed as a mechanical response of Native artists to thedemands of their market, an approach that ignores the rich intermingling of messagestaking place in the commodity as a result of its intercultural exchange.I will begin my paper with a discussion of the historical circumstances surrounding theproduction and consumption of Edenshaw’s argillite work in order to present a way ofunderstanding the various different significations that the intercultural art object can holdfor both artist and buyer. I will then move to a formulation of my own methodology forexamining the interaction of producer and consumer within the object-site, and applythis methodology to three of Edenshaw’s argillite works, carved plates created by the artistin the 1880’s or early 1890’s. These pieces, somewhat of a stylistic aberration in Edenshaw’scorpus because of their highly narrative mode of expression, can be seen as a site andprocess of message exchange between producer and consumer, wherein the relationshipbetween the two is actively negotiated and restated. By analyzing the dual perspectives10K. Ransom- Art as Negotiation: The Reciproca’ Construction of Meanings in the Argillite Carvings of Charles Edenshaw - 1993of artist and collector during this process of interchange, I intend to demonstrate howmeaning is reciprocally constructed as part of a struggle, on the parts of producer andconsumer, to assert both individual and cultural identities, needs and desires. In so doing,I seek to provide an alternative to existing interpretations of argillite carvings, and contributeto a necessary reconsideration of Northwest Coast tourist art” objects and their importanceas markers of individual and societal change.11K. Ransom- Art as Negotiation: The Reciprocal Construction of Meanings in the Argillite Carvings of Charles Edenshaw - 19932 Characterizing the Context of ProductionCharacterizing the social, political and cultural context in which Edenshaw worked involvesa detailed review of theartist’sown biographical history,aswellasa more general discussionof the history of cultural contact between the Haida and Euro-Americans on the NorthwestCoast. Both of these projects have been taken on in the past, the latter most notably inWayne Suttles (1990), Ruth Smith (1983), Mary Lee Stearns (1981), and Florence EdenshawDavidson in Margaret Blackman (1981)14; and as secondary to art study in Kaufmann (1969),Drew and Wilson (1980), Sheehan (1981), and MacNair and Hoover (1984). The formerproject involving study of the Edenshaw family in particular has been approached mostusefully bySusan Thomas (1967) and Blackman (1981), though the Edenshawsare mentionedand briefly discussed by many of the writers dealing with Haida ethnohistory of this period.Contemporaneous texts on the Haida include John Swanton (1905), George Dawson (1880),James Swan (1876), Newton Chittenden (1884), Boas (1890), William Collison (1915) andCharles Harrison (1925), each of whom, however briefly, also mentions the Edenshaw family.The received histories of Charles Edenshaw from these various ethnographic, art historical,biographical and/or popular sources create a conglomerate portrait of the artist that isof questionable use in characterizing the production context. The writers cited above areall non—Native, and their Eurocentric texts necessarily create a limited and biased pictureof Haida society. Nevertheless, these sources are all we have to work with and must beconsidered essential to discussions of Haida history or the individual biography of Edenshaw.How to work with this dilemma? These histories must be treated critically, and I intendto follow Derrida’s suggestion by presenting them ‘under erasure”15 to indicate both theirdenotations (that which is stated outright) and their connotations (that which is not stateddirectly, but communicated indirectlyth rough the constructions, stereotypes and exclusionsmade by the writer in each of the various texts). In this way, rather than re-presentinga narrative of Haida history based on problematic sources, I intend to pursue a non-linear12K. Ransom- Art as Negotiation: The Reciprocal Construction of Meanings in the Argillite Carvings of Charles Edenshaw - 1993discussion of how the history of Haida society, and the Edenshaw family in particular,has been constructed in both primary and secondary literature. Rather than attempt tofully characterize Edenshaw’s own individual and societal perspective based on thisdiscussion (an impossible task), I will highlight some of the features of the constructedcontext of production that may prove helpful in discussing Edenshaw’s role, as producer,in the reciprocal construction of meaning taking place in his argillite work. Note that becausethe contextual information gathered from these primary and secondary sources providesas much insight on the consumer as on the producer, investigating the historical situationas constructed by observers may give us a useful (if necessarily limited) understandingof the particular interests Edenshaw and his various Euro-American/Canadian buyersbrought to the negotiation table.Most sources agree that Charles Edenshaw lived from about 1839 (note that this dateis ambiguous because it was not recorded contemporaneously) to 1920, spending mostof his life in the town of Masset on the northernmost of the Queen Charlotte Islands,Graham Island’6.Hisfather, K7ajangk’una, was of the Kwaduwawasor Nikwnqiwe [Davidsonin Blackman, 1982: 60-61; Barbeau’s Naikkum-qegawai (Barbeau 1957: 90); Swanton’sR 13 (1909: 270); (“Those born at Rosespit”)] clan of the Raven lineage from Skidegate.His mother, Qawkuna, was of the Shongaith family of the Sta’ stas Eagle clan [Swanton’sE 21 (1909: 275); also known as Stast’a - aas Saang gaahl (Harris 1991 :)] centered inK’yuusdaa or Kiusta on the northwest tip of the island. His maternal uncle, who had inheritedthe name of It-in-so or Eda ‘nsa (deriving from a Tlingit word meaning “melting ice froma glacier” or waterfaII” according to Barry Gough 1982: 132), was the lineage chief ofthe Sta’ stas clan and town chief of Kiusta. He was later baptized as Albert Edward Edenshaw.When he was born, Charles Edenshaw17 was given the name Dah égin (Blackman 1982:70) or Da—axiigang(Harris 1991) [“noise in the housepit”], which in Euro-American/Canadiantranscription was generally interpreted as Tahaygen. Other names he received during hislifetime were SkiI’wxanjas [“fairies coming to you as in a big wave” (Davidson in Blackman13K. Ransom- Art as Negotiation: The Reciprocal Construction of Meanings in the Argillite Carvings of Charles Edenshaw - 19931982: 53)] and N ngkwigetklats [“they gave ten potlatches for him9. Many sources reportthat Edenshaw suffered an illness during his early childhood (Davidson in Blackman 1982:72, for example). In later texts, this biographical feature is perpetuated, even enhanced:Barbeau quotes a 1947 statement by a Mrs. Josephine Hambleton Dunn:His childhood was sad because he grew ill, and all his relatives died except hismother. She used to get oolachen grease in the spring and gather seaweed, whichshe dried. These foods and her care restored her son to health. She worked hard, forthey were very poor.” (Barbeau 1957:158).This statement, made about one hundred years after the fact, may have been constructed toemphasize the hardship suffered by the artist in his youth. However, Edenshaw’s daughterFlorence Edenshaw Davidson also reportsthat herfather was weak and sickly in hisyouth anddid not participate in fishing, hunting and raiding activities (Davidson in Blackman 1982:72).Later in life, it seems that he continued to avoid these kinds of activities, devoting all of histime to art production and marketing. For example, the Edenshaw family traded for andbought the salmon they needed for the winter, rather than having Charlesjoin in the fishingexpeditions. Davidson remembers: “Falltime my parents didn’t go with the other people upto Am River to fish for salmon. We used to buy our salmon from other people.” (Davidson inBlackman 1982:83). Again, he did not participate in the halibut fishing like the other Haidamen: “..at the beginning of April they left for Yatz, a former seal hunters’ camp where theHaida now cultivated potato gardens. Here the men fished for halibut (except CharlieEdenshaw who continued to carve), while the women planted their gardens.” (Blackman1982: 57). The marked difference in work activity may be a function of his personal choiceto earn a living through carving, or it may be a result of his inexperience with hunting andfishing activities due to his childhood illness.According to the account of his daughter, Edenshaw began carving one winter in Skidegatewhile ill and confined to bed (Davidson in Blackman 1982: 72). Whether it was during theillness mentioned above is unclear. Edenshaw was able to obtain the slate freely from theargillite quarry at Slatechuck Creek near Skidegate as his mother’s family owned the lands14K. Ransom- Art as Negotiation: The Reciprocal Construction of Meanings in the Argillite Carvings of Charles Edenshaw - 1993surrounding the site. Barbeau reports the statement of Mrs. Susan Gray, daughter ofargillitecarver George Gunya, in 1947 (again, a statement made manyyears after Edenshaw’s death):No one but my father’s old friends in Skidegate were allowed to come and get slate,and they did not have to pay for it. But the others, from Massett and from the villagesto the South, had to buy it. As Charlie Edenshaw’s sister belonged to Skidegate, he waslike one of our own people.” (Barbeau 1957:47).Martysources attempt to construct an artistic heritage for Edenshaw. For example, hisfatherwas reportedly renowned as a canoe-builder and carver (Davidson in Blackman 1982: 69),which is mentioned as a possible inspiration for the young artist. Barbeau also notes thatQanrhwat—Tsinge, a famous argililite carver from Skidegate during the early years of theartform’s development, was part of his father’s family. As Edenshaw learned a great dealfrom his father’s people,” Barbeau observes, Tsinge probably had something to do with histraining.” (Barbeau 1957:90). Another inspiration for the artist constructed in the literatureis his uncle, Albert Edward Edenshaw. Charles moved permanently to his uncle’s householdwhen he was about “eighteen or nineteen years old”18 (Davidson in Blackman 1982: 72),where, Barbeau tells us, he learned the myths of Raven or YehI from his uncle, who had“adopted YehI as his own culture-hero.” (Barbeau 1953:158). Albert was also apparentlyknown as a carver: Barbeau tells us that CharIie Edenshaw’s uncle, Albert Edenshaw, hadbeen a leading iron- and coppersmith; he was among the best carvers of tall totem poles inthe islands.” (Barbeau 1957:156). ltshould be noted here that this construction of an artisticheritage for Charles Edenshaw functions to legitimate his curio production as part of a long“tradition” ofart-making, and may be more a reflection of the biases of the cited sourcesthanan accurate report of the activities of his relatives.Edenshaw probably had his first contact with Europeans very early in his lifetime atSkidegate, as traders were frequent visitors to Skidegate and the argillite trade had alreadygrown to become a substantial industry in the area (MacNair and Hoover 1984:33). After hemoved to Kiusta, these contacts with Europeans no doubt continued because Charles’ uncle,Albert Edward Edenshaw, was considered an important personage by the Europeans, and was15K. Ransom - Art as Negotiation: The Reciprocal Construction of Meanings in the Argillite Carvings of Charles Edenshaw - 1993contacted by them to conduct chief-to-chief” discussions and meetings. Charles Harrison,in his book Ancient Warriors of the North Pacifie tells us that Albert Ederishaw “was a manof great influence in the neighbourhood” and he was “treated with the greatest consideration.” (Harrison 1925:174) Albert was also frequently asked to assist White explorers andtraders in navigating the waters around the Charlottes. For example, he acted as pilot forGeorge Dawson of the Geological Survey of Canada in 1878 and assisted Dawson withcharting the coastline of the Queen Charlottes (Dawson 1880)19.Reverend W.H. Collison was the pioneer missionary among the Haida at Masset, travelling byhimself to the island and establishing the Christian Church there in 1876. He mentionshaving contact with “Chief Edenshaw” (Albert), as does his successor, Reverend CharlesHarrison. In fact, Albert ostensibly became a “personal and respected friend” of ReverendHarrison (Harrison 1925: 165) who wrote of Chief Edenshaw:I have no hesitation in saying that it is principally due to his manlike ways, hisinfluence and example, that the Haidas have taken so readilyto the waysand customsof the Whites, and that at the present moment they are one of the most advancedand law-abiding races on the coast (Harrison, quoted in Blackman 1982: 66).It should be noted here that Harrison’s approval of Edenshaw is linked, in this text, to AlbertEdenshaw’s interest in promoting good relations between the Haida and Euro-Americans.This interest is also demonstrated by an episode recorded in many sources in which hedefended the captain and crew of the Susan Sturgis, a ship he had agreed to pilot fromSkidegate to Masset, against the onslaught of attacking Haidas under the command ofMassettown chief Wihaor Weah.The captain of the ship later gave Albert a letter recountinghow he had saved their lives, and the text of this letter provided the epitaph that wasengraved on a memorial stone for Albert Edenshaw after his death (Blackman 1982: 66).An interesting article by Barry Gough throws new light on Albert Edward Edenshaw and hisstrategies to obtain power and prestige as a chief. I want to mention Gough’s points brieflyhere, as Albert Edward’s self-construction as a great and powerful chief through strategic16K. Ransom - Art as Negotiation: The Reciprocal Construction of Meanings in the Argillite Carvings of Charles Edenshaw - 1993interaction with Euro-Americans is essential to how Charles Edenshaw would later build hisown identity in relationship to the colonizing society. Gough discusses the Susan Sturgisepisode with reference to the statement of the Hudson’s Bay CompanytraderJohn Work whooversaw the release and ransom payment for the crew of the ship:Work and other whites who knew these Indians were of the opinion that Edenshawwas party to the whole affair and that it had been ascertairied...that ‘he shared in theplunder.’ ...Some Haida later told Collison that it was on Edenshaw’s orders that theschooner was attacked and taken (Gough 1982: 135).This strategy, wherein Albert Edward was able to benefit through acquisition of propertyfrom the ransom payment and still come across as a friend and saviour of the White crew,seems to have caused puzzled admiration among those investigating the episode. Forexample, Commander James C. Prevost, sent to investigate the plunder of the Susan Sturgisin 1853, notes of Albert Edenshaw that he was ‘decidedly the most advanced Indian I havemet with on the Coast: quick, cunning, ambitious, craftyand, above all, anxious to obtain thegood opinion of the White men.” (quoted in Gough 1982:135). Another investigator, WilliamHills, noted:He has great good sense and judgement, very quick, and is subtle and cunning as theserpent. Unfortunately like all his countrymen he has no perception of right andwrong, butwhatself interestdictates: he isambitiousand leavesnostone unturnedto increase his power and property (quoted in Gough 1982: 136).Prevost’s investigation, although it could not prove Edenshaw’s involvement due to theconflicting testimonies of the parties involved, thus generated some key contemporaneoustexts that provide valuable information about Albert Edward Edenshaw. From these textsemerges a picture of an individual who appears to have been operating strategically in hisactivities with the White man in order to increase his power and prestige. His knowingcomplicity with (and manipulation of) Euro-American agendas, such as the Church’s desireto convert the “heathen,” explorers’ requirements to navigate through local waters, andtraders’ needs to obtain trade goods, served not only to legitimate Edenshaw in Euro17K. Ransom- Art as Negotiation: The Reciprocal Construction of Meanings in the Argillite Cariings of Charles Edenshaw - 1993American eyes, but also perhaps to increase his status in relation to other Haida within hisown society.ltshould be noted that Albert Edward’s status as a “great chief’ was not universally acceptedamong the Haida, and that his particular manner of increasing prestige may not have sat wellwith some of his contemporaries who were less enthusiastic about adopting the White man’sways wholeheartedly. Although we do not have substantial contemporaneous documentation of this dissenting viewpoint, we do know that some of Edenshaw’s own people testifiedagainst him in the Susan Sturgis inquiry (Gough 1982:132). In addition, Stearns notes thatAlbert Edward’s claim to be the greatest chief of all the Haidas” (as reported by Chittenden)was looked upon with skepticism by other Haida: “It was part of the political game for chiefsto glorify themselves and the people treated such extravagant statements with scorn. Sopreposterous was Edenshaw’s claim to be the great chief of Masset during Chief Weah’s[town chief of Masset’s] tenure that no one bothered to correctthe Whitevisitorswho readilyaccepted it.” (Stearns 1981:228). Further, Stearns’ field work in the Masset area in the 1960’sand 1970’s indicated to her that “claims to highest rank by Edenshaw’s children andgrandchildren on the basis of their paternal ancestor’s achievements and pretensions wereand are angrily rejected by other [Masset] villagers.” (Stearns 1981: 231). Albert Edward,while recognized as a powerful hereditary chief of the Sta’ stas lineage who had also wonthe chiefship of the multi-lineage village of Kiusta while in his youth (Gough 1982: 132), wasdefinitely not considered by the Masset Haida to be a more powerful figure than the townchief. Albert Edward’s depiction in the literature as “an extremely wealthy and powerfulchief” (for example, in Blackman 1982: 54), is thus likely more a function of his relationshipwith the White man (reflecting European impressions of his power) than his true statusamong the Haida. This is an important point to consider: the societal status inherited byCharles Edenshaw from his uncle, constructed as it was on a knowing complicity with EuroAmerican agendas, likely had an important effect on the way in which Charlesstructured hisown self—identity as an artist.18K. Ransom- Art as Negotiation: The Reciprocal Construction of Meanings in the Argillite Carvings of Charles Edenshaw - 1993Albert Edward Edenshaw had several houses besides the largest in Kiusta, and the Edenshawhousehold moved around frequently to take advantage of certain properties (such asfishingsites and potato cultivations) and for economic advantage. This nomadic movement appearsmost prominently in the literature to have occurred after the 1862 smallpox epidemic, whichraged throughout the Queen Charlottes and elsewhere along the Northwest Coast. TheNative population in the Charlottes was sharply reduced as a result of this epidemic, whichwas only one in a series of epidemics that hit the area during the 1800’s. Charles Edenshawand most of Albert Edward’s household managed to avoid succumbing to the disease, but alarge number of Haida died during this period, not only from smallpox but also as a resultof other factors. Alcoholism, prostitution, and increased intertribal conflict taking placethroughout the late 1800’s in larger population centers such as Victoria, where Haida fromthe Queen Charlottes gathered to trade and work, served to further increase the mortalityrate. As a result of these combinative pressures, the Haida population fell from an estimated8,428 in 1842, to as little as 588 by 1915 (Boyd 1990: 255). Although the Edenshaw family’smovements prior to the epidemic are not thoroughly documented, we have ample documentation reporting that the household moved frequently among its properties in the yearsfollowing 1862. These moves were likely prompted by changing economic advantages inthese various areas. For example, Dawson reports that “The people are abandoning that place[Kung] for this [Yatza], because, as was explained to me by their chief. Edensaw [AlbertEdward], they can get more trade here, as many Indians come across from the North.”(Dawsori 1880:155). They moved to Kung in 1863, then to Yatza, then Tou Hill near Rose Spit,then finally to Masset in 1884. The move to Masset, Smith suggests, was initiated to takeadvantage of educational and religious facilities in that community (Smith 1983:46). Duringthis time, Haida from all over the Charlottes were moving away from their small villages tothe centers of Masset and Skidegate, as Western colonization broke upformersocial patternsand families sought the economic advantages and municipal facilities of the larger centers.Masset was the site of a Hudson Bay Company trading post, the headquarters of theCommissioner of the Peace for the British government, and the location of a newlyestablished Anglican mission.19K. Ransom- Art as Negotiation: The Reciprocal Construction of Meanings in the Argillite Carvings of Charles Edenshaw - 1993After the Sta’ stas Eagles moved to Masset, the Edenshaws apparently adopted Christianityquickly. The influx of the Christian Church among the Haida is reported in most sources tohave been the single most powerful manifestation of Euro-American/Canadian influence onHaida lifestyle and cultural practices. Reverend W.H. Collison, first missionary among theHaida, writesabout their conversion to Christianity in his book, In the Wake ofthe War Canoe(1915) which is notably subtitled: A Stirring Record of Forty Years Successful Labour; Periland Adventure Amongst the Savage Indian Tribes of the Pacific Coast and the PiraticalHeadhunting Haidas of the Queen Charlotte Islands, B.C. Conversion, Collison writes, wasaccomplished under the guise of medicine. The traditional medicine men came to be seenas lesser in power than the new God, who could prevent the spread of the disease throughvaccination. The presence and pressure of the Church among the Haida imposed manycultural changes. Traditional Haida practices,such astotem pole raising and potlatches, werechallenged and eroded. Church socials” and “dinner parties” were set in place as substitutesfor potlatches and feasts; the placement of tombstones on proper burial sites replaced theerection of memorial poles; and the singing of hymns replaced the “heathen” dances andsongs of the traditional culture. Collison writes in 1879 about the success of such efforts:On the arrival of the Indians from the other villages before Christmas, the usualcustom of dancing with painted faces and naked slaves with their bodies blackenedcasting property into the waterwasdispensed with and I had trained about 1 OOadultsand children to sing the anthem “How beautiful upon the mountains.” (quoted inBlackman 1971: 51).Further changes encouraged by the Church include an erosion of extended family residenceand matrilineal descent in favour of nuclear family residence and patrilineal descent; anegation of mythic explanationsfor natural occurences in the world; the introduction of theEnglish language and emphasis placed on literacy; abandonment of the potlatch system asa means of affirming identity; and changes in puberty rituals and a resultant dwindling offemale power in the culture (Blackman 1982: 48). New political and economic structureswere also pervasive during this time. The 1876 “Indian Act,” for example, outlined legislationfor the control of the Native population by the Canadian government, and led to such20K. Ransom- Art as Negotiation: The Reciprocal Construction of Meanings in the Argillite Carvings of Charles Edenshaw - 1993structuresasthe Indian Reserve Commission system which in turn broughtaboutthesplittingup of communal properties and the reduction of lineage authority. The appointment ofIndian Agents to mediate contact between the Natives and the Whites in the 1880’s marksthe beginning of a period of close government supervision over the Haida and their lifestyle(Blackman 1982:150-151).Charles Edenshaw and his wife, K’woiy ng, had married in a Haida ceremony in the early1870’s, and theysymbolically reenacted the ceremony in the Catholic Church in 1885. K’woiyngwas baptised “Isabella Edenshaw” and Tahaygen named “Charles Edenshaw” by ReverendCharles Harrison, the successor to Collison, just prior to the Christian ceremony (Davidson inBlackman 1982: 72). The very first convert of the Church had been Albert’s son Cowhoe orKahu, who was baptised by the name of George and became the first Haida Catechist, andeventually the first teacher of their own race in the school at Masset.” (Harrison 1925:175).He was also appointed the first Peace Officer to help enforce the laws of the Canadiangovernment in the Masset area. Isabella’s brother, baptised Henry Edenshaw, was also quickto adopt Euro-American/Canadian ways and beliefs. It was Henry who provided the Englishnames for all of Charles and Isabella Edenshaw’s children, while Charles provided the Haidanames (Davidson in Blackman 1982: 76).Davidson (in Blackman 1982) providesthe most useful information about Charles Edenshaw’schildren. According to her accounts, the Edenshaws had a total often children (two boys andeight girls), but one of the boys and three of the girls died early in childhood. The second son,Ginawen (Robert), drowned at age 18. Robert had been a favorite of his father’s because ofhis talents as a carver and desire to carry on his father’s artistic work. Edenshaw also had anheir, the son of his sister in Skidegate who had married a White trader. His name was CharlesGladstone and he came to live with Charles and his family for two years in the 1890’s, buteventually decided to renounce the chiefshipthatwould have been his birthrightand becomea commercial fisherman in Skidegate. As a result, Edenshaw had neither sons nor nephews21K. Ransom- Art as Negotiation: The Reciprocal Construction of Meanings in the Argillite Carvings of Charles Edenshaw - 1993to assist with household duties and, following his succession to the title of lineage chief ofthe Sta’stas, to carry on the chiefship after his death (Davidson in Blackman 1982: 74, 83).Although the Sta’ stas clan had been greatly reduced in numbers over the years, with theposition of lineage chief no longer considered as powerful as the town chief as discussedearlier, it is reported that Charles Edenshaw inherited his uncle’s title in 1894 and wasrecognized by his own people as a prominent citizen in Masset (Barbeau 1957: 158). Heearned all his income by carving, although it must be noted that his wife and daughters alsoworked to support the family. Nevertheless, Barbeau tells us that he made a great deal ofmoney, bought a sailing boat, and built two houses.” (Barbeau 1957:158). His wealth was notovertly comparable to that of his uncle Albert Edward Edenshaw, whose ostentatious displayof property and riches was continually used to enhance social leadership, but Charles and hisfamily did hold a number of potlatches(Davidson in Blackman 1982:72 and 84). He had manycommissions for his work, and he travelled to Victoria, Washington, and Alaska to fill ordersand sell his carvings (Davidson in Blackman 1982: 80-81).Although he did not sign any of his pieces, Charles Edenshaw’s many contacts with museumcollectors and anthropologists have left us contemporaneous record of many of his works.In 1897, he served as informant to Franz Boas, relating Haida myths and explaining theirdepiction in designs for blanket borders, tattoos, and art objects (Boas 1927). In 1900, alongwith his brother-in-law Henry Edenshaw, he provided much the same assistance to J.R.Swanton, the Haida ethnographer for the Jesup North Pacific Expedition (Swanton 1905a).Cole (1985) provides the most valuable source of information about the Euro-American!Canadian ethnographers and museum collectors with which Edenshaw came into contact.According to Cole, these included George Dawson, the Canadian government geologist whomapped the coastline of the Queen Charlottes in the 1870’s with the assistance of AlbertEdward Edenshaw and who collected from the Haida in 1878; James Swan, who travelled toMasset in the summer of 1883 to gather legends and mythsand who also hired Albertas pilot;Franz Boason behalf of the American Museum of Natural History in 1886,1888,1897, and22K. Ransom - Art as Negotiation: The Reciprocal Construction of Meanings in the Argillite Carvings of Charles Edenshaw - 19931900; James Deans, a museum collector hired by Boas to collect Haida material for Chicago’sWorld’s Columbian Exposition in 1893; Deans again, with George Dorsey of the Chicago FieldMuseum in 1897, who purchased art objects and carving tools from Charles Edenshaw;Swanton and C.F. Newcombe in l900as mentioned above; and Newcombe again in 1901 and1902 acting on behalf of both Dorseyatthe Field Museum and BoasattheAmerican Museum.Although we have less contemporaneous documentation for it, Edenshaw likely conducteda greater proportion of his business with private °curio” dealers, tourists, and collectors. Hehad a number of local “patrons” as well, who were in close contact with the artist and whopurchased works from him on a regular basis. Examples of these (again, most usefullysummarized in Cole 1985) are Reverend William Collison (who also received argillite andother objects as gifts from Edenshaw), the Port Essington trader Robert Cunningham, theVictoria curio dealer A.A. Aaronson, and the Masset Indian Agent Thomas Deasy, each ofwhom we know collected objects from Edenshaw. Although documentation of thesemeetings isscarce (existing largely as museum accession notes crediting the original collectorof a particular object20), it isvery likely that Edenshaw accepted commissions from and soldworks into this market. The particular agendas of these groups of consumers are discussedin the next chapter of my paper.23K. Ransom- Art as Negotiation: The Reciprocal Construction of Meanings in the Argillite Carvings of Charles Edenshaw - 19933. Characterizing the Context of ConsumptionBuyers of Edenshaw’s commodities included two primary groups of people: curio collectorsand private dealers; and anthropologists and museum-hired collectors. In this chapter ofmy paper. I will examine these two groups of consumers in order to propose a way ofunderstanding the various sigriifications that the intercultural object could hold for itsdifferent buyers. Examples of Edenshaw’s argillite work will be invoked throughout todemonstrate how these signific-ations operate to satisfy the consumer’s particular needsand desires, and stimulate demand for certain kinds of objects.Characterizing the “consumption context” associated with Edenshaw’s argillite work ideallyentails a broader discussion of the general social, economic and political forces in Euro-American/Canadian culture that mobilized the desire for the Other as a means of reifyingWestern cultural identity. An analysis of the development of the late capitalist need forcultural commodification based on the ideologies of colonialism, industrialism and tourismis certainly crucial to a complete understanding of the curio trade phenomenon. However,since this work has already been undertaken at length (Jules-Rosette 1984; Clifford 1986;Cohodas 1993), I do not intend to dwell upon a discussion of these issues here. Instead,I will move directly to a specific analysis of the groups of Euro—American/Canadian buyersinvolved in the consumption of Haida argillite carvings during the late nineteenth andearly twentieth centuries, and the various needs and desires that motivated their purchases.In this analysis, I will be less concerned with drawing a detailed historical picture, as thistoo has been accomplished elsewhere (Sheehan 1981; MacNair and Hoover 1984; Cole1985). My contribution will be to focus on those aspects of the “consumption context”that perform a function in the process of intercultural negotiation taking place betweenthe artist and the collector.24K. Ransom- Art as Negotiation: The Reciprocal Construction of Meanings in the Argillite Carvings of Charles Edenshaw - 19933.1 The Argillite MediumEdenshaw produced utilitarian objects in other media (primarily wood) for his family’s ownuse21 and for sale to Haidas and other Native groups such as the Tsimshian22,in additionto producing these objects for consumption by Euro—American/Canadian buyers. Argillite,however, was a medium expressly reserved for intercultural objects that were purposefullycarved for Western consumption. In certain instances, argillite objects might be sold toa Native buyer but, during Edenshaw’s time, this happened only when the Native buyerwas acting as middleman. Swanton (1905: 58) notes, for example, that argillite carvingswere a hot trade item with mainland Native groups because they could in turn be tradedlucratively to White collectors.The history of the consumption of Haida argillite carving, demonstrating the shifts in styleand form incorporated by the artists in adjusting to the demands of the marketplace, hasbeen well examined (Kaufmann 1969; Wright 1977; Sheehan 1981; MacNair and Hoover1984). The earliest buyers of argillite carvings were the fur traders visiting the NorthwestCoast, who had almost completely exhausted the supply of sea otter pelts from the QueenCharlottes area by the 1830’s. In search of new trade items to support the burgeoningdesire for potlatch wealth and recognition, the Haida began producing small carvings incarbonaceous slate, likely during the 1820’s and 1830’s. These carvings became very popularwith the traders, perhaps as a result of the unusual character of the argillite medium (whichwas thought to be quarried only on the Queen Charlottes) or the intriguing iconographyof interlaced humans and animals that the Haida initially incorporated.3.2 The Burgeoning Curio TradeBy the 1880’s, the trade in argillite curios had expanded to include tourists, adventuristsand private collectors; local shopkeepers, trading post agents and hotel proprietors; anda network of curio dealers and middlemen who bought from the Native artists on a regularbasis. Cole discusses the rise in the tourist art market in southern Alaska during this period,noting that most of the excursion steamers did not stop along the British Columbia coast25K. Ransom- Art as Negotiation: The Reciprocal Construction of Meanings in the Argiflite Carvings of Charles Edenshaw - 1993but as early as 1881 Jacobsen had found Skidegate greatly affected by the tourist trade;the next year Swan was impressed by tourism’s effect upon his collecting.” (Cole 1985:96). The popularity of argillite carvings continued to grow among these new groups ofconsumers. Argillite curios were literally hunted down by tourists on excursions to Alaskaand casualvisitors touring the Northwest Coast. While gold and silver were the most popularitems for purchase (Cole 1985: 97), argillite was certainly bought in significant quantities,as evinced by the large number of argillite objects that have been donated and sold toethnological museums worldwide by private curio collectors.Edenshaw may have produced argillite objects for the tourist market while he and hisfamily were in Ketchikan, Alaska. His daughter Florence remembers, When I was littlewe went to Ketchikan summers so my dad could carve and my mother work at the salterythere.” (Davidson in Blackman 1982: 80). He also sold argillite objects to local curio dealerssuch as George Cunningham in Port Essington (Davidson in Blackman 1982: 81) and A.A.Aaronson in Victoria20,who likely re-sold many of the items to tourists and local curiocollectors as well as collecting objects themselves. In addition to tourists and amateurcollectors who only briefly visited the area (if at all), there were also a number of localresidents who were in direct contact with Charles Edenshaw on a regular basis and whobought from him frequently. These people included the Anglican missionary Collison, muchof whose collection is now at the UBC Museum of Anthropology (Cole 1985: 293), andthe Indian Agent Deasy (Cole 1985:293). Deasy sold his own collection to the avid Americancollector Pearsall, who later sold his large (almost 600-object) collection to the Universityof Florida (Cole 1985: 293).Although he certainly produced many objects in other media such as wood and —collaboratively with his wife — painted basketry, Charles Edenshaw “specialized” in carvingsilver, gold and argillite (Barbeau 1957: 154), media that were very popular with curiocollectors and dealers. He also produced objects in gold, such as bracelets and other jewelry.The Masset missionary Harrison remarked that,26K. Ransom- Art as Negotiation: The Reciprocal Construction of Meanings in the Argillite Carvings of Charles Edenshaw - 1993There was also a native jeweller in each village who made from half dollar and dollarsilver coins, and also from gold coins, bracelets, bangles, finger rings and earrings.The first man to attempt the manipulation of the silver and gold was chief [Charlie]Edenshaw. (Harrison, quoted in Blackman 1982: 70).This emphasis on Edenshaw and his work has been perpetuated in more recent literatureas well. For example, MacNair asserts that “Edenshaw’s fame comes mainly from his workin non—traditional media, especially silver and argillite.” (MacNair et al 1980: 68. Note the“non—traditional” label).Thejewelry connection in Edenshaw’sargillite work is also suggestedby the artist’s particular style of carving in this medium. His use of metalwork techniquesin the production of argillite carvings, evinced by such characteristic design features asthe gadrooned borders, finely incised cross-hatching and tooled surfaces that decoratemany of his argillite pieces (and also appear on his gold and silver work) may suggestan effort on the part of the artist to create an understanding ofargillite objectsas particularlyfine, jewellry-like pieces. The shiny, luxurious black of polished argillite does indeed callto mind a preciousstone, and Edenshaw’sartistictreatment of the medium served to enhancethis quality. Drew and Wilson (1980: 53) note that the tools used today for argillite carvingare jeweller’s tools.Edenshaw clearly produced his argillite objects with the market’s demands in mind, notonly by perhaps enhancing the jewelry-like quality of the argillite and thus boosting itsvalue among curio collectors, but also by anticipating the forms of art his buyers wantedto purchase. For example, his corpus contains many examples of “translated Euro-Americana” which was part of a larger trend among Haida argillite carvers to incorporateEuropean styles, forms and imagery into the argillite medium. Examples of theseconglomerate pieces in Edenshaw’s body of work include argillite compotes, plates andbowls that emulate Victorian tableware, perhaps modelled on a small set of English plate,presumably silver, in possession of the Edenshaw family. (Barbeau 1957: 163, an accountcollected from Henry Edenshaw). Although specific commissions for combinative workscould have been the reason behind the development of these forms, Edenshaw’s interest27K. Ransom- Art as Negotiation: The Reciprocal Construction of Meanings in the Argillite Carvings of Charles Edenshaw - 1993in this direction may indicate a market-directed artistic choice. Responding to what wasperceived to be in demand (European-type objects fashioned in argillite bya Native person),Edenshaw and other Haida artists employed elements that spoke” to the Euro-American!Canadian buyer, such as familiar forms, themes, and decorative designs. In the case ofintercultural objects (objects produced by one culture expresslyfor consumption in a secondculture), a certain degree of semantic transIation” must take place because, as Graburn(1976) notes, the two cultures do not speak the same cognitive language. A certain amountof give-and-take likely takes place between producer and consumer before the message”describing what each wants is successfully tra nslated23.Curio collectors desired exotic objectsthat were of obvious Native workmanship, and it is possible that this desire may not havebeen fully understood by the carvers, who produced “White goods in Indian form” to satisfywhat they perceived to be the demands of the consumer. However, even though Euro-American forms and decorative elements were initially incorporated in these objects, theblackand shiny argillite medium and frequent addition of ‘traditional” Haida carved surfacedesign provided the distinguishing features of Native artifice which combined to makeargillite objects satisfactorily exotic and culturally representative. It must also be suggestedthat the curio collectors were pleased with the Haida renditions of European tablewareand busyVictoriana” (MacNair and Hoover 1984: 129). Not as concerned with acquiringonly authentic and purely traditional objects as the institutional collectors, curio hunterscontinued to purchase the argillite forms that were borrowed from Euro-American culture,indicating a satisfaction with the conglomerate mode.It is likely that Edenshaw’s choice of medium, form, and carving style for his argillite curioproduction wasat least somewhata function of what he perceived to be in demand. However,to suppose that the meaning of Edenshaw’s tourist art” is solely dependent upon marketdemand would be erroneous. There is considerably more that needs to be taken into accountin characterizing these pieces’ semantic content. I will continue this line of argument inchapter 4 of my paper, after first briefly characterizing the some of the motivations ofEdenshaw’s second group of buyers, the institutional collectors, in the consumption ofargillite work.28K. Ransom- Art as Negotiation: The Reciprocal Construction of Meanings in the Argillite Carvings of Charles Edenshaw - 19933.3 The Anthropologists and Museum CollectorsArgillite carried a different meaning for this other major group of consumers of Haidaargillite. As I mentioned earlier, institutional collectors did collect argillite, but many ofthem considered the black stone carvings to be “non-traditional” and completely a functionof market demand. This bias has been apparent throughout the years of collection activityon the Northwest Coast. For example, J.W. Powell of the U.S. Geological Survey and Bureauof Ethnology writes in the 1890’s that because these carvings “were designed for sale tothe higher race, they chiefly embody the ideas of the white race and in no proper senserepresent Indian arts.” (quoted in Cole 1985: 292). Newcombe, also, “did not particularlycare for those carvings unless they illustrate some story or feature otherwise inaccessiblein works of art.” (quoted in Cole 1985: 293). A reductionist model of tourist art, in whichthe object is seen as a mere derivation from the more “authentic” forms of traditionalor “high” art, led most anthropologists (Barbeau is a key exception) to largely disregardargillite work as semantically uninteresting or less relevant to the study of Native cultures.We know that some institutional collectors did collect argillite pieces for museums24,butthis occurred much more infrequently than collection of objects considered more“traditional” such as masks and wooden boxes.Edenshaw had direct contact with anthropologists and museum collectors many timesthroughout his career and produced objects in argillite and other media for sale into thismarket. For example, he served as an informant to Franz Boas in 1897 and to James Swaritonin 1900. These museum anthropologists asked him to recount Haida myths and legends,illustrate crest designs, blanket borders and tattoos, and carve scale models in wood oftraditional Haida houses and poles. Boas, in his work published as Primitive Art in 1927,recorded his approval of Edenshaw as an informant and supplier of information,commending the artist’s attention to detail and ability to explain myths represented inHaida flat design in a clear and recordable manner. Edenshaw’s “European” attitude, orallanguage skills, and reliability were also cited as factors in choosing him as informant.(quoted in Cole 1985:153). The point to make here is that Edenshaw took it upon himself29K. Ransom- Art as Negotiation: The Reciprocal Construction of Meanings in the Argillite Carvings of Charles Edenshaw - 1993to learn to communicate with Euro-American/Canadian ethnologists, and was successfulin gaining their trust as a spokesperson for his culture. Along with his brother-in-law HenryEdenshaw, he became an important figure for these anthropologists — and other collectorssuch as Newcombe, Deans, Swan, and Emmoris — who based a fair amount of theirunderstanding of traditional” Haida culture on the information provided by the Edenshawfamily. In turn, this market seems to have been actively cultivated by the artist as a regularand reliable source of demand for his art.This demand was more conspicuously for ‘cultural information” or explanation of more“traditional” forms of art such as illustrations of blanket border designs and tattoos (suchas those collected by Swanton and Boas). No record of Edenshaw’s argillite works appearsin the documentation of Swanton, who collected only wood objects from Edenshaw, butwe know that Newcombe collected argillite from the artist25.Another institutional collectorwho also bought argillite from Edenshaw was G.M. Dawson, the Canadian governmentgeologist who collected Haida objects in the area in 1878. Although his collection wasessentially a private collection made while in the field for the Canadian Geological Survey,Dawson immediately loaned his collection to the museum at McGill College where his fatherwas curator, and he was the main force in directing the Survey’s own museum, whichwould later become the collection of the National Museum of Canada, towards ethnologicalcollection in addition to geological materials (Cole 1985: 79). His collections were thusinstitutionally funded, supported and housed, and the motivation behind them was topreserve, on behalf of the Canadian government, as many Canadian Native objects aspossible. According to Cole, Dawson “keenly resented the exportation of Canadian Indianmaterial to the United States or abroad.” (Cole 1985: 80).Edenshaw also produced a number of argillite model poles and houses (several examplesof which have been identified in his corpus, based on his idiosyncratic “hand” as laid outin HoIm 1965, 1967, 1981). The making of models for museum displays and world’s fairshad become a popular trend, especially since the World Columbiari Exposition in Chicago30K. Ransom- Art as Negotiation: The Reciprocal Construction of Meanings in the Argillite Carvings of Chailes Edenshaw - 1993in 1893. This anthropological interest in scale models cannot be considered as the primarysource of inspiration for Edenshaw’s model houses and poles in argillite, however. Edenshawhad been carving model poles perhaps as early as the 1870’s for the curio trade (MacNairand Hoover 1984: 114). In addition, the models commissioned for museum and World’sFair exhibits were all, as far as we know, made of wood; no argillite models seem to havebeen ordered specificallyforthis purpose. For example,James Deans, a Hudson BayCompanytrader who was enlisted by Boas to gather Haida material for exhibit at the Chicago World’sFair, collected three boxcarloads of Haida material in 1893, including a wooden scale modelof the entire village of Skidegate (Cole 1985: 124). Deans also collected two full-sizedwooden house posts of Edenshaw’s in 1892. These may very well have been exhibited atthe Exposition, and Barbeau tells us that Edenshaw’s “illustrations, his ornate bowls, hisexquisite silver bracelets and other jewellry were well represented at the Chicago World’sFair in 1893, as well as his miniature totem poles, carved chests, and models of feasthouses”(Barbeau 1957:178). Although no record of argillite among the anthropologists’documentation forthe Chicago Fair exists,some of the exhibited objectswere indeed argillitecarvings: the Chicago Field Museum accession records for a group of argillite poles andan argillite plate (see Appendix) thought to have been carved by Edenshaw, for example,indicate that these objects were exhibited in the Fair before becoming part of the Museum’spermanent collection.3.4 Edenshaw’s Use of Myth and Crest ImageryI would also like to mention, in this chapter dealing with Edenshaw’s market, that theartist’s use of myth and crest imagery in his argillite work, like that of other Haida artists,has been interpreted by some scholars to contravene what is understood to be traditionalHaida rights and privilegesfor displaying certain images (e.g. Barbeau 1957:175; Sheehan1981 :79). In carving totem poles and other argillite objectsfor the Euro-American/Canadianconsumer (both curio collectors and anthropologists), Edenshaw incorporated imagery fromHaida myth and from his own inventory of crests (those belonging to his family) and also,sometimes, from the crests of other Haida families. Most historical sources agree that31K. Ransom- Art as Negotiation: The Reciprocal Construction of Meanings in the Argillite Carvings of Charles Edenshaw - 1993each Haida family had the right and privilege to use only certain crest images. Somescholars have mentioned that in many of his works, Edenshaw incorporates images to whichhe did not have access. For example Barbeau, in his description of some of Edenshaw’slate totem poles, tells us that “they embrace more themes than a single craftsman belongingto the Eagle or Raven groups was in the habit of appropriating when carving for strangers.”(Barbeau 1957:175). This embrace may indeed indicate a relaxation of the rules of propercrest/myth display, but other explanations for this development abound: it could be, forexample, that there was a lack of strict rules” for displaying imagery in the commercialargillite medium. Or, Edenshaw may have been communicating various crests and mythsat the request of their owners. It is also conceivable that the Haida population had beenreduced to the point where the survivors had access to a wider inventory of crests. Theseexplanations, while based purely on speculation, are perhaps more likely than the reasoningput forth by MacNair et al (1980), who speculated that the change may reflect the Haida’sinability to express themselves culturally and to assert their clan heritages in theirtraditional” ways, so that they were compelled to express their traditional crest identitiesin a form condoned by White society (MacNair et al 1980:70). Another interesting theoryabout this change in crest/myth image display conventions is presented in Sheehan’s 1981Pipes that Won’t Smoke; Coal that Won’t Burn. Sheehan presents Wilson Duff’s“interpretation” of Haida argillite carvings, establishing periods of sense” and non-sense”in the history of the artform’s development to account for the change in display of Haidaimagery. This example of representationist interpretation, applied in this case to Haidaargillite carvings, is presented here as a backdrop to my own approach to argillite objectsdetailed later in chapter 4 of my paper.The dreading” of argillite carvings postulated by Duff and Sheehan follows the temporalcategories initially laid out by Kaufmann (1969), and attempts to interpret the objectscarved in each category to determine the reason for changes in form and expression. Inthis project, the argillite object is defined as a transparent indicator of the artist’s intentions.For example, in the so-called ‘Haida non-sense” period (Kaufmann’s Haida I), Sheehan32K. Ransom - Art as Negotiation: The Reciprocal Construction of Meanings in the Argillite Carvings of Charles Edenshaw - 1993demonstrates that artists incorporated Haida imagery but recombined this imagery intoa culturally meaningless form. At least, explains the author, the images on these pipesresist interpretation by classical Haida iconographic conventions.” (Sheehan 1981:79). Whenthe author doesn’t understand the imagesaccording to whatshe considers to be traditional”iconographic conventions, she assumes that the Haida artists intended the objects to beanon-sense.” When the images fit the rules, however, they are deemed to be chock-fullof poignant cultural meaning. For example, in a discussion of the phase of developmentSheehan calls “Haida sense” (Kaufmann’s Haida II), in which images deemed to havesignificance for Haida cultural awareness were incorporated, the author reports Duff’sinterpretation that the argillite carvers were carving images of ‘all that it meant to beHaida’ as a kind of last testimony to their culture and society. (Sheehan 1981:25). Duff,through Sheehan, thus neatly constructs intentions for the Native artist, a constructionarising directly out of the salvage paradigm, the motivating bias that underlies the searchfor authenticity” in Native art and culture.Sheehan (and Duff) are not alone in this construction of meaning for the Haida artist,and for Edenshaw in particular. For example, MacNair proposes that Edenshaw’s depthof expression perhaps reflects the dilemma and tragedy Edensaw must have faced. Theonerous task of leaving a testimony to the past and a legacy for the future surely weighedheavily upon him.” (MacNair et al, 1980: 70). Hoover, meanwhile, refers to Duff’s speculationthat Edenshaw “was painfully aware of the precarious state of the Haida oral tradition;indeed that he was afraid that many of the old stories were in imminent danger of beinglost forever, and that he attempted through his art to record the most important of thetraditional stories.” (Hoover 1983: 67). A similar theory is voiced by Kaufmanri (1969)26and Thomas (1967). Edenshaw is often chosen by scholars as a “spokesman” of his era,and he is represented as a courageous bearer of the responsibility of saving his people’sculture through his art.33K. Ransom - Art as Negotiation: The Reciprocal Construction of Meanings in the Argillite Carvings of Charles Edenshaw - 1993I hope it is clear that assigning a “sense” or “non-sense” label to the objects as Duff andSheehan do, or constructing a “saviour” role for the artist and viewing his work accordingly,are both highly problematic. Depicting Edenshaw as the “saviour” of Haida culture as anexplanation for his incorporation of myth figures is a retrospective construction basedon the discourse of preservation rather than an accurate assessment of Edenshaw’sintentions to preserve the “dying” Haida culture.To characterize argillite carvings as a directexpression of the artist’s intentions and to make assumptions about these intentions,meanwhile, is to claim authority over Native voices. To seek out (and of course find) aunivocal message in these works is to completely ignore the role of the object as a siteof reciprocal construction involving two cultures (with complexities within those cultures)and multiple layers of meaning. In my own approach to the subject, I will be concernedwith exploding the “myth of meaning” that underlies “readings” such as these. I want toshow that there is an intermingling of messages taking place in Edenshaw’s work. Addressingthis intermingling, it seems to me, both assesses the influence of market demands andthe wielding of colonial power, and also recognizes the political agency of the Haida artistin response to these forces within the arena of the object.In myanalysisofthe reciprocal creation of meaning in the intercultural artobject, presentedin the next chapter of my paper, I attemptto offer an alternative to the interpretive approachexemplified by Duff and Sheehan. This chapter is intended to formulate the methodologyI have been using to explore the interaction between producer and consumer taking placewithin the object-site, in preparation for applying this methodology to a particular setof examples of Edenshaw’s argillite work.34K. Ransom - Art as Negotiation: The Reciprocal Construction of Meanings in the Argillite Carvings of Chailes Edenshaw - 19934. The Reciprocal Construction of Meanings in the Intercultural ObjectTheir nature as intercultural objects makes argillite works a product and a process ofexchange between the producer and consumer. What exactly do I mean by claiming thatan object is a process? In this chapter, I will sketch out the ways in which the interculturalart object can be viewed as a process of negotiation and exchange, with reference to theexamples reviewed in the previous chapters. Chapters 1 and 2 were intended to demonstratethat the intercultural object, made by a producer in one culture expressly for consumptionin a second culture, means different thingsto artistand buyer.The consumer’s understandingof the signification of the object is based on his or her own individual, social and culturalcontext, as well as on the needs and desires that initially mobilize the act of consumption.To the producer, the signification of the object is a function of market demand and hisor her own artistic motivations. The object itself stands as a concretization of thedevelopment of thought and mutation of significations, from both the producer’s andconsumer’s points of view, leading up to and structuring the moment of creation. In orderto characterize these significations more specifically and indicate how the object can beseen as a product and process of negotiation between producer and consumer, I havedeveloped a particular methodology of analyzing the intercultural exchange of variousmessages within the object-site.The intercultural object as entity exists as a concrete, physical container of certain events(choices made) that took place in the contexts of production and consumption leadingup to the moment of the object’s creation. Knowingly carving with consumption by purchasein mind, the producer makes certain artistic choices based on what is perceived to be indemand and on other motivations related to his understanding of the market and to hisown personal and societal agendas in producing art. Similarly, in making certain purchasingdecisions based on needs and desires, the consumer contributes to the development ofthe object’s form and meaning, It is pertinent here to take a brief look at the different35K. Ransom - Art as Negotiation: The Reciprocal Construction of Meanings in the Argillite Carvings of Charles Edenshaw - 1993kinds of message exchanges that can take place within the intercultural object duringthis reciprocal process:1. Message intended by the producer to reach the consumer succeeds in crossing the cultural boundary.Successfully received and understood by the consumer,this message then stimulates a response that may ormay not be communicated in the purchasing decision.2. Message intended by the producer to reach the consumer does notsucceed in crossing the cultural bound- Iary. Misunderstood, received incompletely, or not received at all, this message then may or may notstimulatea potentially inappropriate response from the consumer Iwhich is communicated in the purchasing decision. I3. Message unintended by the producer is nevertheless Iperceived by the consumer. May cause a response fromthe consumer communicated in the purchasing decisionwhich the producer may not, in turn, comprehend.4. Message is incorporated by the producer for his/her own Iconsumption or for consumption by his/her own people ?rather than for the buyer. Consumer may or may not iunderstand completely, and respond accordingly.5. Unintended messages, such as gender bias, go unde—tectedby both producer and consumer (i.e. subconsciousmessages that are there regardless of whether theproducer or consumer are aware of them).6. By making a purchasing decision, talking with theproducer or alerting middlemen about preferences, theconsumer communicates a message about his/her needsand desires that the producer receives and understands.The producer then may or may not respond by producing Ithe object as requested.Processes of Exchange Producer Consumer7. By making a purchasing decision, talking with theproducer or alerting middlemen about preferences, theconsumer communicates a message about his/her needsand desires that the producer does not receive or doesnot understand.This may lead to production of an objectthat does not meet the demands of the consumer.?(436K. Ransom- Art as Negotiation: The Reciprocal Construction of Meanings in the Argillite Carvings of Charles Edenshaw - 1993The complexity of these interactions, even when the message is not communicatedsuccessfully across the cultural boundary, is clearly evident. Each complete or incompletetransmission of a message causes a response that may or may not be re-sent back acrossthe cultural boundary, and which then may or may not be accurately or completely received.This in turn initiates further interaction. Earlier, I referred to this communicative complexityas a web” of significations reciprocally spun by producer and consumer around “the object.”This web is a process: the process of cultural interchange taking place over time and leadingup to the moment of the object’s creation, and indeed carrying on after that moment.The process of meaning-creation never stops, as long as either the producer or a consumerof the object is present. (You and I are also, of course, consumers of the objects discussedherein).Negotiation is a process of give-and-take whereby two or more parties confer with oneanother in order to arrive at a settlement of some matter. Etymologically, the word derivesfrom the latin negotiari to carry on business. In the commercial activity of curio marketing,the use of this term to describe the interaction between producer and consumer is thereforeparticularly appropriate. Negotiation is very goal-oriented: the parties involved in thenegotiation process each bring their concerns to the table with specific objectives in mind.Similarly, producer and consumer bring to the object a set of desires and needs that eachof the parties intends to satisfy through the act of producing/consuming.In chapters 2 and 3 of my paper, I outlined some of the historic circumstances contextualizingthe production and consumption of Edenshaw’s argillite, circumstances that may havestructured some of the concerns and expectations that Charles Edenshaw and his buyersbrought to the negotiation table. I summarize these here:Context of Production:Historical Circumstance Possible Concerns in NegotiationFamily history of close contact Desire to interact with Euro-American/Canadians,with Euro-American/Canadians. in emulation of Albert and in effort to enhance37K. Ransom- Art as Negotiation: The Reciprocal Construction of Meanings in the Argillite Carvings of Charles Edenshaw - 1993individual prestige and family prestige in relationto Western society and among the Haida as his unclehad done.Physical weakness of the artistin his youth and, later in life,limitation in work activity.Specialization in carving silver,gold and argillite; referenced as“Native jeweller”; jewelry—liketreatment in argillite carving;innovations in form and expression.Frequent consultation with European anthropologists as authorityon Haida culture and art. Notescommendation in these texts.Contexts of Consumption:Curio CollectorsA need to assert art-making activity as a viablefull-time career by earning sufficient money andrecognition as an artist.Promotion of an artistic reputation for fine,jewelry-like argillite objects that command highprices. An ongoing construction and assertion ofa leadership position in the Haida artisticcommunity.Desire to provide anthropologists with the information that they needed in order to enhanceongoing relationship with these buyers, and topromote himself generally as an artist.Possible Concerns in Negotiation• Need to verify self-identity through consumption and display of a commodityproduced by another culture.• Need to validate colonialist oppression through rationalization of Native peoplesas childlike and requiring management by Euro-American/Canadian authorities.• Desire to satisfy curiosity about the exotic.• Desire to purchase objects of high value and prestige.• Need to acquire for a particular country the objects considered part of a nationalheritage/national identity.• Intention to preserve the “vanishing” Native culture before it was lost.Contexts of Consumption:AnthropologistsPossible Concerns in Negotiation• Desire to amass the most representative and complete collection of Native material culture for a particular institution.• Intention to race with time in order to preserve “authentic” Native culture beforeit became diluted through contact with Europeans.• Desire to textualize the traditional oral culture of the Indians as part of thispreservation effort.38K. Ransom -Art as Negotiation: The Reciprocal Construction of Meanings in the Argillite Carvings of Charles Edenshaw - 1993These are some of the possible concerns that structure the exchange of messages thatare communicated across the cultural boundary in an ongoing process of negotiationbetween producer and consumer. I would like to turn now to a specific example ofEdenshaw’s argillite work to investigate the ways in which producer and consumer maycome together and interact within the object. By analyzing the dual perspectives of artistand collector during this process of interchange, I intend to demonstrate how meaningsare reciprocally constructed as part of a struggle, on the parts of both producer andconsumer, to assert individual and cultural identities, needs and desires.The examples I have chosen to focus on are three argillite plates carved by Edenshaw(attributed by HoIm, Duff, MacNair and Hoover) in the 1880’s or very early 1890’s. Oneof these objects (figure 1) is currently housed in the Field Museum of Natural History inChicago, where it has resided since its accession in 1894. I will discuss this object withreference to the two other argillite plates, one now in the Seattle Art Museum (figure2) and one in the National Museum of Ireland in Dublin (figure 3). I will refer to themthroughout as the Chicago plate, the Seattle plate and the Dublin plate respectively. Thethree plates are very similar. Although they are certainly not identical (differing slightlyin size, use of design elements, and subject matter), the plates are similar enough in style,composition and expression for them to be grouped together (initially by Hoover 1983;and by Wright 1986) as multiple iterations of the artist, employing a specific theme ina slightly different way each time. Stylistically, the plates are noticeably different. Hooverobserves that the Chicago plate offers a more two-dimensional profile presentation ofthe scene than the other two plates, which are much more sculpurally expressed (Hoover1983: 65). A linear development of style and expression among the three has naturallybeen supposed, and a great deal of discussion has centered on which came first, whichsecond and which third. HoIm has characteristically performed a careful examination ofthe specific design elements incorporated by the artist. He believes that the Dublin platewas carved first, followed by the Seattle plate and then the Chicago plate (Hoover 1983:66-67), based on the progression of individual design elements and a general developmentfrom naturalism to abstraction21.39K. Ransom- Art as Negotiation: The Reciprocal Construction of Meanings in the Argillite Carvings of Charles Edenshaw - 1993Collection dates are of no help in discerning useful chronology. The Chicago plate wasexhibited at the World’s Columbian Exposition in Chicago in 1893, then accessioned tothe Field Museum in 1894. It was lent to the World’s Exposition by a J.S. Gould28 of SantaFe, New Mexico and never claimed after the close of the Exposition. There is no informationabout how Gould came to have the object, or when he collected it. The Dublin plate wasaccessioned to the National Museum of Dublin also in 1894. Apparently no record hasbeen kept about where the object came from, although interestingly there is a note onthe plate’s label advising of the existence of a plaster cast of the object at the EthnographicMuseum in Oslo, Norway29.The Seattle plate, meanwhile, has even less helpful informationabout its original collection date. The plate was purchased at auction in 1982 by JohnHauberg, a private collector, who gave his collection to the Seattle Art Museum in 1991°.The carving on the face of the Chicago plate depicts two figures in a canoe, one holdinga spear or harpoon, and the other an oar. Below the canoe is a sea monster of some kindapparently biting the canoe, which fills up the bottom third of the round picture space.The amount of teeth depicted in this image is notable. The round-headed figure in thestern of the canoe displays a healthy collection of teeth in its wide mouth, as does thehuman-like figure in the bow, with its smaller mouth and bird-like (also toothed) headgear.The sea monster is seemingly biting the canoe with its teeth, and has a curious tail featuringa second smaller head, complete with open mouth and teeth. Even the canoe, which ispossibly carved with a wolf design (Drew and Wilson 1980: 206). features a toothed mouth.The other two plates differ slightly in the scene represented. The Seattle plate scene, takingup proportionally more space on the object’s surface, is similarly composed but containsthe following differences: the figure in the bow of the canoe seems more bird—like thanhuman (with the beak replacing the mouth) and seems to perch atop the edge of thecanoe rather than be seated firmly inside it; the figure in the stern has a more detailedface, a beard-like feature and head protuberance, and although it holds its hands up asif clutching something, it has nothing to hold. The sea creature is also substantially different,40K. Ransom- Art as Negotiation: The Reciprocal Construction of Meanings in the Argillite Carvings of Charles Edenshaw - 1993depicted as a symmetrically frontal face with large round eyes, nostrils and an enormousgrinning mouth with rounded teeth and tongue, flanked by arms or flippers with claws.The Dublin plate scene is more akin to this image than to the Chicago version. The substantialdifferences between the Dublin and the Seattle are that the two figures in the canoe overlapto a greater degree, the figure in the stern has a more definite bearded appearance withno head protuberance, and the sea creature’s eyes look up at the canoe instead of forward,its mouth contains pointed teeth and no tongue, and it has no claws.Regarding the significance of the imagery depicted on the plates, Hoover (1983) bringstogether several texts that are useful. For example, a note furnished by C.F. Newcombe,apparently written in 1901, can be found on a photograph of the Chicago plate in theNewcombe Photographic Album at the Provincial Archives in Victoria. The note reads:Steersman offunguscalled kugugilgai orwood biscuit (Polyporus). Raven (Nañkilstlas)going to first land (?xagi) to get a woman of the rock chitons with spear. Thenall men, no women. Speared the genitalia which grew on rocks and threw themto the men. When caught on organs immediately grew up. When on the men gotashamed and ran to the houses. Ex H. Edensaw 1/10/01. Made by Charlie Edensaw.This is apparently an account of the mythic scene depicted on the plate, collected fromCharles Edenshaw’s brother-in-law Henry, who provided translation, guiding and informantservices frequently to visiting anthropologists. There is an additional mention in the textof Newcombe’s notes accompanying the photograph which is apparently Newcombe’s ownwords describing the statement received from Henry Edenshaw and literally transcribedin the note on the photo. This text reads:Slate dish No. 17952 represents Nangkilstlas in the act of collecting women’sgenitalia on the first rock which appeared in the Haida country. This was in thefar south. Up to that time the only people were men. N speared the parts andthrew them at the men so that they landed on their parts, making them so ashamedthat they ran away and hid, because they grew up so quickly. Raven is seen withhis cloak of feathers and is steered by a man made of the fungus called woodbiscuit. Dish made by C. Edensaw.41K. Ransom- Art as Negotiation: The Reciprocal Construction of Meanings in the Argiflite Carvings of Charles Edenshaw - 1993Cole (1985) reports that Newcombe was indeed in the Masset area in 1901. collectinginformation which would later be published as part of Swanton’s Contributions to theEthnology of the Haida (1905). He also collected objects from Masset in 1900-1901 aspart of theJesup projectfor the American Museum of Natural History. A sometimes collectorfor Dorsey of the Field Museum, Newcombe was probablysenta photograph of the Chicagoplate by the Field Museum in order to collect some kind of explanation for the piece whilehe was in the area. Newcombe had been in the Masset region several times already andhad previously come into contact with the Edenshaws.As Hoover (1983) shows, the myth suggested in the statement by Henry Edenshaw is similarto the texts recorded by Chittenden (1884) and Swanton (1905) transcribing the Haidamyth of the origin of the female gender. Chittenden, in recording the myth of Raven’sdiscovery of the first Haida in the clamshell, continues the story to account for the firstfemales. In this account, Raven goes off in search of females, accompanied by the maleswho have just emerged from the clamshell. Then, “upon reaching the lonely island ofNinstints, they found females clinging helplessly to the rocks, whom rescuing and takingfor their wives, peopled the land.” (Chittenden 1884: 20). The source of this narrative isnot noted. In the Swanton text, the myth is told by John Sky as an episode of the “Raventravelling” series of stories. It is part of the “old man’s” section of the series (in the firsthalf of the recorded text) and reads:He then started off. He traveled about. On the way he got his sister neatly, they say. Hethen left his sister with his wife. And he started off by canoe. He begged Snowbird togo along with him, and took him for company. He also took along a spear. And shortobjects lay one upon another on a certain reef. Then, when they came near to it, the birdbecame different. He took him back. And he begged Blue-jay also to go, and he startedwith him. But when they got near he, too, flapped his wings helplessly in the canoe. And,after he had tried all creatures in vain, he made a drawing on a toadstool with a stick,placed it in the stern, and said to it: ‘Bestir yourself and reverse the stroke” (to stop thecanoe). He then started off with him. But when he got near it shook its head (so strongwas the influence).31He then speared a big one and a small one and took them back. And when he came homehe called his wife and placed the thing he had gone for upon her. And he put one on42K. Ransom- Art as Negotiation: The Reciprocal Construction of Meanings in the Argillite Carvings of Charles Edenshaw - 1993his sister as well. Then Siwa’as (his sister) cried, and he said to her, “But yours will besafe.”32 (Swanton 1905a: 126).The imagery on the argillite plates carved by Edenshaw does seem to coincide with thecontent of the myth recorded by Swanton, with one exception. The “short objects”representing female genitalia in the myth episode, if indeed they are the same objectsmentioned in the Newcombe recording, are rock chitons. The chiton (polyplacophora) isa mollusk with a limpet-like body bearing a shell composed of overlapping plates anda strong afoot” which can adhere firmly to rocks. The sea creature depicted in the Edenshawplates does not appear to resemble such a mollusk. The Seattle and Dublin plates depicta creature that might suggest a giant supernatural chiton, but the Chicago sea creatureis “a different story.” Thisfigure is perhaps more closely identified with a mysterious creaturementioned only once by Swanton (1905) known as Tca’gAn q!atxAna’i or sea-ghost.”According to Swanton, the sea-ghost was supposed to have a human face with a bird’sbeak, a hump on the back, and long hair on the head.” (Swanton 1905: 140). Swantonadds that belief in these creatures, more superstitious than spiritual, was still strong amongthe Haida at that time. The sea-ghost does not figure in any of the myths recorded byanthropologists, and has no known connection either with Raven or with the origin offemales. Interestingly, I also found a similar reference to a sea creature in Dawson’s textof 1880 in a discussion of Rose Point at the Northernmost tip of Graham Island:They say that strange (uncanny) marine creatures inhabit its neighbourhood...Thefather of my informant, with other Haidas in a canoe, saw one of these creatures.It was like a man, but very large, with hair hanging down to its shoulders.(Dawson 1880: 146)The creature in the plate’s carved scene seems to match the description of Swanton’s seaghost: it has a hump on its back, there is a suggestion of long hair growing from thehead, and the face appears somewhat human, but with a beak-like nose. If this is anappearance of the sea-ghost instead of a chiton in the scene, it does not necessarily mean,of course, that the carving does not depict the mythic origin of the female gender. The43K. Ransom- Art as Negotiation: The Reciprocal Construction of Meanings in the Argillite Carvings of Charles Edenshaw - 1993sea monster on the Chicago plate, and the strangely grinning giant “mollusk” on the othertwo examples, may both refer loosely to the wild and potentially dangerous female powerassociated with menstruation and reproduction for which the Haida had a great deal ofrespect31. A depiction of the myth of the first females would not necessarily require adirect, literal translation of”chiton” or “short objects” as representative of female genitaliabut might, rather, invoke the power of femaleness through depiction of a sufficientlyalarming or awesome creature. It is the signification of this wild, dangerous power andits acquisition (or capture) by Raven that is perhaps depicted in the carved scene.Alternatively, Raven and his steersman may be shown fighting off a sea creature en routeto acquiring the chitori-vulva. Note that such suppositions are based on the interpreter’sown contextual circumstances; it is necessary to be cautious in accepting at face valuean account of the “meaning” of the images in this way.Accordingly, I would like to move to an examination of the objects based on the exchangeof various messages between producer and consumer rather than purporting to revealthe “meaning” of the pieces. In my examination of these message exchanges, I will utilizethe model I sketched out earlier in this chapter of my paper. Some of these communicationsare of course impossible for me to characterize. Because of my own cultural and historicalperspective, I am completely unable to determine the intentions of the artist, especiallywhen those intentions involve incorporation of messages that do not successfully crossthe cultural boundary. In addition, exchange #7, whereby the consumer communicatesa message about his needs and desires that the producer does not receive or does notunderstand, would seem to be not applicable in this case because we have no evidencethat the objects were commissioned and, as the objects were indeed purchased, we canonly surmise that the consumer was satisfied that the object did indeed meet his/her needs.Other exchanges must be characterized very cautiously. Exchange #5, for example, involvesunintended messages that remain consciously undetected by both producer and consumer,but that are nevertheless present. For example, in the process of choosing and purchasing44K. Ransom- Art as Negotiation: The Reciprocal Construction of Meanings in the Argillite Carvings of Charles Edenshaw - 1993this commodity, the Euro-American/Canadian consumer, as member of the dominantcolonizing culture, can be said to be satisfying unrecognized needs and desires. The buyerof the plate in question was likely a private collector or dealer. I infer this from the natureof the earliest known owner of the piece: the object likely arrived at the Santa Fe curioshop of Jake Gold through private dealers and/or collectors rather than from an institutionalaccessionist. Likely collected, then, by a private collector, the object as “curio” was chosenby the buyer for a number of potentially significant reasons. As has been noted by Cohodas(1993), a dialectic between the mythic Noble Savage of the pastand the degraded,vanishingIndian of the present structured the fascination with which Euro-American/Canadianslooked upon Native peoples, and this dialectic can be said to have mobilized demand forNative-made objects such as Edenshaw’s argillite carvings. By purchasing something thatwas sufficiently exotic and evocative of “indian-ness,” the curio collector was satisfyingthe need to rationalize the colonialist oppression of Native peoples through relegationof Indians to the past: as Noble Savages representing a lost purity and integrity of self,and as childlike figures requiring Euro-American supervision and control for survival.I will leave further ideas for exchange #5 open, with a suggestion that this avenue offerssome interesting, although methodologically challenging, opportunities for future researchand investigation. There are serious problems associated with purporting to detectsubconscious messages in the intercultural art object, the most obvious being that thesubconscious is a purely Western construct that asserts universals across cultures and utterlysilences the voice of the Other in its interpretive enterprise. I will merely draw attentionhere to the unusual depiction of what may represent female power or femaleness in thisimage without making any suppositions about the subconscious messages it maycommunicate. I have already noted that to suppose that the sea creature is meant to directlyrepresent a chiton, and to dismiss the myth association on the basis of this spuriousrepresentation, is to fall prey to the representationist tendencies of much Northwest Coaststudy. The sea creature, I have suggested, can be seen as a general personification of theawesome and dangerous power of femaleness with which Raven will create the first women.45K. Ransom- Art as Negotiation: The Reciprocal Construction of Meanings in the Argillite Carvings of Charles Edenshaw - 1993This is an intriguing depiction of femaleness, and of the origin myth (if indeed it isa depictionof the myth) and its appearance on these plates, multiply iterated as they are, poses someinteresting questions. As Duff noted in a letter to James Van Stone of the Field Museumregarding this plate, the image carved by Ederishaw perhaps depicts the myth of the originof the female gender, but that “This [image] makes it appear that it wasn’t quite thatsimple, and really a great deal more interesting.” (Duff 1970). These plates represent theonly example (that we know ofi in which Edenshaw issued several versions of a nearlyidentical image. What were his reasons for doing so? Was his motivation market-generated(and if so, did he produce these works on commission, or did he anticipate demand bycreating the plates then selling them), or was he working out an artistic idea for himselfthrough the plates? It may be significant that the popularity of this image has continuedto the present day. Claude Davidson, Charles Edenshaw’s grandson, was commissioned byfour separate parties to create copies of the plate. The raven and canoe image was evenborrowed for a Frisbee® design used in a 1991 event (see Appendix). Is there a significanceof this myth for producer, for the original consumer (if he/she understood the myth beingdepicted), and for the generations of consumers that have continued to commodify it?Is there a basis for speculating on a particularly gendered system of selection, productionand purchasing of this commodity? I would like to leave these questions open-ended, andnote that Exchange #5 offers some rich opportunities for further study.Other communicative exchanges between producer and consumer can perhaps be discussedmore definitively. Exchange #1, for example, is the process by which a message intendedby the producer to reach the consumer succeeds in crossing the cultural boundary.Successfully received and understood by the consumer, this message can then stimulatea response that may or may not be communicated in the purchasing decision. Exchange#6 is the process by which the consumer communicates a message about his needs anddesires to the producer, through making a purchasing decision, talking with the produceror alerting middlemen about preferences. The producer receives and understands thismessage, which has been exchanged successfully over the cultural boundary. These46K. Ransom- Art as Negotiation: The Reciprocal Construction of Meanings in the Argiflite Carvings of Charles Edenshaw - 1993exchanges can be seen as two sides of the same coin, as they represent a give-and-takenegotiation between producer and consumer moving back and forth across the culturalboundary.These exchanges can be seen, in the Edenshaw plate, to be a conversation between theproducer and the consumer, and one thing they are conversing about is Haida myth. Thescene carved by Edenshaw depicts a cohesive figure group engaged in activity as partof what appears to be a scene” in a story.” The consumer likely understood this to beso, even though he/she may not have comprehended the particular story” that was beingillustrated. The subject of the illustrated scene does not seem readily apparent (there isno indication in the iconography of the scene, for example, that this is indeed a mythof the origin of females), and unless it were explained directly by the artist in conversation,the communication of the myth would have been an exchange of type #2. The myth subjectmatter is included as a “message” by the artist, but this message does not pass successfullythrough the cultural boundary and the consumer does not understand it. However, thevery recognition that this is an episode in a story is also a “message” that was likely includedby the artist and comprehended by the consumer: an exchange of type #1.It should be noted here that my (and others’) acceptance of the scene as an episode fromHaida myth is potentially erroneous, and could thus be categorized as an exchange oftype #3, whereby a message unintended by the producer is nevertheless perceived by theconsumer. Edenshaw may not have had this particular myth episode in mind in creatingthe objects, and indeed may not have intended a mythic subject matter at all. Theidentification of the scene as mythic is primarily reliant upon an understanding of thefigure in the bow of the canoe as “Raven” through iconographic interpretation, and uponthe account collected by Newcombe which was made several years after the fact, andnot by the artist himself. The consumer’s desire to see the scene as “mythic” may havethus constructed this understanding.47K. Ransom- Art as Negotiation: The Reciprocal Construction of Meanings in the Argillite Carvings of Charles Edenshaw - 1993Regardless of mythic content, however, Edenshaw is doing something quite new in thehistory of Haida argillite carving in depicting a story episode.” In no other example, amongthe hundreds of argillite carvings known to have been produced by Edenshaw both preand post-dating these pieces, do we see such a straightforwardly narrative treatment ofa subject on a two-dimensional, carved surface. Edenshaw’s other known argillite plates,as well as plates carved by other Haida artists, treat figures very differently. The imageof a creature is consistently used as a reference to certain myths, rather than in a narrativeretelling of an episode. For example, the plates in figures 4 and 5 incorporate the imageof the sea wolf or Was’go, which is used as an iconographic reference to Was’go myths.In the more complex example in figure 5, Edenshaw indicates reference to two differentmyths- the clamshell creation myth and Was’go- in the same space. This more commontreatment of a mythic subject (the dominant mode in Edenshaw’s and other argillite carvers’work) differs considerably from that of the narrative Raven plate, an experimentation ofEdenshaw’s in which a new expressive code is introduced.If the scene does indeed present an episode from Haida myth, this experimentation mayhave been developed by Edenshaw to translate” Haida myth, previously existing only inorality, into a spatial contextfor communication acrossthe cultural boundary. In the Was’goplates, the translation from the temporal, fleeting form of the spoken word to the static,autonomous carved object is not achieved directly. These objects contain merely a referenceto Was’go myths. No details of a story are given. With the inclusion of the clamshell inthe second of these plates, we get yet another mnemonic device (so important to thesustenance of oral culture) rather than an attempt to tell a story within the spatial confinesof the object. As a result, these objects do not directly communicate a narrative story”to the Euro-American/Canadian consumer, who would likely have had no prior knowledgeof the particular myths invoked. Perhaps in order to more successfully translate Haidaoral myth into the art object for consumption by his Euro-American/Canadian market,Edenshaw creates an innovation in form and expression in the plates discussed here toaccomodate such a translation. Why he did not choose to build upon this experimentation48K. Ransom- Art as Negotiation: The Reciprocal Construction of Meanings in the Argillite Carvings of Charles Edenshaw - 1993in later works is obscure. The pieces were all purchased and thus can be said to have satisfiedthe needs of the consumers satisfactorily, and we might wonder why Edenshaw did notrespond to that message by continuing to develop in that direction. However, we haveno indication whatsoever that increased narrative content was the artist’s objective incarving these works, and do not know the circumstances under which they werecommissioned and/or purchased. Speculation about why he did not extend the experimentfurther is quite fruitless.I would like to be able to draw attention to Edenshaw’s connection with anthropologistsin text-production as a commentary on his experimentation with a new narrative modein his art. However, there are problems in doing so. It is certainly true that Edenshawwasan active participant in the textualizing and recording of Haida myths previously existingonly in orality. He acted as an informant to both Boas and Swanton in this regard, andhis involvement with anthropologists may indeed have given him an understanding ofthe expectations and desires of Euro-Americans in terms of how myth must be told ina literal or physical context. However, the argillite plates must have been carved priorto 1893, and we have no record of interactions between Charles Edenshaw andanthropologists until 1897. This does not mean that Edenshaw did not come into contactwith anthropologists prior to this date, of course. But to rationalize Edenshaw’s treatmentof myth in this plate with reference to his work in translating myths for Boas and Swantonwould be somewhat misleading.A more appropriate suggestion is that Edenshaw was experimenting with modes ofcommunicating with the consumer of the work, to render the Haida myth episode ‘readable”or understandable through the use of a new narrative pictorial style. In this translation,the producer includes elements that he knows will appeal to the market: unusual characters,an active and exciting interaction of these characters, and a familiar scene such as the“storm-tossed boat” which incidently performs an important function in Western journeymyths” and quest narratives (Ryan1993). The consumer, in turn, by purchasing the object,49K. Ransom - Art as Negotiation: The Reciprocal Construction of Meanings in the Argillite Carvings of Charles Edenshaw - 1993perhaps communicated a message back to the artist that his needs and desires had indeedbeen met. The fact that Edenshaw produced at least three closely similar iterations of thismyth scene on a carved argillite plate may attest to the success he achieved in translatinghis subject matter to a form comprehensible and consumable by his market. The object,in this case, functions as a communicative bridge between the artist and his perceivedmarket, whereby the use of a narrative pictorial mode arises as a means of expressionacross the cultural boundary.It is convenient to suppose that Ederishaw was responding to a direct request from ananthropologist and/or private collector to carve a narrative depiction of this particularmyth in this plate, or was simply copying a Western-style image that he had seen. Thiswould certainly be an easy explanation for the artist’s experimentation in this case. Itwould also fit with the conception of tourist art” as purely market-determined products:the idea that objects made exclusively for sale are semantically less involved and culturallyless important than so-called traditionaI” art. I have argued throughout this paper,however, that the intercultural art object cannot be approached from a singular perspective.To assume that Edenshaw was merely following a direct request from his buyer is asimplification of the process of interchange, a process that would be taking place evenin a direct commission of a particular piece. Interpreting the object on the basis of Euro-American/Canadian demands alone would be to silence the artist’s own voice in theexchange.Conversely, it is also easy to say that Edenshaw had a “message” to deliver to his audienceand that this image functionsas a univocal articulation of that message. Such an interpretiveapproach, which shifts attention away from the consumer and constructs meanings forthe works by recreating the producer’s point of view, is adopted by Hoover (1983), whoventures to “read” the object like a text, interpreting the artist’s “message” throughcontemplation of the object and consideration of the producer’s sociohistoric context. Forexample, he speculates about Edenshaw’s intentions, constructing a rationalization for the50K. Ransom- Art as Negotiation: The Reciprocal Construction of Meanings in the Argillite Carvings of Charles Edenshaw - 1993artist’s use of images from the Raven cycle of myths and his apparent desire to recordthese traditional stories for posterity: “Could it have been that Charles inherited not onlythe title and position of his uncle but also the responsibility and desire to pass on theknowledge of this important myth?” (Hoover, 1983: 67). This “important myth” (importantto whom?) is contextualized with reference to Barbeau’s often quoted assertion that AlbertEdward Edenshaw “made the Raven his own culture-hero and his nephew Charley wasthe first to express it in sculpture.” (Barbeau quoted in Hoover, 1983: 67). We have alreadyseen how invocations of heritage— whether it be the uncle’s carving ability, the father’scanoe carving prowess, or the family’s adoption of certain “important” myths — serve tolegitimize Edenshaw as artist and master of Haida “tradition.” The construction of theEdenshaws as champions of the “culture hero” Raven, similarly, is part of the discursiveeffort to elevate Charles as a cultural spokesperson whose noble efforts to save the dyingHaida culture can be seen in his use of myth:Another key to Ederisaw’s commitment to the Raven cycle was his unique positionasa fully encultu rated Haida artist ata time of enormous cultural loss.., he attemptedthrough his art to record the most important of the traditional stories. (Hoover1983:67)Characterizing the effect of Euro-AmericanlCanadian contact as an “enormous culturalloss” buys into the preservationist idea that Native culture was an unchanging, allochronicentity that was being destroyed or “lost” as a result of Haida-.European contact. DepictingEdenshaw as “fully enculturated,” meanwhile, betrays assumptions about the nature ofthe cultural change initiated by contact, with “enculturation” presented as a linearlystructured process (if Edenshaw is “fully ericulturated,” are we to assume that others wereonly “partially enculturated?”), in which Edenshaw’s position as cultural representative isdescribed as “unique.” This construction distances him from other Haida artists, singlinghim out as a visionary; it is based more on the artist-genius stereotype of Western arthistorical discourses than on consideration of the sociohistorical information we have aboutthe Haida artistic community.51K. Ransom- Art as Negotiation: The Reciprocal Construction of Meanings in the Argillite Can6ngs of Charles Edenshaw - 1993Hoover’s contribution to thestudy of these pieces is clearlya valuable one. He bringstogetherthe three plates for the first time, and discusses — with considerable insight— theincorporation of this mythic theme in other objects as well. Notably, Hoover does alsosuggest that Edenshaw was “purposely tailoring his argillite work along lines proven tobe popular with the customers” (Hoover, 1983: 67) in incorporating myth into his work.However, Hoover’s interpretation is problematic because he constructs intentions forEdenshaw based on Eurocentric conceptions of the role of the artist and on preservationistattitudes towards acculturation. This represents a serious disempowerment of the artist.By claiming authority over Edenshaw’s voice, such a reading disallows the presence ofthe artist and closes the space in which his individual and societal concerns are expressed.The “myth of meaning” underlying interpretive studies like this one thereby constructsa signification for the object whereby the “reader” asserts complete power over expressingthis signification, and the Native artist is silenced.To suppose that Edenshaw was mechanicallyfollowing the demands of the market in creatingthese objects is, we have seen, similarly disempowering. This particular kind of “reading”places the responsibility for the image’s signification completely onto the Euro-American!Canadian consumer and renders the producer a passive and silent participant: “tourist arts,”explains Jules-Rosette, “are considered social signs of their authors’ unwitting acculturation...” (Jules-Rosette, 1984: 15). Both of these interpretive approaches see the “meaning”of the object as if it were readily and singularly decipherable. This is simply not the case;indeed, quite the contrary. What we see in process here, I argue, is an interaction betweenproducer and consumer, an active reshaping of the relationship between the artist andhis marketthattakes place asan interchange of messages.These multiple message exchangescreate a web ofsignificationssurrounding the object that polysemically expressesthe work’s“meanings.”52K. Ransom- Art as Negotiation: The Reciprocal Construction of Meanings in the Argillite Carvings of Charles Edenshaw - 19935. Conclusion:Towards a Postmodernism of Resistance for the Intercultural ObjectThe process of interchange taking place between producer and consumer in the argilliteplates I have discussed is evinced by the experimentation in stylistic mode and expressionon the part of the artist, and the decision to purchase the object (not once but threetimes) by the market. Engaging in an active negotiation with his Euro-American/Canadianbuyers, Edenshaw adjusts the relationship of tradition” (the continuing and changinginventory of styles and forms available to him) to “irmovation” (new stylistic and aestheticmodes with which he experiments) in order to convey new messages, to communicatemore effectively with buyers, and to construct and assert his position as an individualwithin Haida society and in relationship to European society. He attempts to tap intomeanings shared with European consumers, such as the shape and form of the object,a plate modelled on European tableware; the use of argillite, a recognized favorite mediumwith curio collectors; and, experimentally, the narratively interconnected “scene” showingan episode in a story. Included in the scene,” moreover, are elements such as fantasticcreatures (such as the sea creature and round-faced steersman who do not appear in anyother known Haida works), narrative cues such as the “storm-tossed boat” which werefamiliar to Westerners, and a suggestion of dynamic action, elements that Edenshaw mayhave included to appeal to his perceived market. The artist also includes meanings thatwere likely unrecognizable to the consumers, such as the particular subject matter of thedepicted scene: what story is being depicted? Perhaps as a result of his experiences as“cultural informant” to explorers, private dealers and anthropologists, and because of aninterest in reasserting this role in the marketplace and among the artistic community inhis own society, Edenshaw experimented with the means of relaying the work’s iconographicmessages. He may or may not have interacted directly with his buyer regarding the particularstrategies enacted in this work (it is perhaps more likely to suppose that he did talk directlywith the consumer in the case of the plates because of their triple iteration, which may53K. Ransom- Art as Negotiation: The Reciprocal Construction of Meanings in the Argillite Carvings of Charles Edenshaw - 1993have resulted from a direct commission to reproduce a work considered successful by thebuyer). But regardless, the object represents a complex combination of artistic choicesthat reflects the artist’s perception of market demand, his complicity with and manipulationof this demand, and his own individual and societal agendas for producing art. Hisexperimentation in expression is combined with messagesthat were intended to be receivedby the consumer, and the result is a commodity that acts as a communicative link betweentwo very different societies. In order to produce this link, Edenshaw participates in anongoing process of negotiation with the consumer in which the “point-counterpoint” ofmessage exchanges becomes a structuring mechanism of his own individual and societalidentity.The argillite curio, in this process, is the locus for reshaping the relationship between artistand producer. As Jules-Rosette indicates, “tourist art objects can be seen as vital symbolsof change. They engender and embody many of the social and cultural transitions thatare taking place in contemporary communities and in the societies of those who purchasethe art. Moreover, they demonstrate the process of cultural mediation between Third Worldcontexts and the West.” (Jules—Rosette 1984: 9).The object becomes a record of a struggleand an agreement reached (at least for the moment) between producer and consumer.This agreement, moreover, can be seen as a politically transformative event. There issomething “at stake” in the negotiations taking place between the economically dependentNative producer and the leisured, colonialist consumer. Jules-Rosette contends that“ideology [in the tourist art object] emerges in the broadest sense as a definition of groupidentity rather than as a particular set of propositions and political commitments” (JulesRosette 1984:192), but I think it is important to see the significations exchanged betweenproducer and consumer as specific materialist forms of conflicting social relations. PeterMcLaren (1993) has recently articulated a methodology of “resistance postmodernism” thatI have found useful in considering this problem. McLaren’s “pedagogy of resistance andtransformation” is developed as an appropriation and extension of what he calls the “ludic54K. Ransom- Art as Negotiation: The Reciprocal Construction of Meanings in the Argillite Carvings of Charles Edenshaw - 1993postmodernism” of Lyotard, Derrida and Baudrillard (involving the deconstruction of thetext based on the open, free play of signifiers), which McLaren sees as a methodologyin which the social is sucked up and dissolved into the world of signs” as part of arelinquishing of the primacy of social transformation.” (MeLaren 1993: 120). Resistancepostmodernism, on the other hand, politicizesthe d!fféranceanalyzed by Derrida and othersby situating it amid real social and historical conflicts rather than operating in the abstractsemiotic space above” the materialist struggles taking place.My analysis of the message exchanges between producer and consumer in the curio artobject has been largely carried out in the abstract spaces of McLaren’s ludic postmodernism.I want to conclude my project by suggesting how this analysis might be expanded, orrecast in the light of a resistance postmodernism, by considering the object as an arenafor material conflict. What is at stake in the negotiation between Edenshaw as producerand his buyers, Euro-American/Canadian curio collectors? The fact that the consumer isa member of the dominant, colonizing society and that the producer is a member of aneconomically dependent group of artists in the politically oppressed Native society, indicatesa power differential that likely had some impact on the nature of the negotiations and/or how they were conducted. The Native artist, as an agent for social change, asserts anew “position” for himself— both within his own changing society and in relationshipto his perceptions of Euro-American/Canadian society — through his artistic choices ofsubject matter, form, style and expressive mode. The object becomes his statement of thisposition, an embodiment of a negotiation forsocial standing and recognition. The consumer,in turn, acts out the desires and needs endemic to his own society through consumption,such as authenticating his self—identity and rationalizing the colonialist drive to control.In addition to serving his own purposes, however, the consumer’s decision to purchasealso validates the choices made by the artist (and the “position” put forth therein). Thecurio object thus reshapes the relationship between the two, enabling a transformativeagreement that has real social and historic ramifications. Intercultural art, in this context,55K. Ransom- Art as Negotiation: The Reciprocal Construction of Meanings in the Argillite Carvings of Charles Edenshaw - 1993creates a politically charged space in which the two cultures meet and assert their changingsocial and political positions. Future studies of Native-made commercial objects will, I hope,address this space with full recognition of its import.In my thesis, I have pursued the notion that the negotiation processes taking place withinthe argillite carvings created for sale by Charles Edenshaw in the late 19th and early 20thCentury are a function of the multiple different message exchanges that take place betweenproducer and consumer within the object-site. These exhanges, I have argued, result ina complex web of significations surrounding the object that represent the agendas, hopes,desires and needs of both artist and buyer. Edenshaw’s argillite work, seen on these terms,is a semantically rich arena for the artist’s assertion of an individual and societal identity,an identity that does not come to art end in “unwitting acculturation” or demise oftradition,” (Jules-Rosette, 1984: 9) but that exerts an ongoing presence in an environmentof massive upheaval and change.56K. Ransom- Art as Negotiation: The Reciprocal Construction of Meanings in the Argillite Carvings of Chailes Edenshaw - 1993Figure 1Argillite plate attributed to Charles EdenshawField Museum of Natural History. Chicago. cat. 1795235 cm diameter, received in 189457K. Ransom - Art as Negotiation: The Reciprocal Construction of Meanings in the Argitlite Carvings of Charles Edenshaw - 1993Figure 2Argillite plate attributed to Charles EdenshawSeattle Art Museum cat. 91.1.12733 cm diameter, received in 198258K. Ransom- Art as Negotiation: The Reciprocal Construction of Meanings in the Argillite Carvings of Charles Edenshaw - 1993Figure 3Argillite plate attributed to Charles EdenshawNational Museum of Ireland. Dublin. cat. 1894: 70432 cm diameter, received in 189459K. Ransom - Art as Negotiation: The Reciprocal Construction of Meanings in the Argillite Carvings of Charles Edenshaw - 1993Figure 4Argillite plate attributed to Charles EdenshawBritish Columbia Provincial Museum 15508, no dateFigure 5Argillite plate attributed to Charles EdenshawUniversity of British Columbia Museum of Anthropology A7049Collected by Collison, 190460K. Ransom- Art as Negotiation: The Reciprocal Construction of Meanings in the Argillite Carvings of Charles Edenshaw - 1993NotesHence the use of the term “art” in the title of this paper. I am speaking from within thediscourse of art history, which currently considers Native-made objects to be “art.” Theaestheticization of Northwest Coast objects is a relatively recent development, dating backat least as far as the 1941 “Indian Art of the United States” exhibit at the Museum of ModernArt, wherein Native material culture was officially promoted “from the exotic status of‘primitive art’ where itwascompared to othertribal and curio traditions, tothe more dignifiedstatus of ‘fine art’ where it is compared with the great traditions held in highest esteem bywestern civilization.” (Michael Ames quoted in Ransom 1992). I am aware of this Eurocentricconstruction, and choose to use the term “art” with self-reflexive recognition of itsideological trappings.2 Throughout this paper, I utilize the words “culture” and “intercultural” frequently, withacknowledgement ofVirgin ia Dominguez’s warnings about the discursive objectification andvalorization of “culture” in our postcolonial society (Dominguez 1991). In her article,Dominguez questions the apparent transparency of references to “culture” in scholarly and(especially) political discourse, and although I agree with her assertion that references toculture can be politically loaded, particularly in the arena of government policy-making, I amwriting from within a discourse that, I believe, utilizes these terms (the case of “art” is quitesimilar to the case of “culture” though the former word is certainly not as politically potentas the latter) as tools of empowerment for Native peoples. To avoid their usage would be tonegate my own discursive context in the interests of being politically neutral (an endless andquite fruitless quest) and would not serve to relieve political oppression of Native peoples. Iuse these terms with awareness of their ideological opacity; I do not assume a direct andtransparent identity of the word “society” with the word “culture.”3 As Susan Stewart has observed about souvenirs of the exotic, the indigenous object isassociated with “notions of the primitive as child and the primitive as an earlier and purerstage of contemporary civilization.” (Stewart 1984:146). Cohodas (1993) has elaborated thispoint to show how a dialectic between the mythic Noble Savage of the past and the degraded,vanishing Indian of the presentstructured the fascination with which Euro-Americans lookedupon Native peoples:The head and tail of this North American coin were thus the negative stereotypesof Native Americans which justified domination and exploitation in order toincrease the wealth of upper classes, versus the seemingly positive stereotypes ofNative Americans as Noble Savage indulged in by those same leisured classes tofulfill their need for individual significance (Cohodas 1993:105).4 Boas and other museum collectors often made specific demands for the creation of certainkinds of objects. Even the most “traditional” objects were subject to collection-directedmanipulation. Cole quotes Boas during his collection activities in the 1920’s: “Boas, seeking‘a real good arrow and bow,’ suggested that, if unfindable, they be made. This would be allright, ‘as long as they were made correctly.’” (Cole 1985: 291).61K. Ransom- Art as Negotiation: The Reciprocal Construction of Meanings in the Argillite Carvings of Charles Edenshaw - 19935 The study of museum exhibits of Native culture and how these exhibits are organized as areflection of the agendas of the colonizing Euro-American/Canadian society is a topic thathas received considerable scholarly attention (see especially Stocking 1985; Stewart 1984;Jonaitis 1981).6 The process by which cultures are transcribed into ethnographic text is discussed by variouswriters in the anthology. Writing Culture: The Poetics and Politics of Ethnography(Cliffordand Marcus 1986).7 Though not entirely, of course. The drive to “interpret an object (or a text) in order to discernthe artist’s true message is also part of a more recent structuralist/formalist methodology ofliterature and art analysis. Literary structuralism arose in the 1950’s as a systematic and‘scientific” methodology which focussed on the formal structures of the text. Based on thelinguistic theories of Ferdinand de Saussure and (in cultural anthropology) CS. Peirce, thisapproach in literarystudies found its parallel in the formaliststrategiesofanalyses performedby such individuals as Michael Fried (art history) and Clement Greenberg (art criticism) in thelate 1950’s and 1960’s.8 Holm’swriting functions in much thesame wayas artist Bill Reid’scodification of”traditionalNorthwest Coast design through imitation and reification of a chosen set of precedents. Bypromoting himself as an artist of the Haida tradition, and choosing specific elements of thattradition” to incorporate into his work (such as stylistic idiosyncracies borrowed CharlesEdenshaw), Reid contributes to a construction of the public’s perception of “traditional”Northwest Coast design. It is notable that both Reid and Holm have had a conscious impacton the marketability of Northwest Coast objects, with the criteria of ‘authenticity’ and‘tradition’ functioning as criteria for marketing valuation. (Cohodas 1993a).9 For a useful overview of deconstructionist theories, see Johnathan Culler 1982.10 I also feel it necessary to mention that I am aware that my choice of Edenshaw as a focusfor my thesis perpetuates an overemphasis on this artist as representative of Haida artas a whole. Indeed, my choice of Haida art over other forms, such as the Nuu-chah-nulthor Coast Salish, perpetuates an overemphasis on the Haida in art historical writings aboutNorthwest Coast Native art. I have not chosen Edenshaw specifically to validate his masteryor to purport the superiority of the Haida style. I have selected Haida art and Edenshawin particular not in spite of, but purposefully because of this overemphasis in the literature.The frequent appearance of Edenshaw in existing documentation offers me perhaps thebest opportunity available within the history of Northwest Coast art to characterizecontextual circumstances of production and consumption and thus formulate ideas aboutthe object as site and process of intercultural negotiation.11 Sheehan notes that argillite is in fact found in manyareas on the Northwest Coast, “includingthe region around the Nass and Skeena rivers, the Squamish area at the head of HoweSound, and the northern tip of Vancouver lsland. (Sheehan 1981: 59).12 For a description of this identifiable “hand, see Holm 1965, 1967, 1981.62K. Ransom- Art as Negotiation: The Reciprocal Construction of Meanings in the Argillite Caniings of Charles Edenshaw - 199313 ‘PoIysemy” is a significant term in the discourse of poststructuralism, and I use the wordhere with full awareness of these connotations. Although its literal definition is “multiplemeanings,” polysemy, in poststructuralist discourse, connotes the interplay of meaningstaking place along the chain of signifiers invoked by the presence of a sign, an interplaythat reveals the indeterminacy and instability of the text rather than communicating adefinitive meaning. (See Spivak’s introduction to Derrida 1976).14 During My Time is an autobiography by Florence Edenshaw Davidson, Charles Edenshaw’sdaughter, astold to Margaret Blackman.The bookcontains both autobiographical statementsby Davidson and observations by Blackman. I refer to the text as “Blackman 1982,” andnote Davidson’s sections of the text with reference to “Davidson in Blackman.”15 Derrida introduced the concept of “erasure” in the 1970’s to underline the indeterminatemeanings of signs: the word is inaccurate but necessary for the conveyance of meaning,and is thus written down and then crossed out, with both the word and its deletion leftin the text to be read. For Derrida, this is a process of reexamining the familiar. Hegelexplains that “What is ‘familiarly known’ is not properly known, just for the reason thatit is ‘familiar’...it is the commonestform ofself-deception to assume something to be familiar,and to let it pass on that very account.” (quoted by Spivak in Derrida 1976: xiii). For Derrida,it is important to shake oneself out of the familiar, to be aware that what has alwaysbeen known may not be true. He thus writes “under erasure” to stress the possibilities ofmeaning which have been excluded in the presence of a sign. (Ransom 1989: 7).16 Throughout my thesis, I use the colonial name for Haida Gwaii, lands whose ownershipwas appropriated unjustly by the colonizing power. The “Queen Charlotte Islands” labelwas affixed to the lands by Dixon in 1787 and continues to structure Euro-American!Canadian conceptions of Haida Gwaii today. Please note that my use of the colonizer’sterms is not politically motivated. I use these labels to avoid reconstructing the receivedhistories about Edenshaw and Haida society by retrospectively replacing these labels withcurrent politically correct terminology.17 Again, I am using the European name instead of the Haida name to avoid reconstructingthe histories received from existing biographical literature. As a standard means ofintroducing individuals by name in this paper, I mention the Haida name first, with theEuropean name in brackets where this is relevant, then use the European name, wherethere is one, subsequently.18 According to Haida matrilineal descent, boys went to live with their maternal uncles duringtheir youth and eventually inherited their uncles’ positions and property.19 Albert Edenshaw was also notably pivotal to the discovery and mining of gold in the QueenCharlottes during the 1850’s, providing assistance in acquiring rights to mine the ore, whichwas located on Sta’ stas land, and arranging for transportation of the gold to the HudsonBay Company ships. The discovery of gold led to the establishment of the Hudson BayCompany trading post at Masset, and it caused Governor James Douglas of B.C. to proclaimthe islands a Crown Colony in 1852.63K. Ransom- Art as Negotiation: The Reciprocal Construction of Meanings in the Argillite Carvings of Charles Edenshaw - 199320 For example, the record for National Museum of Canada catalogue number Vii -B-777,an argillite chest lid that has been attributed to Edenshaw, records that the piece wasaccessioned as part of the “A.A. Aaronson Collection” (Barbeau 1953: 159).21 An example of artwork produced for his own family is a wooden settee carved with Isabella’scrests and used, as Florence Davidson reports, “as a chesterfield, with a feather mattress”by the Edenshaw family (Davidson in Blackman 1982: 79). He also carved a number oftombstones for Massett people (Blackman 1971), and no doubt had his hand in other projectsdestined for local consumption, though these projects have escaped documentation.22 Barbeau (1957: 168) claims that Edenshaw actually lived with his Tsimshian “clansmen”for a short while at Port Simpson while in his youth, although I cannot find a corroboritivesource of this information. Henry Edenshaw reported to Swanton (1905: 101-104 ) thatthe northeastern Eagle clan of the Haida, the Stasta’as, were of mixed Tsimsian and Tlingitorigin and were the most recently formed of the Haida lineages.23 Another example of the exchange of messages observed by scholars between Haida argillitecarvers and curio collectors concerns the incorporation of humour into ship panel pipes.Sheehan, in her publication of the late Wilson Duff’s theories of Haida argillite carving(1981), notes that an element of humour or irony may have entered into the imagery ofEuro-Americana incorporated into some a rgill ite works of this period. She presents exam piesof panels and pipes that present non-Native humans interacting with domesticated animals,recalling the interaction of Haida figures in earlier pipes, but represented (according toSheehan) with a confident degree of humour that pokes fun at idiosynchratic Europeanbehaviors and lifestyles (Sheehan 1981: 80-95).Hoover accurately notes that Sheehan’s identification of humour in these images may beno more than “the twentieth century Euro-American perspective of Sheehan.” (Hoover andMacNair 1984: 207). However, if the element of humour is indeed present and intendedby the artists, the message incorporated as a sort of “private joke” may not have beenintended to be received by the consumer. Although it is certainly possible that the Euro-American buyers did “get the message” or indeed may have even requested that this degreeof humour be incorporated, it is perhaps more plausible to consider that they may havebeen largely oblivious to the potentially ironic message of the artist. They continued tobuy, however, indicating satisfaction with the result of the new imagery incorporated.24 An example of this activity are the argillite boxes collected by Swan in Skidegate for theSmithsonian Institution (HoIm 1981:194). Note that Swan collected argillite more readilythan other institutional collectors did: “Argillite carving was one of Swan’s weak spots.”(Cole 1985: 45).25 For example, Newcombe records in his notes that an argillite frog bowl that he purchasedin Masset in 1912 was produced by Charles Edenshaw (now in the British Columbia ProvincialMuseum, catalogue #9910) (MacNair and Hoover 1984:76).64K. Ransom - Art as Negotiation: The Reciprocal Construction of Meanings in the Argillite Carvings of Charles Edenshaw - 199326 Kaufmann, however, suggests that these sacred images and forms, which previously couldnot be used in art-for-sale, must have lost their important private meanings for the Haida,in order for them to appear on objects made for strangers. (Kaufmann, 1969).27 I do not want to get into a more involved discussion of the chronology of the three objects.The debate is certainly an interesting one, but it does not concern me in this thesis.28 I searched Santa Fe historical records at the Historical Library of the Museum of New Mexicoand the Santa Fe Public Archives for a J. L Gould to no avail. I was, however, guided tothe Free Museum (the only Free Museum in Santa Fe during that time), which was runby a Jake Gold. It is possible that the Columbian Exposition recorded the lenders nameincorrectly. Jake Gold’s Free Museum adjoined the proprietor’s Old Curiosity Shop in SantaFe. Gold apparently employed collectors and dealers as far west as Colorado to acquireNative-made objects for exhibit in his Free Museum and sale in his Curio Shop. See Appendixfor accession records of the Field Museum in Chicago.29 Although this is purely speculation, the connection with Norway may indicate the identityof the original collector of the piece (although the Oslo Museum could not verify this).I am thinking here of Adrian Jacobsen, a Norwegian explorer and amateur ethnologist whovisited the Northwest Coast in 1881-1883. Jacobsen visited Port Essington. Skidegate andMasset before continuing on to Alaska, and he collected a great deal of argillite materialwhich was later distributed to different museums across Europe. If the Edenshaw platehad indeed been collected by a Norwegian and housed in Norway before being given tothe Dublin institution, a plaster cast of the object in Oslo would make sense.30 I contacted Sotheby’s in New York (which held the 1982 auction) about the prior ownershipof the piece but they advised me they could not give me more information. A noteaccompanying the object on file at the Seattle Art Museum indicates that the object wasfound by an antique dealer in a private home in Maine before bringing it to Sotheby’s.31 Swanton explains here that “Supernatural beings were unable to bear the odour of urine,the blood of a menstruant woman, or anything associated with these. (Swanton 1905a:148). Blackman (1982: 27-29, 48-49) discusses the power of women in Haida culture relatedto their reproductive capabilities. A number of rigid and ritually maintained taboos wereobserved as a check on this power, which could become dangerous if left unregulated.Blackman reports Florence Davidson’ about the power of menstruant women: “Once womenchange their life, they [men] are scared of them.” (Davidson in Blackman 1982: 29).32 Swanton includes a footnote to explain here that Raven’s sister will be safe because “Thepeople of the Raven clan, to which Raven’s sister necessarily belonged, were thought tohave better morals than the Eagle people.” (Swantonl9o5a: 148). It seems more likely tome that Raven meant that he himselfwould not have intercourse with his sister, whereashe would have access to intercourse with his wife. Ironically, on the very next page inthe same narrative reported by Swanton, the double-crossing Raven does violate his sister,tricking her into having intercourse with him. (Swanton 1905a: 127).65K. Ransom- Art as Negotiation: The Reciprocal Construction of Meanings in the Argillite Carvings of Chailes Edenshaw - 1993BibliographyAlcoff, Linda(1992) “The Problem of Speaking for Others”. Cultural Critique, No. 20, 5-32.Appadurai, Arjun.(1986) The Social Life of Things. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.Barbeau, Marius C.(1953) Haida Myths Illustrated in Argillite Carvings. National Museum of CanadaBulletin 127, Anth. Series 32.(1957) Haida Carvers in Argillite. National Museum of Canada Bulletin 139,Anth.Series 38.Blackman, Margaret.(1977) “Totems to Tombstones: Culture Change as Viewed Through the HaidaMortuary Complex.” Ethnology 10(1) :47-56.(1982) During My Time - florence Edenshaw Davidson - A Haida Woman. Seattle:University of Washington Press.(1990) “Haida: Traditional Culture.” Handbook of North American Indians, Vol. 9.Wayne Suttles, volume ed. Washington: Smithsonian, pp. 240-260.Boas, Franz.(1890) “First General Report on the Indians of British Columbia.” 59th Report onthe British Association for the Advancement of Science for 1889, pp. 801-893.London.(1897) “The Decorative Art of the Indians of the North Pacific Coast.” Bulletin ofthe American Museum of Natural History Vol 9, pp1 23-196. American Museum ofNatural History, New York.(1927) Primitive Art. New York: Dover Press, reprinted 1955.Boyd, Robert T. “Demographic History: 1774-1874.” Handbook of North American Indians,Vol. 9. Wayne Suttles, volume ed. Washington: Smithsonian, pp. 135-148.Chittenden, Newton H.(1884) “Hyda land and people.” Official Report of the Exploration of the QueenCharlotte Islands. Victoria: Government of B.C.66K. Ransom- Art as Negotiation: The Reciprocal Construction of Meanings in the Argillite Carvings of Charles Edenshaw - 1993Clifford, James and George E. Marcus.(1986) Writing Culture: The Poetics and Politics of Ethnography. University ofCalifornia Press.Clifford, James.(1986) The Predicament of Culture: Twentieth Century Ethnogrphy, Literature,and Art. Harvard University Press.Cohodas, Marvin(1993) “High on the Rivers: The Basketry of Elizabeth Conrad Hickox in the Context of the Curio Trade.” Unpublished paper.(1993a) Personal communication.Cole, Douglas.(1985) Captured Heritage: The Scramble for Northwest Coast Artifacts. Vancouver: Douglas Et McIntyre.Collison, W.H.(1915) In the Wake of the War Canoe. Toronto: Musson Press.Culler, Johnathan.(1981) “The Semiotics of Tourism.” American Journal of Semiotics. 1,2: 127-40.(1982) On Deconstruction: Theory and Criticism After Structuralism. CornellUniversity Press.Dawson, G.M.(1880) Report on the Queen Charlotte Islands. Geological Survey of Canada,1878-79. Ottawa: Government of Canada, 1 B-293B.Deans, James(1899) “Tales from the totems of the Hidery.” International Folklore AssociationArchives, 2.de Certeau, Michel.(1988) The Writing of History New York: Columbia University Press.Derrida, Jacques(1972) Of Grammatology.John Hopkins University Press, 1976.Drew, Lesley and Doug Wilson.(1980) Argillite:Art of the Haida. North Vancouver: Hancock House.Dominguez, Virginia.(1986) “The Marketing of Heritage.” American Ethnologist,13(3), 546-555.67K. Ransom- Art as Negotiation: The Reciprocal Construction of Meanzngs in the Argillite Carvings of Charles Edenshaw - 1993(1992) ‘invoking Culture: The Messy Side of Cultural Politics.” South AtlanticQuarterly, 91(1): 19-42.Duff, Wilson(1964) “Contributions of Marius Barbeau to West Coast Ethnology.”Anthropologica, 6(1): 63-96.(1970) Unpublished letter to Dr. James Van Stone, Curator of Anthropology, theField Museum of Natural History. Chicago: Field Museum of Natural History.(1981) “The World is as Sharp as a Knife: Meaning in Northwest Coast Art.” TheWorld is as Sharp as a Knife. Victoria: British Columbia Provincial Museum, 209-224.Fabian, Johannes.(1983) Time and the Other: How Anthropology Makes its Object. New York: Columbia University Press.(1990) “Presence and Representation: The Other and Anthropological Writing.”Critical lnquiry Summer, 753-771.Gordon, Beverly.(1984) “The Niagra Falls Whimsey: The Object as a Symbol of Cultural Interface.”Unpublished PhD. thesis, University of Wisconsin.Gough, Barry M.(1982) “New Light on Haida Chiefship: The Case of Edenshaw.” Ethnohistory29(2):131-139.Graburn, Nelson, ed.(1976) Ethnic and Tourist Arts. Berkeley: University of California Press.Gunther, Erna, trans.(1971) Alaskan Voyage, 1881-1883: An Expedition to the North west Coast ofAmerica byiohan Adrian Jacobsen. From the German text of Adrian Woldt. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.Halpin, Marjorie.(1993) “A Critique of the Boasian Paradigm for Northwest Coast Art.” Unpublishedpaper.Harrison, Charles.(1925) Ancient Warriors of the North Pacific. London: Witherby.Hobsbawm, Eric and Terence Ranger(1983) The Invention of Tradition. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.68K. Ransom- Art as Negotiation: The Reciprocal Construction of Meanings in the Argillite Carvings of Charles Edenshaw - 1993Hoim, Bill.(1965) Northwest Coast Indian Art;, An Analysis of Form. Seattle: University ofWashington Press.(1967) “What Makes an Edenshaw?” Unpublished article, Museum of Anthropology Library.(1981) “Will the Real Charles Edenshaw Please Stand Up? The Problem of Attribution in Northwest Coast Indian Art.” The world is as sharp as a knife, ed. D.N.Abbott. Victoria: British Columbia Provincial Museum.(1983) The Box of Daylight: Northwest Coast Indian Art. Seattle Art Museum.Hoover, Alan L.(1983) “Charles Edenshaw and the Creation of Human Beings” American IndianArt Magazine. 8(3). pp. 62-67.Jacknis, Ira(1985) “Franz Boas and Exhibits.” in Stocking, ed., Objects and Others: Essays onMuseums and Material Culture, University of Wisconsin Press.Jonaitis, Aldona.(1981) “Creations of Mystics and Philosophers: The White Man’s Perceptions ofNorthwest Coast Indian Art from the 1930s to the Present.” American IndianCulture and Research Journal, 5(1): 1-45.(1992) “Franz Boas, John Swanton and the New Haida Sculpture.” The Early Yearsof Native American Art History: The Politics ofScholarship and Collection. JanetCatherine Berlo, ed. Seattle: University of Washington Press.Jules-Rosette, Benetta.(1984) The Messages of TouristArt. New York: Plenum.Kaufmann, Carole Natalie.(1969) “Changes in Haida Indian Argillite Carvings, 1820-1910.” Unpublished PhD.dissertation, UCLA Press.Kristeva, Julia.(1982) The Powers of Horror. Leon S. Roudiez, trans., New York: Columbia University Press.MacNair, Peter L and Alan L. Hoover.(1984) The Magic Leaves: A History of Haida Argihite Carving. Victoria: B.C.Provincial Museum.MacNair, Peter L., Alan L. Hoover and Kevin Neary.(1980) The Legacy: Tradition and Innovation in Northwest Coast Indian ArtVictoria: British Columbia Provincial Museum.69K. Ransom - Art as Negotiation: The Reciprocal Construction of Meanings in the Argillite Carvings of Charles Ecienshaw - 1993Miller, Daniel.(1987) Material Culture and Mass Consumption. New York: Basil Blackwell.McLaren, Peter.(1993) “Multiculturalism and the postmodern critique: towards a pedagogy ofresistance and transformation.” Cultural Studies, 7(1), 118-146.Newcombe, Charles F.(1901) Note on Field Museum artifact, cat, no. 17952. Newcombe photographicarchive, Ethnology Division, British Columbia Provincial Museum, Victoria.Niblack, A.P.(1890) The Coast Indians of Southern Alaska and Northern British Columbia.Washington, D.C.: Annual Report of the U.S. National Museum.Ong, Walter.(1982) Orality and Literacy: The Technologizing of the Word. New York: Methuen.Ransom, Kelly.(1989) “Objects Are Not Words: Poststructuralism and the Person-Object Relationship.” Unpublished paper, University of B.C., Vancouver.(1991) “Charles Edenshaw: Haida Master.” Unpublished paper, University of BritishColumbia, Vancouver.(1992) “Curio, Artifact, Art: The Development of Northwest Coast Indian ArtExhibition Discourse in North America.” Unpublished paper, University of BritishColumbia. Vancouver.Rosaldo, Renato.(1989) Culture and Truth: The Remaking ofSocial Analysis. Boston: Beacon.Ryan, Maureen(1993) Personal communication.Sheehan, Carol.(1981) Pipes that Won’t Smoke; Coal that Won’t Burn. Calgary, Alberta: GlenbowMuseum.Smith, Ruth Elaine(1983) “Ethnohistoric Study of Haida Acculturation.” Abhandlungen derVolkerkundlichen Arbeitsgemeinschaft. No rtorf.Stearns, Mary Lee(1981) Culture in Custody: the Masset Band. Seattle: University of WashingtonPress.70K. Ransom- Art as Negotiation: The Reciprocal Construction of Meanings in the Argillite Carvings of Charles Edenshaw - 1993Stewart, Susan.(1984) On Longing: Narratives of the Miniature, the Gigantic, the Souvenir, theCollection. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press.Stocking, George W.(1985) Objects and Others: Essays on Museums and Material Culture. Universityof Wisconsin Press.Sturtevant, W.(1969) “Does Anthropology Need Museums?” Proceedings of the Biological Societyof Washington. 82: 619-650.Suttles, Wayne, volume ed.(1990) Handbook of North American Indians. VoL 7: The Northwest Coast. WilliamSturtevant, general ed. Washington: Smithsonian.Swanton, J.R.(1905) “Contributions to the Ethnology of the Haida. Jesup North Pacific Expedition Publications, Vol V. American Museum of Natural History.(1 905a) “Haida Texts and Myths Bureau ofAmerican Ethnology, Bulletin 29.(1908) “Haida Texts, Masset Dialect.” Jesup North Pacific Expedition Publications,10(2). American Museum of Natural History.Swan, J.G.(1876) “The Haidah Indians of Queen Charlotte’s Island, British Columbia With aBrief Description of Their Carvings, Tattoo Designs, etc. Smithsonian Contributions to Knowledge, Vol 21(4): 1-18, Washington, D.C.Thomas, Susan J.(1967) “The Life and Work of Charles Edenshaw Unpublished graduating essay.Vancouver: University of British Columbia.Walbran, John T.(1909) British Columbia Coast Names, 1592-1906. Ottawa: Government PrintingBureau.Wright, Robin K.(1977) “Haida Argillite Pipes. Unpublished M.A. thesis, Seattle: University ofWashington.(1986) Catalogue Entry for Argillite Dish, Seattle Art Museum.71K. Ransom- Art as Negotiation: The Reciprocal Construction of Meanings in the Argillite Carvings of Charles Edenshaw - 1993Appendix72K. Ransom- Art as Negotiation: The Reciprocal Construction of Meanings in the Argilhte Carvings of Charles Edenshaw - 1993-bth? L ••Datef No. -Departrnent_4..______-FIeM Museum of Natural HistoryOF CHICAGOHISTORICAL FILECatalogues of CollectionsLetters and Memoranda concerning SpecimensSender J. L. Gould,.Santa Fe, Now ).exicopueblo pottery, etc.Carved slate objects.— Haida.This packet may be taken for temporary use byofficials of the Museum, and by them only. Theymust rigi a receipt for it, and returr witlin oiemonth. If any paper is needed for permanent ret.ntion, a copy will be furnished upon application. Whenremoved the receipt must be put in its place.73K. Ransom- Art as Negotiation: The Reciprocal Construction of Meanings in the Argillite Carvings of Charles Edenshaw - 199320468224692247022471224722247w2247422478224762247?22478‘24 922480224812248222483224842248522486224872248822489224902249122492224932249422495224962249722498224991785217953179541795517956108.Earthen ofla bird formEarthen ella, brown ornanentBone necklaceWooden sticksGourd rattlelarge vesselEarthen ollaEarthen bird figureDrumRudely flaked stone axe2 wooden stirrupsStone for grinding paintMetate and grinder’1 neEarthen human figureWoven water basketEarthen jarBroken pottery VEarthen vaseEarthen ella, brown ornamentDouble animal shaped vesselEarthen vesselEarthen ella2 clay human figuresEarthen jarEarthen owlDuck shaped earthen vesselEarthen water jarEarthen deerEarthen water jarGrooved etone axeEarthen ollaEarthen oUa-brOWZl ornamentCarved circular dish, slate.Model totem pole carved in slateModel — totem pole carved in slateModel — totem pole carved in slateModel — totem pole carved in slate.Country U. S. A.locality: New lexico.Dates0o11ecton: 3. 1. Gould.0a) 3 ‘“ C_)3-,—Ct>—’0c2 :3 Ci C)C-’ -•:—Q —i-:; .. .‘. ‘.3r_’-u, ‘._ ---3’‘VI- —Haida — ueen Charlotte Islands, British Columbia.74It)C.,0)0)1K. Ransom-Art as Negotiation: The Reciprocal Construction of Meanings in the Argillite Carvings of Charles Edenshaw - 199376I;Jtoc‘)i’5rn -•1 - 0 C -D,D---YA0 3 0 z CD 0 0 CD ;E1 CD C);3flIC,,0)0)


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