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Skilquewat : on the trail of Property Woman : the life story of Freda Diesing Slade, Mary Anne Barbara 2002

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S K I L Q U E W A T : O N T H E T R A I L O F P R O P E R T Y W O M A N T H E L I F E S T O R Y O F F R E D A D I E S I N G by M A R Y A N N E B A R B A R A S L A D E B A , Carleton University, 1989 M A , Carleton University, 1995 A THESIS SUBMITTED IN PARTIAL FULFILMENT OF THE REQUIREMENTS FOR THE DEGREE OF DOCTOR OF PHILOSOPHY in THE F A C U L T Y OF G R A D U A T E STUDIES Department of Anthropology and Sociology We accept this thesis as conforming to the required standard THE UNIVERSITY OF BRITISH C O L U M B I A October 2002 © Mary Anne Barbara Slade, 2002 In presenting this thesis in partial fulfilment of the requirements for an advanced degree at the University of British Columbia, I agree that the Library shall make it freely available for reference and study. I further agree that permission for extensive copying of this thesis for scholarly purposes may be granted by the head of my department or by his or her representatives. It is understood that copying or publication of this thesis for financial gain shall not be allowed without my written permission. Department of A n t h r o p o l o g y and S o c i o l o g y The U n i v e r s i t y of B r i t i s h Columbia Vancouver, Canada Date f M j / n ^ 11 ABSTRACT This dissertation presents the life story of Freda Diesing, artist, teacher, and the first Haida woman known to become a professional carver. Diesing holds the Haida name Skilquewat, which translates as the descriptive phrase "On the trail of Property Woman." This phrase makes an appropriate title, as it reflects both the research process and the form of the written result. Diesing's life is not presented here as a monolith discovered, singular and clearly bounded, but rather as an organic accretive identity, constantly in the process of construction and negotiation. Diesing defines herself in relation to her mother and her grandmother, and her stories tell how they negotiated their own identities during times of rapid cultural change. For all three women changes in Haida culture under pressure from wider Canadian society tended to emphasize the role of women in the domestic sphere, as wives and mothers, while mmimizing their wider political and social impact. Diesing, a woman of mixed ethnic decent, who married late, has no children, lives only on the mainland and grows increasingly independent and active as an elderly widow, resists easy classification. She performs her own identity variably, depending upon her audience. By developing her identity as a Haida artist and teacher Diesing has been able to negotiate a position of continuing respect and influence appropriate to her chiefly heritage, despite inauspicious circumstances in her own life and in the contemporary history of the Haida people. Yet it is not being recognized as an artist or a master carver that has been Diesing's primary intention. Rather she has used her art itself as a tool in achieving a goal she defines as most important: helping both Natives and non-Natives understand and take pride in the indigenous I l l cultural heritage of the Northwest Coast. More than an artist, Freda Diesing is a teacher. Through the stories she tells, and through her own life's example, she reminds us all of the continuing vitality of Northwest Coast cultures, and especially of the important contributions of women in Coastal society. i v TABLE OF CONTENTS ABSTRACT ii LIST OF FIGURES vi LIST OF PLATES vii ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS ix A NOTE ON SPELLING xii SECTIONI: INTRODUCTIONS Chapter 1: Overview 2 Chapter 2: The Artist, The Anthropologist, and The Negotiation of Identity . . . . 19 Chapter 3: Presenting Freda Diesing 27 Chapter 4: Situating the Anthropology 35 Chapter 5: Situating the Artist and Her Art 109 SECTION II: STORIES Chapter 6: My Grandmother's World 130 Chapter 7: My Mother's World 194 Chapter 8: My World 245 SECTION III: CONCLUSIONS Chapter 9: Voices, Echoes, and Shadowplay 345 BIBLIOGRAPHY 420 APPENDICES: Appendix A: Discussion of Kinship Terms 452 Appendix B: Genealogical Chart 455 Appendix C: Timeline Chart 463 Appendix D: Exhibition And Teaching Dates 469 Appendix E: Ellen Neel's Speech at Conference -1948 472 Appendix F: Photo Album 475 V LIST OF FIGURES FIGURE # TITLE PAGE Figure 1: Masks of Man and Woman - by F. Diesing (photo by B. McLennan) 1 Figure 2: "Scana and the Woman" - design by F. Diesing 130 Figure 3: "Eagle with Fish"- design by F. Diesing 194 Figure 4: "Freda Diesing" - photo by M. Slade 245 Figure 5: "Seal and Salmon" - design by F. Diesing 345 Figure 6: "Butterfly" - design by F. Diesing 368 Figure 7: "Salmon" - design by F. Diesing 391 Figure 8: "Raven finds Mankind in a Clamshell" - design by F. Diesing 409 Figure 9: "Raven with Sun" - design by F. Diesing 419 Figure 10: "Hummingbirds" - design by F. Diesing 455 vi LIST OF PLATES PLATE # TITLE PAGE 1 Freda Diesing receives the name Skilquewat from William Russ 475 2 Signing Registry for Honorary Doctor of Laws, UNBC 2002 476 3 Dr. Freda Diesing and sister Roberta Perry 476 4 Onstage at the Aboriginal Achievement Awards Ceremony - 2002 476 5 Display in Terrace (Front and Back Views) - 2002 477 6 Nancy and Freda in Hawaii 478 7 Franz, Flossie and baby Nancy 478 8 Beaver Pole 479 9 Freda carving "Eagle Mother and Child" pole in Finland 479 10 Freda holding two masks 479 11 Old Man Mask 480 12 Young Woman Mask 480 13 Raven Rattle 480 14 Freda celebrating with Friends on Northwest Coast - 2000 481 15 Doreen Jensen, Dolly Watts and Freda Diesing in Australia - 1985 481 16 Freda, Roberta and the "Girls" from the 1936 Flood - 2002 482 17 Freda as a Little Girl - ca. 1929 482 18 Brother Frank and Freda as Children 482 19 Mary ArinejNorman as a Young Woman 483 20 Mary Anne Norman with her Eldest Children 484 21 Axel Hanson and Mary Anne with Grandchildren Nancy, Frank and Freda 484 V l l 22 Franz Johnson, Flossie and baby Freda 485 23 Amos, Emily and Flossie as Young Adults 486 24 Flossie and Freda (age 14) 487 25 Flossie and Freda (age 18) 487 26 Flossie and Freda, 1980s 487 27 Chief W E A H and family, Masset 1969 488 vm ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS In any dissertation, there are a number of people whose contributions deserve acknowledgement, but none more clearly than in a life story. Not only do I appreciate the fact that Freda Diesing agreed to undertake this project, and shared the stories of her life so willingly, but I am especially grateful for her continuing input at various stages of the production process, and her warm and welcoming disposition throughout. This undertaking has proven particularly challenging for my supervisory committee as well. I originally came to UBC to work with Professor Marjorie Halpin, although she was not free to chair my committee until my second year. In the interim, Professor John Barker became the chair of my committee, steadfastly guiding and supporting me through the ins and outs of departmental requirements during that awkward time of adjusting to a new university (and a new environment). Professor Halpin then guided me through the intricacies of the proposal/comprehensives process, and supervised the planning, undertaking, and approach to writing of my fieldwork experience. Her relaxed but attentive guidance was pivotal in my undertaking and completing the work. Her passion for excellence in scholarship and teaching (which I experienced most directly while working as her teaching assistant) was inspirational. Her sudden death in the late summer of 2000 was a great loss to myself as well as the university community. It also left me in the final stages of a doctoral programme with no supervisor. During the extensive period of re-adjustment, Professor Ruth Phillips stepped over from committee member to acting chair, despite the demands placed upon her by her position as the Director of U B C s Museum of Anthropology. It was finally Professor R.G. Matson who took on the duties of supervisor for the critical final stage of drafting and defending the dissertation. His ix thoroughness, enthusiasm and tolerance through what has sometimes seemed like no end of troubles have been indispensable. Although never officially a chair of my committee, Professor Margaret Anderson of the University of Northern British Columbia has contributed far more than might be expected of a committee member. Her extraordinary prompt, discerning and knowledgeable comments, combined with ever-cheerful encouragement, have been invaluable. Professor Bruce Miller has provided substantive input and continuity to this document and to my programme, being both one of my first professors at UBC, and one of the first and final members of my committee. A hearty thank you to all! Information about the art and career of Freda Diesing has been readily provided by individuals in the Department of Foreign Affairs; Indian and Northern Affairs Canada (including the Indian Art Centre); the Canadian Museum of Civilization; the Royal British Columbian Museum; the Vancouver Museum, and UBC's Museum of Anthropology. At the latter I am especially grateful for the assistance of Bill McLennan and Karen Duffek. In addition to the many other professors and friends who have informed and encouraged me over the years, but here go unmentioned, I am particularly grateful for the intellectual stimulation, comradery, and personal support provided by my fellow graduate students Maria Roth, Leslie Robertson, Nancy Wachowich, Karen Richter and Tannie Liu. And for most recently modelling inspired teaching (and showing me how helpful skilful coaching can be), my thanks to Dr. Sharon Fuller. I am unendingly grateful for the support of my family throughout this process: my parents X William and Jean Slade; my sisters Beth, Gail, and Linda, and their husbands Larry, Gary, and Bob, and all their children. One can never have too many words of encouragement. My son Mark, who equally had his life shifted when I "left home" years ago, has, with his partner Sue, been a steady font of encouragement (as well as late-night cross-country telephone support for those many computer crashes!).But the one who has certainly endured the most, with the best good humour, and supported me in every possible way throughout these seemingly endless years of research, writing, and lugging books around, is my partner Robert Strath, without whom this dissertation truly never would have materialized. Words cannot express my gratitude. But I can warn that now I may actually start cooking again! Finally, I would like to acknowledge the support of the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council whose Doctoral Fellowship awards allowed me to begin and continue my doctoral studies. xi A NOTE ON SPELLING Until recently there has been no standardized spelling for the Haida language, which contains sounds that do not occur in the English language. Accordingly, in the literature on the Haida, there are almost as many ways to spell words and names as there have been writers (this issue is addressed again further on in the dissertation). In this document, Haida terms are spelled according to Diesing's preferences. Since her knowledge of Haida is limited, and my own is nil, these spellings undoubtedly provide an English bias in their approximation of Haida sounds. However, linguists have been hard at work over the past several decades developing standardized Haida phonetics and orthography. Increasingly, writers are adopting these standards, drawing particularly upon the work of Enrico (1980) for the Masset dialect, Levine (1977) for the Skidegate dialect, and Lawrence (1977) for the Alaskan dialect of Haida. SECTION I; INTR ODUCTIOMS FIGURE 1: Mask of Man And of Woman - by Freda Diesing In the collection of the Museum of Anthropology, University of British Columbia Photograph by Bi l l McLennan 2002 (used with permission) Chapter 1: Overview Freda Diesing is not a Titan in this world; the earth does not shake when she walks; armies do not march at her command; crowds do not jostle to see her. She is, as she says, just an old lady "famous" for her eating habits. "Many Haidas are famous for their hospitality and proud of their cooking. I'm not one of them!" An Egg McMuffin® every morning and a senior coffee. The muffin enjoyed as a 2-course meal: first the lower half with the hot egg, cheese, and ham, then the top of the muffin with jam. The free refill on the senior coffee to be taken home for later. Time alone to read the paper is central to this morning ritual. "I like to read the paper. It's free at 'McDonalds' and the lighting is much better there." This is quintessential Freda Diesing.1 So why write a PhD dissertation about such an ordinary old lady? Two reasons, equally important. First, there is value in the lives of all old ladies. Culture is created and continued daily by the actions and the stories of individuals. Old ladies, then, have not only invested lifetimes in helping to make all of us who we are, but have given us ways to interact within our world and ways to envision our world. Second, this particular "old lady" is famous for something besides her breakfasts. Freda Diesing is an artist and a teacher. 1 Please see also Crean 2001. -3-For almost half a century Diesing has been active as an artist, creating both print and textile designs and, most notably, numerous wooden carvings. She is the first Haida2 woman known to make her living as a carver. Diesing is well known in the Northwest Coast (NWC) 3 artistic community, and revered as a teacher by many. Master carver Dempsey Bob, one of her students, has dubbed her "Mother of Carvers " in acknowledgment of her impact on and contributions to that community. Diesing's work has been included in dozens of art exhibitions, and she has travelled and taught internationally. Yet her presentation to the wider Canadian public remains limited, and her contributions go largely unacclaimed. This contrasts starkly with the situation for many of her male contemporaries. B i l l Reid and Robert Davidson, for example, have each achieved national and international fame and fortune as carvers within "the Haida tradition." B i l l Reid in particular has been accorded almost legendary status for his role in the "Renaissance" of N W C art, although he chose to work at a distance from contemporary Native communities. Conversely the cosmopolitan Robert Davidson, arguably Reid's artistic successor, was certainly one of the earliest, and perhaps still the most influential artist to bring Haida art back to Haida Gwaii,4 2 This dissertation presupposes that the reader already has a general knowledge of the history and the art of the Haida people. For the reader who is unfamiliar with the Haida nation, I recommend Drew, and Volume VII of the Handbook of North American Indians. Swanton's studies are classic, as are Collison's for a missionary's perspective. Brink focusses on change throughout the period in question, while good contemporary works include Blackman, Steams, Boelscher, and Bringhurst. Books specifically about contemporary Haida art/artists include Duffek, Halpin, Holm, Shadbolt, and Wright. (Please see bibliography for full reference details). 3 Although the NWC culture area extends along the Canadian and American coasts from Alaska to northern California (see Suttles 1990), my use of the term here is generally restricted to the Canadian sector. Equally my use of the term NWC art style generally refers only to what is commonly known as the "northern" coastal groups, who share not only a similar art style, but a similar matrilineal social structure, and a strongly interrelated history. 4 Haida Gwaii, Land of the Haida, is the term currently preferred by many Haida for what are more generally known as the Queen Charlotte Islands. As Diesing never used the Haida term, preferring instead to use the full Western name, or more commonly, just "the Islands," I follow her example throughout this dissertation. For the same reason I use "Native " or "Indian " in place of the more politically correct term "First Nations. " -4-stimulating the re-creation of a rich ceremonial life in Haida communities. Diesing has chosen to immerse herself in the mainland urban sector of these communities, as an active agent of cultural transmission, continuity, and change. How was the trajectory of Diesing's career affected by her choice of community and location -being in small town northern BC in Gitksan and Tsimshian territory rather than the Haida reserve of Masset or the multi-cultural magnet that is Vancouver? How was it affected by her age, and her gender? And how was it affected by her artistic skill and her creative vision - and by the marketing forces that ultimately drive and shape the world of art-for-sale? These are questions which will be addressed throughout this work, and may be helpful to keep in mind while reading her stories. But the core project of this dissertation is to explore the ways that Diesing has negotiated her identity in relation to her mixed Native-Euro-Canadian heritage, and how she both expresses and reinforces this identity through the doing, and most especially through the teaching of N W C art. For, as will emerge from the stories and discussions to come, Freda Diesing is a teacher. Her career is best understood as the pathway along which she approached teaching, and her art as the means through which she engages the audience she wishes to teach. This dissertation is first and foremost a life story, situated within and contributing to the field of anthropological autobiography. As such, it helps fill a space in Northwest Coast ethnography, a space where Native women, Native art, and Native historical agency coincide. The analytical theme which I explicitly pursue in this life story is that of identity negotiation. However there are several sub-themes as well, concerning forms of accommodation to change and the persistence - 5 -of form and/or meaning, particularly under conditions of depopulation or dispersal. There is also, scattered throughout Diesing's stories, considerable information about the meaning and the doing of Northwest Coast art, of interest to both art practitioners and art historians. Students of Haida history will also find it interesting as a three-generation retrospective of a high-status Masset matrilineage, particularly when read in conjunction with Stearns' (1981) examination of mid-twentieth century Masset, and Boelscher's (1989) discussion of Haida forms of communication. In Section II, Stories, Diesing discusses chieftainship and inheritance and the history of Masset from a woman's point of view, emphasizing the role of women in power struggles and negotiations to place chiefs from their own family, and to negotiate marriages that will place their own grandchildren in positions of power.5 Contrast this with Stearns, who presents the same town history but gives almost exclusively a male-centred view of power and politics. Boelscher discusses inference and allusion as powerful tools of manipulation and coercion, allowing individuals to participate in negotiating the form of Haida society and their own place within it. What Stearns sees as just a group of women chatting quietly after an event, Boelscher sees as the most significant part of an event. Diesing's focus on individuals rather than events fleshes out Boelscher's ideas. Although clearly the life of one individual does not represent the lives of all, starting to understand the life of one individual contributes to the understanding of all. This is particularly true when the individual, like Freda Diesing, is a teacher and an artist - one who not only lives 5 When considered in light of Haida reincarnation beliefs, one might think that these women are attempting to plan their own political positioning and social environment in their next life. -6-her own life but reflects the lives of those around her and helps shape the knowledge and experience of others. Although once again increasing in popularity (Cruikshank 1987), biographical work, particularly life story work, is still not the primary approach to doing anthropological work. Ethnographies that focus on women have become much more prevalent in the last few decades, although still far from proportional to the somewhat more than 50% of the world's population who are female. As for published life stories of Northwest Coast women, I know of only two - Nuytten's (1982) brief biography of Ellen Neel (although Phillips, 2000, has recently completed an extensive biographical study of Neel as an unpublished thesis), and Blackman's (1982) book about Florence Davidson, who, like Diesing, is a Haida woman. Such is the size of the ethnographic space in which this dissertation is situated. Although the empty space in scholarship regarding Northwest Coast art is considerably smaller, there too this dissertation has a valuable place -since much of the existing scholarship is from the perspective of the academic, not the artist. Bringhurst (1999:66) makes this comment on the advantage of an arts-based approach: "What people think, and what they believe, from moment to moment and day to day, is for each of them to say or not to say, as each of them may choose. .. If we come to the study of culture by way of literature and art, we have an advantage: we can generally be sure that what we are studying is something someone has actually chosen to say. " Over the decades, Diesing has used her art to say a great deal about being Haida. -7-The existing anthropological literature on NWC art draws upon and extends the classic analysis in the formalist traditions of Franz Boas and Bill Holm, and the structuralist traditions of Claude Levi-Strauss, and Wilson Duff. Even the more personalized accounts of the artists themselves, aimed at a wider audience, still echo these analytical bases. An understanding of Diesing's life is not well-served by these approaches. Instead, this dissertation represents a radically different undertaking. My approach to the thinking and the doing of anthropology is eclectic, having been informed by a variety of theories and practices, with the following being most significant. Feminist theorists have taught us that all knowledge is situated knowledge - what you know depends on who you are (biologically and socially) and your particular positioning (politically, spatially and temporally) with regard to any event. Performance theorists have drawn our attention to the importance of choice as well as patterning in how we present ourselves to others. How we act when alone and when in the company of various others is now seen as not just revealing ourselves, but as actually constituting ourselves - we continually remake ourselves through performance. Phenomenology has focussed our attention on the importance of how we focus our attention - that how we perceive and classify "the real world" is very much culturally constructed. Neuroanthropology, delving into the biological bases of perception, cognition, learning, and action, looks at culture from the perspective of the individual organism and it's environment. Stressing the importance of both our uniqueness as individual beings, and our biologically unity as humans, it draws our attention not only to the formative potential of major cultural ritual events, but to the importance of the everyday details that are part of our existence. Embodiment (discussed in detail in Chapter 9) unites these various orientations into an -8-understanding of cultural practice and social performance which is both deliberate and unconscious, with embodied knowledge being an ongoing process of accumulation and selection. I have fit these theoretical insights into a more general postmodern orientation. Attempting to be sensitive to concerns raised by oral historians, I amied to follow a post-colonial paradigm of anthropology as collaborative science. Accordingly, we undertook what Kleinman and Kleinman (1996:190) have termed an "ethnography of inter-personal experience." In order to access and understand Diesing's life story, I lived in her home, intending to "apprentice"6 to her as a carver, and ultimately taped many hours of her at work designing and carving new creations. During this time she told me stories of her life, presented most often as stories about her family, her teachers and her students. I accompanied her as she interacted with other artists and other anthropologists, in both private and public venues. Through both word and deed, she slowly revealed her personal world.7 This dissertation is the result of our collaboration to make some of her private knowledge public. Even a project that appears to be as clearly delimited as the writing of the biography of one individual still needs a sharper theoretical focus. The focus of this work is not specifically on the art Diesing produces, nor on the Northwest Coast art style within which she works; neither is it a feminist critique of the difficulties inherent in being "a woman in a man's world." Nor yet do political economy concerns predominate with debates over "traditional/ authentic vs. 6 I had originally intended for an apprenticeship which would be central to my research, but this did not occur. I will expand on what did occur in Chapter 2. 7 A more detailed discussion of methodological issues and how they were worked out in the research/writing process is presented in Chapter 4. -9-tourist/market demand" use and production in fourth world communities. While all of these are aspects of Diesing's reality, and are indeed incorporated into her story, the focus here is not on discrete categories, but on boundaries, meeting places, interactions. What we see is how an individual negotiates and performs her own identity. Williams (in Bauman 1977:48) claims that performance serves as "the nexus of tradition, practice and emergence in verbal art." Equally, I would argue that there is an interrelationship between NWC material art forms and orality that emerges in performance. As Halpin (1994) emphasizes, there is a clear relationship between art and orality on the Coast, with crest art being a visual manifestation of the potentialities for being and becoming that are expressed in the oral traditions. The oral is not only given physical form in art and costume, but it is given animation, breath and motion, through individual performance. Following Goffman (1967, 1956) we realize that performance occurs not only in special public events, but in the everyday interactions of one individual with another. The focal point of this research was the search for this nexus of the cultural and the personal in the experience of one individual, as expressed and understood in an anthropological performance shared by two individuals. Diesing tells and re-tells the stories told to her by her family, and stories about herself and her family, thus creating and re-creating both her Haida heritage and her identity as "a modern woman." She reinforces her Haida identity through her art, which draws upon the Haida oral traditions for its forms and images, while still remaining proud of her Swedish biological heritage. Diesing has garnered much respect and admiration both within and outside of the Haida community for her art and for her teaching, achieving recognition which might otherwise have -10-been difficult to attain.8 Particularly in the earlier years when "cultural hybridity" and "multiple ethnicity" were not concepts used or valued in Canadian society, the situation for a mixed-blood Haida woman whose home was on the mainland was not heartening. More important to Diesing, however, than the personal recognition she has achieved is the cultural recognition and understanding she has helped to perpetuate and spread through her teaching of Northwest Coast artforms and their interrelationship with the culture practices of the people who have created them. Putting a certain twist upon theorists such as Derrida (1967/1978) and especially Barthes (1972/1980,1977), who have drawn such attention to the impact of text as symbol (applying not only to description and metaphor, but to the implications of the very shape of the letters used and the placement of words on the page), I have attempted to at least make a limited application of their insights while crafting this text. Accordingly, an attempt at continuing the inter-subjective approach is reflected in the non-standard format of this written dissertation. Rather than presenting separate and clearly defined chapters on discrete categories such as theory; methodology; literature review; research data; analysis, and conclusions, this dissertation seeks to present knowledge in a more humanized manner. As individuals, we all draw upon our existing knowledge not in huge discrete blocks but in bits and pieces, imprecisely, sometimes randomly, occasionally erroneously, always contextually, and apply what we have drawn to help us understand and deal with whatever situation we may be in at the time. So too is existing knowledge presented here - in bits and pieces, here and there, as appropriate. No claim is made 8 In addition to national and international exhibitions and teaching engagements, in the first few months of 2002 Diesing was awarded the "Aboriginal Achievement Award," followed shortly thereafter by the bestowal of an Honorary Doctorate of Laws from the University of Northern British Columbia. -11-for completeness, either in anthropological text or in personal story, although an attempt has been made to recognize the work of others in the communities of anthropology and art within which this dissertation is situated and from which it has grown. This structure does not facilitate easy access to information. There is no index, and little in the way of chapter headings, particularly in Section II where Diesing's stories unfold. This is a deliberate and appropriate choice, for our lives seldom afford easy access for casual observation. If you want to know Freda Diesing, you will have to allow time and space to engage with her stories. There is also no neatly packaged summary, for at no time do our lives offer such summaries, and "closure" is always artificial. For those who are familiar with Haida culture, it is certainly possible to read Section II (Diesing's stories) while omitting Sections I and III - the anthropological contextualization and analysis. But to read only the discussions without exploring the stories is to miss the heart of this dissertation. Her stories are her life, and that is what this dissertation is all about - the enduring images of a life lived and spoken. Nonetheless, a certain amount of structuring is essential to make a written presentation manageable for the reader. Accordingly, an artificial coherence has been imposed on much of this information. Section I, INTRODUCTIONS, does attempt to situate both the anthropology and the art in their respective worlds, as well as introduce Diesing and give insights into the research process of ethnography as inter-personal experience. Section II, STORIES, presents the "research data": Freda Diesing's biography. Although the stories of Diesing's life are presented -12-mostly in her own words, they have been extracted from months of interwoven conversations, and given a new form and ordering in time and space (my grandmother's world, my mother's zvorld. . . )• The same is true for the anthropologist's experiences and comments, which are presented in Section I and Section III (CONCLUSIONS), like the binding, foreword, and epilogue of a book containing Diesing's life story. Footnotes as used in Sections I and III are as close an approximation as possible in a linear document to the functions of hypertext in electronic media - providing a branching out of one idea or bit of information into something related. I chose that style of footnoting as appropriate to reflect my own preferences for lateral as well as linear thoughtforms. The presentation of such additional commentary in Section II, however, is quite different. That is Diesing's section, which has its own logic and flow; the commentary, being interjected in my voice or that of others, is out of place there, serving only to interrupt or misdirect the flow. Accordingly, in Section II, the footnotes have been transformed into endnotes, where they can provide additional information without intrusion or distraction. Given that Diesing largely provides her own contextualization for what she says (reflective of the fact that she was most often speaking to me - an outsider who might not be able to grasp much in the way of embedded meaning), this spacing should provide no serious impediment to the reader. In an attempt to distinguish between different "voices" in this written text, and also to avoid the awkwardness of trying to identify to whom "I" refers when two individuals are each telling her own story, technology has been most helpful: one font (this one -Times New Roman) has been used for me, the anthropologist/writer Slade, while a different font (this one - Rubyscript) -13-has been used for the artist/storyteller Diesing. Italicized forms of both fonts are used when a quotation is being made from any third party. Although this changing of fonts occasionally makes the page look uncomfortably cluttered, I believe it more than compensates by providing, in a sense, another dimension, and a more noticeable alteration in source with the implication of conversation. With the same intention of providing other dimensions of information, there are many visual images presented as part of the body or appendices of this document. There are several examples of Diesing's prints interspersed throughout the document, scanned directly from prints she has given to me. There were a number of electronic images that were provided to me by museums from their own photos cataloguing Diesing's prints and carvings. These were frequently wonderful examples of the photographer's art, and I am saddened to say that technical difficulties prevented me from using most of them. Finally there is "The Photo Album" (Appendix F) - a partial reconstruction (deliberately appearing constructed) of Diesing's own photographic collection - images of images of memories. This "Album" also includes a few images that I have "captured" from the videos I recorded with Diesing, to add an essence of the casualness and physicality of art as "lived experience" to this text. As is appropriate to their nature and use, the technical quality of the "image's image" of "the Photo Album"is often poor -but technical quality can be irrelevant in matters of the heart. And, to draw to mind Barthes' (1980) comments on photographs: "It is not indifference which erases the weight of the image -the Photomat always turns you into a criminal type, wanted by the police - but love, extreme love." -14-There are also several instances wherein the desired free-flow of information has been captured and condensed for quick consumption. The first, the biographical sketch, is included as part of the main body of the dissertation (Section I, Chapter 3 ) . Freda Diesing, although widely known and admired within her community, is not so well known elsewhere. This brief biographical sketch is provided to introduce Diesing to new acquaintances. Like any introduction, it is not intended to replace the richness of personal revelation to come, but only to pique your interest in learning more about this interesting person. The second, third, and fourth packages of information comprise the Appendices (excluding Appendix E, which is other). To give the reader a more naturalized experience of coming to know Diesing, I had originally resisted all suggestions of providing any "indexing" of her life, believing that each reader should create this structuring uniquely and gradually, from the information Diesing herself provides. However, I have been convinced that such an approach places an unfair burden on the reader, so I've assembled some useful materials as contextualizing tools. The first tool is a brief description of the terminology of the Haida kinship system - Appendix A . In many ways this is the least useful tool, since Diesing more often than not uses kinship terms in the standard Western fashion. Her mother, however, used a more mixed system than did Diesing, and her grandmother used both Western and Haida terms in a primarily Haida fashion. I hope the brief discussion in Appendix A will help the reader better understand the nature of the changes, and the resultant confusion, wrought by Westernization of the indigenous system. -15 -T h i s i n h e r e n t c o n f u s i o n m a d e i t d i f f i c u l t t o c o n s t r u c t t h e s e c o n d t o o l , t h e g e n e a l o g i c a l c h a r t A p p e n d i x B 9 - ( w h i c h a c t u a l l y a p p e a r s a s s e v e r a l c h a r t s , s i n c e t h e m a s t e r i s e l e c t r o n i c a n d c a n n o t b e f i t t o p a p e r o f a c c e p t a b l e s i z e ) . T h i s i s a n a n t h r o p o l o g i c a l c o n s t r u c t t o p r i m a r i l y t r a c k b l o o d r e l a t i o n s h i p s ( b i a s s e d t o w a r d s a n u c l e a r f a m i l y ) , a n d s e c o n d a r i l y t o r e f l e c t i n d i g e n o u s s o c i a l c l a s s i f i c a t i o n s ("2 n d w i v e s " a s c o - w i v e s , f o r e x a m p l e , a r e d i f f i c u l t t o i n c o r p o r a t e ) . A s F r e d a s a i d o f h e r g r a n d m o t h e r ' s b r o t h e r s ( a n d e q u a l l y o f t h o s e h e r g r a n d m o t h e r c a l l e d " a u n t s " a n d " u n c l e s " ) , "She called them her brothers, but it's hard to tell ivith some of them whether she meant brothers in the English zvay or cottsins -since she called both her real brothers and her Eagle cozcsins '?>rol/ier. " Sometimes I've met old people and they'll say 'Tm 2/02/r real uncle"or 'T'm g/our real cozestn. " W e t r i e d t o m a k e t h e c h a r t m a t c h o u r b e s t u n d e r s t a n d i n g , b u t i t s h o u l d b e u s e d o n l y a s a g u i d e , n o t a c a n o n i c a l t e x t . 1 0 A l t h o u g h t h e r e i s c e r t a i n l y s e m a n t i c c o n f u s i o n r e s u l t i n g f r o m t h e m i s - m a t c h i n g o f t w o l a n g u a g e s a n d t w o s y s t e m s , t h e s i t u a t i o n i s p e r h a p s m o r e s o p h i s t i c a t e d t h a n c o n f u s e d . B o e l s c h e r , i n h e r d e t a i l e d a n a l y s i s o f H a i d a s o c i a l i n t e r a c t i o n , s e e s p a r t o f t h i s c o n f u s i o n a s a d e l i b e r a t e a m b i g u i t y n e c e s s a r y i n a s y s t e m t h a t i s a l w a y s a l i v e a n d g r o w i n g a n d o p e n t o c h a n g e - b u t h i g h l y d i r e c t e d , c o n t e s t e d , a n d m a n i p u l a t e d c h a n g e . S h e n o t e s : Lineage boundaries are and were redefined along with inter- and intra-lineage relationships; social rank depended upon a complex relationship between self and 9 This chart was designed to comprise Diesing plus a 3 generational swing, but is scanty beyond her grandparents. This, it seems, is typically Haida: Boelscher (1988: 37) notes that "genealogies are rarely more than 3 generations deep." 1 0 One of several people who have been putting considerable work into reconstruction Haida genealogies is Wright, and her latest (2001) book provides quite a number of charts, including one which includes Diesing. -16-others and between the ethos of solidarity and that of hierarchy. Kinship terms, as used in a political context to manipulate social statuses, are polysemic and versatile... The symbols of Haida social classification stand in a dialectical relationship to the conscious manipulations of their meaning. Social action aims at a continuous blurring of the boundaries of meanings in order to enable the renegotiation and redefinition of the social relations they replicate. (Boelscher 1988:5) The third tool, Appendix C, charts a "timeline" of significant historical or personal events and people relevant to Diesing's life story. The names of individuals who are mentioned in the text are capitalized when they first appear on this chart. I felt very conflicted about incorporating this chart into the document, for two reasons. First, its very nature, the rigid linearization of time, is directly antithetical to the human experience of time and memory, which is immanently flexible, and it is the human experience that is important here. So creating this document feels very much like pinning butterflies to a board, a violation of life (in this case, the life of a story), in the interests of classification.11 But, just like butterflies lined up on a board, it does add to our understanding when we can see events in both their linear and experiential contexts. This chart highlights the unreliability of memory in accurately placing events on a temporal continuum, particularly in a culture that had an entirely different concept of time, and operated without watches, clocks, calendars, or writing - none of the chronology with which we are now thoroughly imbued. But it also confirms the complementary unreliability of our written record, (whether published or archival) since I often found the same event accorded different dates (or different participants) by different writers - and this is a far more insidious problem, as much more "truth" is generally ascribed to written historical "facts." 1 1 It parallels, in that vague sense of perceived un/acknowledged violence, Bringhurst's observation (1999:385): "Most of the oral poetry that finds its way to written form emerges, necessarily, from cultural collisions or assaults...what oral poets have to say is written down because the world in which they live is being invaded by writers and writing." -17-The second reason I hesitated to include this chart is that, despite surface appearances, it is not intended to be an historically accurate, comprehensive document, and should not be used as such. Even discounting the unreliability of dates and sources mentioned above, this chart is a serendipitous listing, based upon scribbled notes and inadequately referenced sources, born from my own inability to remember who was doing what when, and growing, mostly, as an interesting listing of coincidences. So it is offered here as just that, an interesting list of approximate coincidences, a poorly drawn pirate's map of the temporal landscape of this story - but remember, as always, "the map is not the territory."12 Appendix D lists, as best we can manage for one who desires to keep no such linear records, the schedule of Diesing's classes and exhibitions. Appendix E, is, quite literally, "other," in that it is not directly about Diesing at all, but rather Ellen Neel, the Kwakwaka'wakw artist who was Vancouver's first "official" producer of totem poles for the tourist trade. It is a copy of Neel's speech published from the proceedings of a conference held in 1948 at the University of British Columbia (UBC). It reflects Neel's eloquence and concerns in a way that no paraphrasing could, and gives a unique sense of the attitudes and circumstances of times just before Diesing began exploring the possibilities of Northwest Coast art. A colloquialism which brings to mind both Hugh Brody's (1981) "Maps and Dreams," which explores, amongst many things, Native (Dene-ta) concepts of the relationship between knowledge, landscape, and authority, and the artist Rene Magritte, who's wry label "ceci n 'est pas un pipe" on his painting of a pipe was intended to remind viewers of the difference between a thing and its representation (leading to Michel Foucault's 1973 article by the same name). -18-Appendix F, as mentioned above, is the "Photo Album". -19-Chapter 2: The Artist, the Anthropologist, and the Negotiation of Identities sis soon as g/ou've /inisnedputting g/our tnin&s awagj, come upstairs, f nave some 000Azs and /dmiig/ pictures g/ou can nave a too A: at "Those words, uttered as my partner Rob and I were hefting our boxes and bags into her basement apartment in Terrace in the early fall of 1998, marked the official beginning of my fieldwork with Freda Diesing. Looking back on that evening, I now realize how representative those words were of our relationship over the following months and years. I originally went to Terrace with a plan: I was going to apprentice to Freda Diesing as a carver, and in the process obtain the information necessary, drawing upon the concepts of "mimesis" (Taussig 1993; Coy 1989) and "embodied knowledge"; (Stoller 1997; Nuttall 1997; Strathern 1996; Jackson 1996; Csordas 1994; Gallop 1988), while using a minimal amount of interviewing, to write the biography of the first Haida woman known to be a professional carver. This biography would form the basis of my PhD dissertation. As an anthropologist with a strong post-colonial post-modernist feminist bent, I was particularly concerned to ensure that I was not taken to be in a position of power, authority or control in our relationship, with my agenda dominating all that was said or done, and I had given much thought to ways of ensuring that did not happen. I needn't have worried. Diesing is an old hand at dealing with anthropologists. She isn't the slightest bit intimidated or impressed by the scholars, -20-a c a d e m i c s a n d j o u r n a l i s t s w h o s o frequently c o n t a c t h e r . 1 3 I n f a c t , s h e i s s o a c c u s t o m e d t o b e i n g i n t e r v i e w e d , a n d b a s i c a l l y b e i n g a s k e d t h e s a m e q u e s t i o n s o v e r a n d o v e r a g a i n , t h a t s h e d e l i v e r s a v i r t u a l l y s c r i p t e d p e r f o r m a n c e . D i e s i n g , i n h e r q u i e t a n d s e l f - e f f a c i n g w a y , d e f i n i t e l y c o n t r o l s t h e i n t e r v i e w a n d s a y s w h a t s h e w a n t s t o s a y i n t h e w a y s h e w a n t s t o s a y i t , i r r e s p e c t i v e o f a n y d i r e c t i o n t h e i n t e r v i e w e r m a y b e l i e v e h e o r s h e h a s i m p o s e d . D i e s i n g , h o w e v e r , i s a c c u s t o m e d t o b r i e f p e r f o r m a n c e s o f h e r s e l f f o r o t h e r s , w h e t h e r t h e y b e j o u r n a l i s t s , a n t h r o p o l o g i s t s , a u d i e n c e s a t p u b l i c e x h i b i t i o n s , o r s t u d e n t s i n h e r c l a s s e s . H a v i n g a v i r t u a l s t r a n g e r m o v e i n w i t h h e r f o r m o n t h s o n e n d , r e c o r d i n g w h a t s h e d i d a n d s a i d w h i l e r e f u s i n g t o s e t u p a n y f o r m a l , s t r u c t u r e d i n t e r v i e w , w a s a n o v e l s i t u a t i o n w h i c h p r o v i d e d o n g o i n g c h a l l e n g e s f o r b o t h o f u s . G i v e n m y i n t e r e s t i n l e a r n i n g t o c a r v e a n d i n l i s t e n i n g t o h e r s t o r i e s , w e q u i c k l y w e n t from l o o k i n g a t h e r a n n o t a t e d c o l l e c t i o n o f b o o k s , a r t i c l e s , f a m i l y p h o t o g r a p h s a n d v i d e o s , w h i c h f o c u s s e d a t t e n t i o n o n h e r f a m i l y a n d o n t h e w i d e r H a i d a n a t i o n , t o a m o r e i n d i v i d u a l i s t i c a p p r o a c h : F r e d a s e t u p a s m a l l c a r v i n g s t u d i o a t h e r h o m e i n T e r r a c e , a n d I m a d e v i d e o r e c o r d i n g s o f h e r c a r v i n g a n d t a l k i n g . For example, during the period I spent with her, she was visited by two fine arts professors from the University of Washington and one anthropology professor from the University of Northern British Columbia, as well as an undergraduate student and a graduate student from the University of British Columbia (two, if you count me). She was in correspondence with another graduate student from the University of Victoria, and a professor of fine arts at the University of British Columbia. She was interviewed by a reporter for the local paper (another clipping to add to her extensive collection), and was interviewed on cable tv. Also, she was twice contacted by an anthropologist at the Northwest Community College to guest lecture in his classes, and hired to teach classes in design and carving for the University of Alaska at Sitka. She participated in the opening of two travelling exhibitions and one gallery exhibition in Vancouver. The nettle net making project in which she was a major participant was featured on an educational site on the Internet, and she gave demonstrations of nettle net making at the museum in Prince Rupert. She also read and discussed about a dozen books on anthropology and feminist studies from my collection. Except for having me in residence, this was typical for her schedule. -21-My decision to begin recording before I began carving was pivotal in determining my identity in this interaction: I immediately became not an apprentice but an observer, a documentarian. My primary role became to record what she was doing, not to copy it. Although I might help with the setup and the cleanup, handle her tools and be shown the techniques and finer details of the process of carving and design, I was seen as audience not actor. Upon being told by Diesing that she believed one could not be an apprentice with less than five years of continuous work, I realized the impracticality of my original plan. I rather grudgingly accepted my place in the audience, but soon came to realize the importance of interaction with an audience for the act of storytelling and identity performance.14 In addition to the stories, Diesing also produced carvings during our time together: a pole-style figure of a beaver, a moon mask, a human mask, a bird/transformation mask, and a large bas-relief carving of her lineage Eagle crest. Except for the transformation mask, which she completed while working in Vancouver with her nephew Don Yeomans, she did no carving when I was not there - which is to say all her recent carving has been performance-centred. Our interaction was so clearly centred on Diesing, who initially expressed not the slightest interest in my life or my ideas, that I found myself in the unexpected position of occasionally having to "butt in" with personal comments of my own, just to assert my presence as an individual. I was never sure whether she welcomed such assertions (following the stereotypical Native practice of not questioning people, but rather allowing them to reveal themselves over time), or merely tolerated them. I do know that Diesing found my avoidance of the structured 1 4 This is reinforced and expanded by Boelscher's (1988 ) exploration of the central role of audience in both the formal and informal communicative acts that continuously re-structure Haida society. -22-interview technique, in my attempt to allow her to reveal herself over time in her own way, to be disconcertingly atypical behaviour for an anthropologist. And I think that her laughing comment to a friend, "She's still a student anthropologist - she hasn't yet learned to ask the stupid questions!" was meant as a compliment. I think.15 In the end, I did learn at least the basics of both good Haida design and of woodcarving. Most of this learning was in the "traditional" way, through prolonged observation of a master at work. But I also received direct instruction in design principles and carving techniques, and had some assignments "marked" by Diesing. I might never become a professional carver, or even a real apprentice, but at least I have been a student, and thus have something in common with the hundreds of others, mostly Natives, who have been Freda Diesing's students over the past three decades. Methodologically, it is important to recognize this apprenticeship approach, since my intention to actually learn to do what she was doing entirely altered the focus of my attention, and the interaction between us. Feminist scholarship has made us acutely aware of the situatedness of knowledge. So not only would a different person have had a different interaction with Diesing than did I, and thus come away with different knowledge, but I too would have come away with different knowledge if my intentions and behaviours had been significantly different than they were. A clear example would be that, if I never had been interested in learning how to carve, not only would my focus have been different during our interaction, altering its dynamics and my I do recognize, however, that not knowing how to ask the stupid questions is not the same thing as knowing how to ask the smart questions! -23-observations, but it is quite possible that Diesing would not have undertaken any carving at all.16 Then we would have been in a much more intellectually- rather than physically-oriented performance, and many of the connections between art and lived experience might not have materialized - or at least not in the same manner. There is one final point that should be raised. The beginning of my fieldwork was not my first meeting with Diesing. That meeting came about through one of those serendipitous occurrences that happen so often in research (and in life). And they get mentioned so seldom in the finished write-up because they show the research process (and life) to be far less planned and controlled than those concerned would like to believe. To throw a little light onto the process of my own research and to acknowledge the value of the unexpected occurrences in our lives, I offer this brief description. When I first arrived at UBC in January of 1995, my plans for research were vague at best, and changed frequently according to my immediate academic interests at the time and my perception of the ever-shifting political climate for research work. As time drew near to clarify and solidify the direction and form of my research and draft a defensible research proposal (to make up my mind what I was going to do and how I was going to do it), I followed the usual routes of reading a lot of books; talking to people I knew (academics at UBC) who knew people; talking to my Diesing said in a later conversation that she "had been in a slump " regarding her carving before I arrived, and our work together was the impetus that got her started again. -24-colleagues who knew what we were all going through; talking to my supervisor; talking to my partner; and talking to myself - a lot! 1 7 At one point, I considered abandoning my original plan of working with women to instead work with Bi l l Reid. Although he was still alive at that time, (he died in 1998) his health was failing. My supervisor at that time,18 Professor M . Halpin, knew him well, and suggested certain work r that she believed should be done with him while it was still possible. I wrote to B i l l Reid with this suggestion; my letter was never answered. Finally I decided what I wanted to do (apprentice with a woman carver to find out about the world of N W C art from her perspective), and who I would like to do it with - Freda Diesing, a woman with an impressive reputation within the Native art community, but whom neither my There were many people at UBC with whom I also spoke in more general terms about my research, and I thank all of them for their guidance. It was only just now, however, while thinking of the vast network of people who had somehow shaped my original proposal, that I realized the people I didn't discuss it with: people at the First Nations House of Learning; the First Nations artist-in-residence at UBC's Museum of Anthropology (MO A); any of the active artists, agents, gallery owners, or private collectors in Vancouver (or elsewhere). Although I did speak with some of these people at a later stage, my research proposal was formulated almost entirely within the department's academic community. The fact that I had not realized this before spotlights the normalcy of such an approach, even in today's self-consciously politicized research environment. The academic domination of the NWC artworld which I later criticise, and the more general academic control of research and discourse - "us talking with us about them" -while perhaps now more subtle, continues. And I must acknowledge that, despite my best efforts at egalitarianism, I have been complicit in its continuation. What makes this realization even more striking is the fact that during my first year at UBC I participated in the ethnographic field school directed by Professors Bruce Miller and Millie Creighton, working with the Sto:lo Nation at Sardis, BC. The main point of this school was to develop collaborative working relationships with members of the Sto:lo culture (one of the "southern" Nations in the NWC culture group) by undertaking various research/documentation projects selected and directed by Council leaders. Living as guests in Chief Frank Malloway's "smokehouse" (ceremonial longhouse) further enhanced this intercultural experience for our group, and helped us to understand Sto:lo culture as lived experience for contemporary individuals. Perhaps it was my recognition of the significant differences between the northern and southern groups of Nations that caused me to separate that experience from the planning for this research project. 1 8 The supervision of my doctoral studies at UBC has been unexpectedly complex, with several professors having occupied the role of "Chair" of my committee. Please see "acknowledgements" for details. - 2 5 -supervisor nor myself had ever met. On the very day that I handed the draft of my "letter of interest" to Freda Diesing over to Professor Halpin, she handed back to me an e-mail from her colleague Professor Margaret Anderson at UNBC. She discussed the interest of the Northwest Maritime Institute in following up a suggestion by Dempsey Bob for an exhibition honouring Diesing's work, and was looking for a curator. When Halpin suggested that I do it under her guidance, I jumped at the chance. So I ripped up my draft letter, and went about contacting Diesing to discuss the prospects of my working with her to do both the show and the apprenticeship. Diesing was quite happy about the show, and willing to allow the apprenticeship, and we communicated by letter, telephone, and finally in person when she came to Vancouver. We planned what we would like in the show, which was intended to be a travelling exhibition honouring her impact as a teacher, featuring much of her own work and examples of the work of several of her students. I tried to make contact with those of her previous students who had gone on to become professional carvers, to see if they would participate if we could get the funding for the exhibition, and several immediately confirmed that they would (Don Yeomans, Norman Tait, Dempsey Bob, and Dale Campbell). UBC's Museum of Anthropology (MOA) accepted our proposal and confirmed that they would host the exhibition, committing a block of time, space, and resources - contingent, of course on our getting sufficient external funding. Venues other than Prince Rupert and MOA were tentatively lined up. All that remained was the money. Several small granting agencies were approached - some expressed interest, others not. However, the bulk of the funding had to come from the Canada Council. We hopefully -26-submitted our grant application - waited - and were rejected. Since everything depended on getting the grant we didn't get, it all fell apart. Nevertheless, I was now even more enthusiastic about working with this interesting woman, although my focus shifted from her art to her life story. Fortunately, despite her disappointment about the show, she was still interested in working with me. So that is how I ended up in Terrace, chisel in one hand, video camera in the other! And how Diesing, retired, ended up producing so much new art, and taking on yet another student. If not for our original excitement about the show, I am not certain that Diesing would have agreed to undertake the other, intrusive part: working with me for this dissertation. And even yet, although neither of us discuss it in her life story, that exhibition-that-never-was still calls out to us, now and again, hoping for somebody to give it life. -27-Chapter 3: Presenting Freda Diesing Freda Diesing, who holds the Haida names Skilquewat,19 Weguedaas, and Kant-wuss of the Eagle moitie, was born June 2, 1925 in Prince Rupert, BC, the eldest child of Franz and Flossie Johnson. Franz Johnson was an immigrant from Sweden. Flossie Johnson was a Haida woman from the House of WEAHoi Masset, Queen Charlotte Islands, and holder of the Haida name Jat-kit-ki-gas, "She whose voice is obeyed."20 When Diesing was only three, her father died of tuberculosis (TB). Diesing's infant brother Frank was also hospitalized at that time with a congenital heart problem, so Diesing was sent to live with her maternal grandparents, Mary Anne Norman (daughter of the Haida carver Simeon Stilta) and Axel Hanson (a Swedish immigrant). Diesing's brother later recovered, and they were reunited and lived along with her mother's new husband Geoff Lambly21 (a stern and proper Englishman) and second daughter Roberta, first in Prince Rupert and then in Terrace, BC. Although it was hoped that the drier air would safeguard the children's health, Diesing's brother finally succumbed to continuing illness when in his teens. Later that same year (1943) Diesing 1 9 Swanton (1905:120) spells this "Skil-ki'wat (property-road)" and Barbeau (1950:118:) spells it "Skyilkyiwat (He-lays-across-the-Fairy-trail)," but Diesing insists that the translation "On (or crossing) the trail of Property Woman" is the proper one. 2 0 Boelscher (1988:36) discusses the importance of the term "to come from..." for the Haida, who use it to mean not where they were born or lived, but where their ancestors were from and the places they owned. It is important also to understand that in the Haida (matrilineal) way of reckoning descent, both Diesing and her mother Flossie are "Haida"; even though each has a white father, the Haida line continues through the mothers. 2 1 His name is written JEFFREY Lambly on the wedding certificate, and GEOFFREY Hassel (father's name) Lambly (step-father's name) on Diesing's birth certificate. He was christened in Bristol England as "Walter Geoffrey Gilbert Hassel," but became estranged from his father and assumed his step-father's name in his youth. -28-contracted TB herself, and was admitted to a distant sanitarium in Kamloops B C where she spent the next three years. Throughout her youth until her hospitalization at age 18, Diesing continued to spend vacation time with her grandparents at the canneries, and was schooled in her Native heritage by her grandmother and aunts. Her grandmother in particular thought it was most important for her young grandchildren to "know who you are, " both with regard to their Haida ancestry and, for Diesing and her brother, learning personal stories about their deceased Swedish father. Although neither Diesing nor her brother had been adopted by Lambly, and thus officially held their father's last name Johnson, they were known by their step-father's name "so as not to confuse people. " When summers were over, Diesing returned to the family home, first in Prince Rupert, and finally in Terrace. Here life was quite different. Although she was under the care of her mother (and frequently also her older cousin Nancy), this was ultimately the home of her step-father, who tried his best to Westernize his family. Thus Diesing grew up with very strong ideas about who she was, and who she was not. Diesing attended primary school in Prince Rupert and Terrace, and then secondary school in Terrace, although her secondary school education was terminated by her hospitalization for TB (1943-1946). Always having an interest and skill in art, she attended the Vancouver School of Art in 1955-6. During that time she saw Audrey Hawthorn's exhibition "People of the Potlatch" (1956), the first major exhibition of Northwest Coast art to be held at the Vancouver Art Gallery, and like so many of her contemporaries was profoundly affected by the quantity and quality of art displayed - art which had largely disappeared from the contemporary Native scene. Diesing -29-first met the emerging Haida artist Bill Reid at that exhibition. Further discussions with Reid and his mother (who was a Haida woman from Skidegate), and visits to the Vancouver studio of Ellen Neel (a Kwakwaka'wakw carver) fired Diesing's interest in exploring the history of her ancestors.22 She dedicated herself to researching and revitalizing the cultural heritage of the various Northwest Coast peoples. Diesing supplemented her reading of published and archival materials with interviews of elders, recording clan histories, songs, and personal stories. From that point forward, her art expanded from the landscapes and portraits that she had favoured, to focus on Northwest Coast designs. On November 9, 1956, Freda Lambly married Arthur (Art) Diesing. His Russian/German ancestors had settled in Manitoba, where the Diesing family had homesteaded. Art Diesing left farming for construction work, came north to help build the Kitimat highway, went to eat in a restaurant in which Freda Lambly was a waitress, and thus met the woman with whom he would spend the rest of his life. Marriage did not limit the new Mrs. Diesing's artistic efforts: continuing through the 50s and 60s into the 70s, she specialized in design art, producing prints, ceremonial blankets, and dance costumes. She learned and performed traditional songs and dances, and instructed young people in their Native heritage. Jack Shadbolt (in Halpin 1986:5) says "the most compelling influence for an artist is to come under the immediate spell of a famous artist one admires tremendously and, at the same time, encounters personally in one's own local community, working from the same sources as oneself." -30-Seeing another art exhibition was again to have a profound impact on Diesing's artistic career. This was the 1967 exhibition "Arts of the Raven, "2i showcasing what the curators called "masterworks" of Northwest Coast art. This was to prove a pivotal exhibition both for framing the shape and the content of the intellectualization of Northwest Coast art for decades to come, and for inspiring a resurgence of interest and pride in their cultural heritage in many Natives. It had an additional effect on Diesing - it inspired her to become a carver. She began by carving a traditional Haida village in miniature as a Centennial project for her village, and has been a carver ever since. As part of the cultural revitalization that was beginning at that time, she and several other artists (only one other of whom was a woman - Doreen Jensen) gathered at Hazelton in 1968 to study design and carving in a 6-month course with Robert Davidson, Bill Holm, Tony Hunt and Duane Pasco. Diesing was employed repeatedly by the 'Ksan museum in a variety of capacities.24 It was during one of these times that Diesing was commissioned by the Prince Rupert Regional Hospital to carve her first large mural - a 9' x 24' low relief mural of four Tsimshian crest figures. Shortly before that, in 1974 Diesing had worked in conjunction with Josiah Tait25 to carve a replica totem pole for the Museum of Northern British Columbia, which now stands Held at the Vancouver Art Gallery 15 June - 24 September 1967, with a catalogue written by Wilson Duff, Bill Holm and Bill Reid, the impact of this exhibition far exceeded its brief summer presentation 35 years ago. In ways that those at the time were unlikely to have suspected, it has affected the course of Northwest Coast Art to this day. This is discussed in detail in Chapter 4. 2 4 Diesing stresses that, despite many reports to the contrary, at no time was she ever employed to be a teacher at the Gittenmax School of Art which is also at 'Ksan. She was employed as a working artist, not as a teacher. 2 5 In due course Josiah's son Norman Tait became one of Diesing's students. -31-outside the library and police station in Prince Rupert. At that time, it was considered remarkable for a woman to carve a pole.2 6 During the winters Diesing worked full-time as a carver, developing her own distinctive style and gaining popular recognition. During the summers, in addition to being a market gardener, she helped develop the Native cultural centre of 'Ksan, working on display design, costume design, and cultural documentation. After 'Ksan officially opened in 1970, Diesing also worked in the shop, gave expert guided tours, and trained and performed with the dance troupe. She also travelled to Ottawa and New York in 1972 to talk and perform at the National Arts Centre as part of the '"Ksan: Breath of Our Grandfathers" production. In addition to her activities with 'Ksan, Diesing also spent much of her time in the 1970s as a delegate to the Indian Arts and Crafts Association of B C . 2 7 It was also in the 1970s that Diesing began formal teaching, giving classes on design and carving in Prince Rupert. In the 1980s she expanded the range of her teaching by running workshops at Kitsumkalum Village, Terrace in the summer of 1980 and the winter of 1981/82. In 1986 she taught carving to six apprentices at Kitsumkalum, and they jointly made three totem poles which the village ceremonially raised.28 Diesing herself then designed and painted the N W C housefront mural on the Kitsumkalum community centre. Diesing also served for five weeks as a sessional instructor in a Native See Steltzer (1972:159-161) for pictures of Diesing working on this pole and some smaller carvings. See Jensen (1992) for photodocumentation of the process of the production and raising of NormanTait's (1973) Port Edward pole. 2 7 For an interesting overview of federal and provincial (except BC) organizations involved in developing and marketing Native arts and crafts, see McMaster 1993. The primacy of the actions of women in all the facets of these organizations is notable 2 8 See McDonald (1990) for a description and analysis of this project. -32-teacher training programme at Prince Rupert for Simon Fraser University, for NITEP Native Teachers. She has, over the years, given frequent talks at UBC regarding Native art. Diesing's reputation as an artist continued to grow, and her work was featured in exhibitions across Canada in the 'seventies and 'eighties. She also participated as a carver at the '86 Winter Games in Canmore, Alberta. This provided her with an opportunity to have some fun and turn her hand to carving in a new medium - she participated in an ice-carving display, where she carved a statue of an eagle. She developed an international reputation as well. Diesing participated in three workshops for invited international artists in Kemi Jarvi, Finland, where her creations are on permanent display. She spent the summer of 1987 in Sweden assisting her nephew Don Yeomans in the carving of a large totem pole (and had an opportunity to explore part of her Swedish ancestry). She was Artist-In-Residence at the Altos de Chavon school of design in the Dominican Republic in 1988. She travelled to Japan with fellow Gitksan artist Doreen Jensen for the "Indian and Eskimo Art" exhibition in Tokyo. She was one of twenty artists featured in the "Robes of Power" exhibition (which was part of Expo '86) and one of only five to go with the exhibition to Australia in 1985, where it was toured nationally.29 At that time she served as Guest Artist at the Adelaide Festival Centre Gallery, as spokesperson and instructor of a month-long class for 15 students, and was able to spend time in the Outback with Aborigine hosts. Beginning in 1980 and continuing for 15 years, Diesing was invited for two weeks every year to be the carving and design instructor at the Totem Heritage Centre in Ketchikan Alaska. Diesing's most recent 2 9 The other artists who went to Australia were: Doreen Jensen (Gitksan), Dorothy Grant (Haida), Dolly Watts (Gitksan-Nuu-chal-nulth) and Marion Hunt-Doig (Kwakiutl). (Nahanee, 1985:6) -33-intemational exhibition venues have been a 1989 exhibition of Native art in Saint Louis, Missouri, and the USA 2000 touring of "Down from the Shimmering Sky. " She began the new millennium (twice!) by conducting other international workshops in carving and design, this time for the University of Alaska in Sitka, Alaska. Diesing is now in her seventies, an age at which most people retire. But Diesing says she probably wil l not fully retire "as long as I can move. " She created two new works for the 1996 "Topographies " exhibition at the Vancouver Art Gallery, where she both attended all the opening functions and spent an evening discussing her art with gallery visitors. In 1998 the Vancouver Art Gallery initiated the touring exhibition "Down from the Shimmering Sky" curated by Peter Macnair, which included one of Diesing's masks, and again she actively participated in the opening. The raven rattle she hand carved in traditional style for the 1999 exhibition at The Spirit Wrestler gallery in Vancouver was so popular that it generated many requests for more of her work. During the summer of 1999, in addition to several smaller projects, she undertook the carving of a large Eagle panel as a personal project, for the Terrace nursing home in memory of her mother. Retirement is proving elusive! Diesing remains an involved member of her northern communities. Although her activities were severely restricted for months while she recovered from a badly broken ankle, she is once again travelling back and forth between her homes in Terrace and Prince Rupert (where she is a long-standing member of the "Sweet Adelines" singing group). She cultivates her vegetable gardens, makes jams and preserves, and still carves "enough to pay the property taxes. " For years Diesing maintained a connection with the museum and Gitanmaax School of Art at 'Ksan, and -34-s t i l l d e v o t e s t i m e e v e r y y e a r t o t e a c h i n g a r t t o s c h o o l c h i l d r e n i n T e r r a c e a n d P r i n c e R u p e r t . D u r i n g t h e s p r i n g a n d s u m m e r o f 2000, s h e a n d a f r i e n d g a v e r e g u l a r l y - s c h e d u l e d d e m o n s t r a t i o n s o f t r a d i t i o n a l n e t t l e n e t - m a k i n g a t P r i n c e R u p e r t ' s M u s e u m o f N o r t h e r n B r i t i s h C o l u m b i a . D i e s i n g a l s o r e g u l a r l y g i v e s g u e s t l e c t u r e s a b o u t N a t i v e a r t a t t h e l o c a l c a m p u s o f N o r t h w e s t C o m m u n i t y C o l l e g e . I n h o n o u r o f h e r c o n t r i b u t i o n s t o h e r c o m m u n i t y , t h a t C o l l e g e a w a r d e d h e r a f o r m a l "Certificate of Recognition " d u r i n g t h e i r 2000 S p r i n g c o n v o c a t i o n c e r e m o n i e s . D i e s i n g ' s l i f e c o n t i n u e s t o h o l d a w o n d e r f u l b l e n d o f i n t e l l e c t u a l i n q u i r y , a r t i s t i c c r e a t i v i t y , c o m m u n i t y i n v o l v e m e n t , a n d p e r s o n a l p a r a d o x . W h i l e i d e n t i f y i n g h e r s e l f c l e a r l y a s a H a i d a w o m a n , a n d p r o u d l y h o l d i n g i n h e r i t e d H a i d a n a m e s , s h e h a s a l s o s p e n t a l i f e t i m e l i v i n g a n d w o r k i n g a m o n g T s i m s h i a n a n d G i t k s a n p e o p l e s , a n d s h a r i n g h e r k n o w l e d g e w i t h t h e f u l l v a r i e t y o f F i r s t N a t i o n s g r o u p s w h o c o m p r i s e t h e N W C a r t i s t i c c o m m u n i t y . A l t h o u g h h e r m a r r i a g e p r o d u c e d n o b i o l o g i c a l c h i l d r e n , h e r t r a i n i n g o f s o m a n y a d u l t a r t i s t s , a n d h e r t e a c h i n g s t o s o m a n y c h i l d r e n , h a v e p r o v i d e d h e r w i t h g e n e r a t i o n s o f d e s c e n d a n t s . U n l i k e s o m e a r t i s t s , w h o p r e f e r c r e a t i v e i s o l a t i o n , D i e s i n g m o s t e n j o y s t e a c h i n g , g i v i n g w o r k s h o p s , a n d e n g a g i n g i n c o n v e r s a t i o n s w i t h a u d i e n c e s w h o c o m e t o v i e w c a r v i n g i n p u b l i c p l a c e s . B y n a t u r e a s h y a n d s o f t - s p o k e n p e r s o n , s h e h a s n o t h e s i t a t e d t o c h o o s e h e r o w n p a t h i n l i f e , w h i l e p a r t i c i p a t i n g f u l l y t h r o u g h s o n g , d a n c e , c o s t u m e , a n d c r e a t i o n i n t h e p e r f o r m a n c e o f h e r h e r i t a g e a n d h e r i d e n t i t y . D i e s i n g i s w a r m l y e n t h u s i a s t i c a b o u t s h a r i n g h e r u n d e r s t a n d i n g o f l i f e , a r t , a n d p e r f o r m a n c e t h r o u g h y e t a n o t h e r f o r m - t h i s p u b l i c p r e s e n t a t i o n o f h e r l i f e s t o r y . -35-Chapter 4: Situating the Anthropology "the moment women open their mouths - women more often than men - they are immediately asked in whose name and from what theoretical standpoint they are speaking, who is their master and where they are coming from: they have, in short, to salute. . . and show their identity papers " Spivak in Trihn (1989:44) N o w o r k o f r e s e a r c h , n o m a t t e r h o w p e r s o n a l , i s d o n e i n a v a c u u m , w i t h o u t h i s t o r y . R e s e a r c h , l i k e a l l o t h e r h u m a n a c t i v i t i e s , h a s a c u l t u r a l c o n t e x t - i n f a c t , m u l t i p l e c u l t u r a l c o n t e x t s i f o n e c o n s i d e r s , f o r e x a m p l e , t h e " u n i v e r s i t y c u l t u r e " a n d t h e p a r t i c u l a r " d i s c i p l i n e ' s c u l t u r e " a s b e i n g s u b - c u l t u r e s w i t h i n t h e l a r g e r o n e . F e m i n i s t s a n d c u l t u r a l c r i t i c s h a v e b e e n e f f e c t i v e i n d r a w i n g o u r a t t e n t i o n t o h o w t h o r o u g h l y W e s t e r n s c h o l a r s h i p h a s b e e n s h a p e d b y i t s s a t u r a t i o n w i t h W h i t e , C h r i s t i a n , p a t r i a r c h a l v a l u e s a n d p r a c t i c e s . A n t h r o p o l o g y , a s a p a r t o f t h i s t r a d i t i o n o f s c h o l a r s h i p , h a s s h a r e d i n t h e s e w e a k n e s s e s a n d i n f a c t , b y i t s c r e a t i o n o f t h e " O t h e r , " h a s f e d e x i s t i n g h e g e m o n i c s y s t e m s . C o n t e m p o r a r y s c h o l a r s h i p , i n c l u d i n g t h i s p a r t i c u l a r r e s e a r c h , o p e r a t e s i n r e c o g n i t i o n o f t h e s e s h o r t c o m i n g s - b u t r e c o g n i t i o n o f a p r o b l e m d o e s n o t m e a n i t s e a s y r e c t i f i c a t i o n . A l l w e c a n d o i s a c k n o w l e d g e o u r s i t u a t i o n , i n c r e a s e o u r l e v e l o f a w a r e n e s s a n d d o o u r b e s t . T h i s , b r i e f l y , a c k n o w l e d g e s m y s i t u a t i o n . A s a n i n d i v i d u a l r e s e a r c h e r , I e n t e r e d t h e f i e l d b r i n g i n g w h a t a r e p r o b a b l y t h e " s t a n d a r d W e s t e r n s c i e n t i f i c " s e t o f b e l i e f s a n d p r a c t i c e s , t e m p e r e d b y a n a n i m i s t i c s p i r i t u a l o r i e n t a t i o n , a s t r o n g t e n d e n c y t o w a r d s n o n - l i n e a r t h i n k i n g , a n d a m i d d l e - a g e d f e m i n i s t ' s d e s i r e t o g i v e w o m e n t h e i r d u e . I a l s o c a m e w i t h m a n y y e a r s ' t r a i n i n g i n a n t h r o p o l o g y , t h e l a s t s e v e r a l o f t h e m a t t h e U n i v e r s i t y o f B r i t i s h C o l u m b i a ( U B C ) u n d e r t h e s u p e r v i s i o n o f P r o f e s s o r M a r j o r i e H a l p i n , a n a c k n o w l e d g e d e x p e r t i n N o r t h w e s t C o a s t a r t a n d o t h e r f o r m s o f " c u l t u r a l e x p r e s s i o n . " -36-It was Halpin's knowledge of the contemporary N W C carving scene that first led me to consider approaching Freda Diesing for an apprenticeship. It has been my association with both these women that has given me whatever currency I may have within the N W C artistic community. It would be most appropriate then if this dissertation were to be a learned treatise on N W C art, but it is not. Although both of these women, art experts each in her own way, have taught me a great deal, I lay no claim to being a connoisseur of art. My particular interests lie in the realms of embodied experience and individual perception, particularly the way an individual perceives, envisions, and operates upon her or his place in the universe. I value the individual and the particularistic more than the systemic or global. Biography, then, is the ethnographic realm most suited to my research, and is the primary area of anthropological scholarship upon which I draw here. My ideas and approach to ethnographic work have also been shaped by scholarship in psychology and feminist theory, particularly as they relate to issues of identity and embodiment. As my analytical interest in this dissertation is on identity negotiation, those two areas are used and discussed as appropriate. The relationship between anthropologists and artists on the Northwest Coast has been fundamental to much of the doing and the thinking about Northwest Coast art for over 100 years. Thus having impact on both my own work and Diesing's, as well as the wider world into which this dissertation will be situated, that relationship will be briefly explored as well. -37-In Cruikshank's (1987:11) dissertation she acknowledges a debt to Edward Sapir, both for his interest in and pursuit of biography as an ethnographic method, and for his theorizing which introduced the term "scaffolding" as a model for the way the concept of culture relates to the individual. I must then acknowledge a similar debt to Sapir - scaffolding is a wonderful metaphor. This dissertation itself was created by standing upon and moving within scaffolding created by other anthropologists and theorists. The importance of much of that scaffolding goes unacknowledged, but there are specific platforms that I have pulled together and restructured as a ground from which to work. These will be discussed in this section. Following the lead of Sapir in valuing a humanist orientation in ethnographic work, my focus is on the importance of the individual in utilizing, continuing, and changing the resources of a culture. I too recognize the importance of culture as a framework or scaffolding for individual action, although my approach puts more emphasis on the unconscious/unrecognized aspects. Concepts of ethnicity and race are central to the discussion of Diesing's identity. The term "ethnicity" (to replace race, tribe, etc.) has long been used in the discipline, and became popularized in the increasingly nationalistic, politically volatile latter half of the 20th century. The work of Fredrik Barth (1969) is particularly relevant to this dissertation, in that he shifted the conceptual focus of "ethnicity" from that of clearly bounded entities based on "natural" differences, to that of "self-ascription" (p. 14) whereby people chose specific cultural attributes as markers or signs of cultural exclusivity and distinctiveness. This dissertation follows that orientation, while both questioning the assumed achievement of consensus implied by the term ethnicity (versus race) and emphasizing the continuing two-way process of definition and -38-inclusion/exclusion - negotiation - involved between an individual and an ethnic group. I particularly focus on the negotiation that goes on between the various aspects of the identity of an individual within her/his "self." A n expanded discussion of the creation and negotiation of a self identity, working with the embodied psychology framework provided by Ludwig, form part of the analysis in Section III. The work of Roland Barthes is also relevant, insofar as his development of semiotics drew attention to the unacknowledged presence of signs, and their power to affect cognition, particularly the subconscious effects of "connotative" signs and images (see Barthes 1972, 1977). Although this is a "humanist" dissertation rather than a structuralist or semiotic analysis, I have remained conscious of Barthes' comments while creating the structure, language, and metaphors of this narrative text. -39-Biography In Anthropology: Although one tends to think of it as a literary rather than an anthropological form, biography has a long history in anthropology which has often been overlooked in the vaster enterprise. Franz Boas, one of the earliest and most eminent scholars to study the peoples of the Northwest coast, and acclaimed by many to be the "father" of American cultural anthropology, was not himself a strong believer in the usefulness of personal histories for anthropology (Behar and Gordon 1995). Specifically, he saw their use as being restricted to "illustrating the 'perversion of truth by the play of memory with the past "' (Boas 1943 in Krupat 1994:9). Having as his ultimate goal "to account for human variability in all its aspects" (Stocking 1992:124), Boas preferred to use commonly-known and shared stories and reports, rather than the personal and individualistic, to create a retroactive representation or memory model of the specific culture under study. As a result, he has left us many explanations, stories, and vignettes from a number of individual NWC "informants," but no explicitly biographical work. Swanton, working for Boas in the early 1900s, provides what is still the most comprehensive ethnography of the Haida. Swanton's explicit desire was to document the Haida corpus of songs and myths, what Bringhurst calls their "literature." If Bringhurst (1999:203) is correct in his claim that "most of the adventure tales Swanton heard are autobiographical, and if he had probedfor more extended autobiographies he might have heard that too, " then Swanton might -40-be seen as an early biographer.30 However, since Swanton did not push for more biographical information, I believe that biography was tangential to his main interests, and these personal stories were valued more for what they illustrated about entire groups rather than what they said about any one individual. In this sense, Swanton's work was no more biographical than was Boas'. Bringhurst (1999:204) also draws attention to "an irreparable gap" in Swanton's monumental work: Out of 150 narratives, he did not record one that was told by a woman. He often dealt with Haida women during his year in the Islands. He transcribed songs that women sang, he bought some artworks from women, and he talked to some of them extensively about family history, house names, place names and other matters of mutual interest. But even at Ghaw, where one of his coworkers and teachers was a woman - Mary Ridley of the Kuna Llaanas - he recorded no women's stories or narrative poems. "Sghaagya of the Yaakhv Gitinaay was a lively, widely travelled old warrior and trader, born about 1825 in the village ofTtsaa'ahl on the outer coast of Haida Gwaii. In December 1900, he dictated ten autobiographical stories to Swanton. In so doing, he became the first and most prolific Haida autobiographer. " (Bringhurst 1999:165). Krupat (1994:5) says "the earliest Native American autobiography I know is an autobiography by an Indian, by the Reverend Samson Occom, a Mohegan, who produced a short narrative of his life in 1768...(it reposed) for many years in the Dartmouth College Library before finally appearing in 1982. " This raises a significant point for consideration - the difference between a personal story told to an anthropologist and an autobiography. While undoubtedly autobiographies comprise personal stories, I believe that a distinction should be drawn between one (or a short series) of personal vignettes and an autobiography. As Darnell (2001:207) says "Life history documents undoubtedly formed part of every anthropologist's field notes " - and certainly not all anthropologists are biographers. Exactly where those lines should be drawn is unclear. There is an obvious difference between, say, the biographical "information about the artist" in books such as Macnair et al. (1984), the slightly longer sketches in Krupat (1994), the comprehensive accounts in Liberty (1978) and the fully developed biographies in Nuytten (1982). But there seems to be no consensus as to where the "biographical sketch" ends and the "biography" begins. "Radin's Autobiography of a Winnebago Indian (1920) was the first book-length life history.'" (Darnell 2001:207). -41-This statement is significant for what it says not only about Swanton's research focus,31 but also what it says about his preconceptions - perhaps that women were not the "philosophers " 3 2 of the culture? This would not be surprising, given the comment (to be discussed later) by his mentor Boas that the men were "the thinking ones " in N W C art. There is even more than just noting the absence of stories about women in general that makes this comment about Swanton's work directly relevant to Diesing's story. Diesing's grandmother Mary Anne Norman was very close to the referenced Mary Ridley, living for some time in the household of her and her husband Paul Ridley (Kinaskilas).33 Mary Anne would have been about 24 years old when Swanton was there in 1900, already married to Norman Stiltes (in 1891), and the mother of at least three young children: Lena (born 1894), Amos (born 1896) and Emily (born 1898). Mary Anne Norman, Diesing's grandmother, was one of the women Swanton could have collected stories from, but did not; whose autobiography he could have recorded, but did not. It was only two years later that C.F. Newcombe was in the Charlottes, and Mary Anne worked for him as an interpreter. Whether she also spoke with Swanton we simply do not know -although he does not mention her as one of his "native authorities" or "interpreters" (Swanton 1905:9). 3 Ostensibly "religious ideas, social organization, and language" (with notes on "Industries" and "Arts" which did not get published) (Swanton 1905:9), although his true passion (Bringhurst 1999) was the Haida oral tradition. 3 2 The term used by Paul Radin (one of Boas' students, and the writer of Crashing Thunder's autobiography) to refer to those often selected as informants by anthropologists in the field (quoted in Darnell 2001:15). Darnell discusses the concept of Indigenous informants/philosophers/intellectuals at some length throughout her book. 3 3 Diesing notes [2002 edit] that Mary Ridley "was related to Norman, a Raven," and that her grandmother was the niece of Kinaskilas. -42-It is interesting that Diesing herself is not troubled by these shortcomings, saying of Swanton's book that she finds it really interesting, and quite reliable, "because a lot of these things I had heard before.34 He talks about how they made poles and raised them, and the dances and festivities for a new house. And he also mentions men and women, and not just men He talks a lot about what women did and I've underlined it in the book." Although Boas had no particular academic interest in Native individuals or their life stories, he and his students were meticulous fieldworkers, particularly when it came to documenting material culture collections. They were also, at Boas' insistence, known for recording their informant's comments in their Native language, so that extensive texts now exist in the (transcribed) voice of the original speakers (see for example Sapir's Nootka texts). Boas is also said to have emphasized "the importance of inserting personal concerns into the planning and presentation of research" (Gacs et al. 1988:2). Accordingly, many of his students learned to value the specific and unique, both in subject and in approach, and several of them wrote biographies that have come down to us as classics. It is also particularly interesting to note that a disproportionate percentage of the biographers in this anthropological tradition have been women. One of the most widely known of these early biographies, "Ishi," was done in the vein of classic salvage anthropology to romantically document the life of 'the last known survivor of his race'. The California Yaqui man known to Kroeber, Boas, and the general public as Ishi worked for Kroeber for years, serving as a living museum exhibit from 1911 until his death from This is an important statement, as it (and many others she has made like that) illustrates to whom Diesing attributes primary authority - to those she personally knows, who have passed on the knowledge of the ancestors. She grants the least authority to the written word; a conflict between the book and what she has been taught indicates to her simply an error in the book. -43-TB in 1916. Yet it was not Alfred Kroeber but his wife, Theodora, who wrote the story of Ishi's life. 3 5 Several of Boas' female students had a particular interest in the presence and voices of women subjects (influenced, perhaps, by the mentorship of Elsie Clews Parsons) (Lampherel995; Gacs 1988). Ruth Benedict led two groups of students (later to be well-known anthropologists) in the 1930s Columbia University Laboratory project to document the practices and selected life histories of three tribes of Plains Indians; some of these are being used currently for biographical and ethnohistorical work (Kehoe 1996:381). In other areas, several formal biographies of Native women were published, including Ruth Underbill's Papago Woman [Marie Chona] (1936). Underbill's colleague Gladys Reichard was also interested in focussing her ethnographic research on women's lives. She apprenticed as a weaver with a Navajo family, and subsequently wrote two books relating weaving (and other aspects of Navajo life) from the women's perspective. Another of Reichard's books, however, Dezba: Woman of the Desert (1939) is an example of a perhaps well intentioned but totally misleading book. It presents itself as being the story of a particular woman, complete with pictures - yet it is entirely fictional. In her preface to the book, Reichard notes: In depicting the characters of the story I have used no incidents or details which are not true. Nevertheless, even though photographs aid in illustrating types, the description of the actors, the relationship they bear to one another, and the episodes in Theodora Kroeber, who held a Master's degree in psychology and worked as an anthropologist in her own right, was nonetheless described by her associate Julian Steward as the "perfect anthropologist's wife" (in Gacs et al. 1988:188; emphasis mine). -44-which they appear are all fictional. I know no Navajo exactly like anyone here portrayed. (1930: vi). Since I originally did not read the preface, I took the work to be genuinely biographical -particularly given Reichard's first words in the book's introduction "Dezba is one of the 45,000 or 48,000 Navajo Indians who inhabit a vast territory ..."(xiii), and again beginning chapter 1 "Dezba was the head of a large Navajo household. She was medium in height and stocky in build... " (p. 3). My personal reaction to coming across that paragraph in the preface while checking some details for this dissertation was one of anger and betrayal - and also embarrassment, since I had first read this book years before, while writing a paper on the Navajo, and had relied on it as an informative data source. While it almost certainly is based on detailed ethnographic observation (given the quality of Reichard's other work on the Navajo), finding myself so deceived means my trust in taking the author at her word has now been severely compromised. Perhaps I should have been alerted by Reichard's constantly referring in her introduction to the Navajo culture being portrayed as "his" - but that was such a common perspective and form of speaking in those days. And in retrospect, I should have been immediately suspicious of the writing style Reichard used - that of the literary novel, very romantic in its portrayal of people, land, and situations - but again that was such a common style of writing almost anything about Natives (or any Exotic Other). The clincher should have been Reichard's technique of writing as if she knew what the characters were thinking, but I was oblivious to that as well - assuming only knowledge based upon extended personal conversations, tempered by a good deal of the literary license necessary to write in the novelistic style. It is, after all, the style used by Greg -45-Sarris in many sections of his biography of Mabel McKay, a woman he has known for most of his life. And Mabel McKay was a real woman - wasn't she? Sarris wrote two books about her, and there are pictures ... As previously mentioned, most of the early biographers were women. Gender may be a central rather than a peripheral consideration in this phenomenon. Slatkin (1993-vii), in discussing the writings of women artists, noted that they "focus more consistently than their male colleagues on the personal, rather than the theoretical.'''' Friedman (in Slatkin 1993:xi) argues that women's identity draws upon, but is "not limited to, a group consciousness - an awareness of the meaning of the cultural category WOMAN for the patterns of women's individual destiny... Women then are more aware of a collective identity than a unique, ego-centric, isolated sense of individuality more characteristic of male authors.'''' Thus, women anthropologists may produce biographies more than do their male colleagues because their own sense of self, rooted in community, recognizes and appreciates the value of individual lives. Unfortunately, the lives they were appreciating have been predominantly male. Darnell (2001:231,235) notes that although an increasing number of anthropologists were doing biographical work as the century progressed, the subjects of those biographies, even into the late 1970s, were still usually men.36 Possible reasons for this will be discussed in the next section. Krupat (1994:9) notes a parallel situation for both "amateur" writers and anthropologists beginning with Boas' cadre: to obtain the life histories of famous warriors who had fought in historic battles. This dissertation is intended to offer a needed alternative to the "glorious men and their glorious deeds" school. -46-Unfortunately, there have been only a handful of biographies published by anthropologists about Northwest Coast Natives.37 Short biographical sketches exist for two Native ethnographers: George Hunt (Kwakwaka'wakw) by Cannizzo and Jacknis, and William Beynon (Tsimshian) by Marjorie Halpin (1978). Both of these men were best known in anthropological circles as the Native 'helpers' of their more famous anthropologist bosses - Barbeau, Boas, and three of Boas' students Viola Garfield (1951; 1984), Theresa Durlach (1928), and Amelia Sussman. These biographies were written in part to acknowledge the work of Hunt and Beynon as ethnographers. Other N W C biographies have dealt almost exclusively with chiefs and artists from the Kwakwaka'wakw and Haida nations. The earliest of these is the 1941 "Smoke from their Fires: The Life of a Kwakiutl Chief (Charles James Nowell), followed in 1969 by James Spradley's "Guests Never Leave Hungry: The Autobiography of James Sewid, a Kwakiutl Chief. " A similar theme is continued in 1989 with Joy Inglis' biography of Harry Assu, subtitled "Recollections of a Coastal Indian Chief." B i l l Holms' (1983) "Smoky-top" was a memorial retrospective of the career of Willie Seaweed, a chief and a master artist in the Kwakwaka'wakw style. Contemporary Haida artists B i l l Reid and Robert Davidson have had perspectives on their lives recorded by several authors: Ian Thorn (1993); Karen Duffek (1986); Doris Shadbolt (1986); Marjorie Halpin (1979); Hillary Stewart (1979). Women, however, have only been the subject of two published biographical works: Phil Nuytten lauded Ellen Neel (carver, Kwakwaka'wakw) in his "The Totem Carvers " (1982), and Florence Davidson (a Haida textile artist whose ancestors Although Wilson Duff worked extensively at putting artists' names, faces, and lives with their works held in museum collections, (Abbott 1981; Anderson 1996; Roth 1999) he did not publish any biographical studies. Contemporary scholars who have worked equally hard in those areas, such as Peter Macnair and Robin Wright, have also not chosen to publish any explicitly biographical works. -47-and descendants include famous carvers) had her full life story presented by Margaret Blackman (1982).38 Although there have always been anthropologists who have chosen biography as the means to approach, apprehend, and present the cultural Other, the form and characteristics of biography have changed as the theories and paradigms (Kuhn 1962) of anthropology have changed. Darnell examines (2001.207-238) changes in the genre of life histories within the Americanist tradition, (while asserting [p. 209] that the genre had its origins in Boasian culture and personality studies). Darnell selects three anthologies as exemplars for her chronology, and her discussions are presented below. The first of these, Parsons' (1922) "American Indian Life" was intended as a popular book, to put a "humanist" face on the then-typically staid anthropological "life cycle" portrayal. Most of its contributors responded by producing highly imaginative fictional essays to best illustrate what they perceived to be unique or vital to the peoples so represented. Casagrande's (1960) "In the Company of Man," says Darnell, was intended primarily as a textbook in a time of rapid academic expansion. It reflects the changing contexts of Globalism and Modernism, illustrating that blending of "I was there" authority and mystique of fieldwork (especially fieldwork in "exotic" places -first popularized by Malinowski) with the increased presentation of the anthropologist within the text (what Darnell [p. 233] refers to as the "confessional quality") that prefigured postmodernist developments. Darnell notes that this 3 8 Professor Margaret Anderson notes that Dr. Martine Reid also is currently writing a biography of a Northwest Coast woman (M. Anderson 2002 personal communication). -48-changed genre still failed to interrogate the power differential between anthropologist and "informant.'''' The final anthology chosen by Darnell, Liberty's (1978) "American Indian Intellectuals," "consciously updated Radin's notion of the primitive philosopher.' The thinker among the formerly primitive had become an intellectual..." (p. 235). Darnell further notes that it represented "a politicization of life histories," developing a "rhetoric of alignment with Native political positions" emerging in the 1970s (p. 235). Darnell makes an intriguing observation though: oddly coupled with this respectful philosophical alignment with Native concern was the use of an ethnohistoric approach. This enabled the anthropologists concerned to position themselves as politically involved while keeping themselves at a distance since "most of the portraits deal with dead Indian elders rather than with contemporary philosophers engaged in ongoing dialogue with anthropologists... " (p. 208). In the decades since the 1970s there has been an exponential growth in the use of the life history genre of anthropological writing concomitant with extensive theoretical shifting within the discipline - a paradigm shift both in Kuhnian terms of "communities of practitioners" and in what "Joseph Rouse imagines ...fas] "communities of believers" (Darnell 2001:4).39 No longer is the detached and omniscient anthropologist the teller of the story while the Native subject attends - using Trinh's (1989:67) imagery: "a conversation of 'us' with 'us' about 'them' [wherein] 'them' always stands on the other side of the hill, naked and speechless. " (Then again, 3 9 Professor Bruce Miller (B. Miller 2002 personal communication) has drawn my attention to the fact that many life stories, of both men and women, are now being written as graduate theses, particularly by First Nations students. One hopes that these theses will one day be published. -49-see footnote 15). The reflexive, interrogative, and inter-subjective approach used by Sarris (1994) to present the life story of Mabel McKay best exemplifies contemporary anthropological practice. Anthropologists are now also more aware of the misguidedness of the practice of'disappearing' themselves in their work: H. David Brumble, writing of the textual complexities underlying Native American "autobiographies, " has shown how early anthropologists who recorded Native life stories often wrote without reflecting on the dynamics of the editorial process, as if their own voices were silent. They would highlight a Native speaker as if his or her words were directly quoted and unmediated. Yet naturally enough, these scientific "absent editors " mended and rearranged what their informants told them, asking telling questions to meet their own research agendas, and sometimes compiled composite materials into one "life history" portrait typifying a group or culture as an object for analysis. " (Brown and Vibert 1996:viii). One example of the way Native voices have been recorded is given in Bringhurst and is typical of much existing documentation. It concerns the work of Kroeber and the Mojave dream poet Inyokutavere. A translator, Kroeber says," allowed the old man to proceed -for perhaps five to ten minutes - until he had as much as he could remember, then Englished it to me. With omission of repetitions, condensation of verbiage, and some abbreviating of words, I nearly kept up with him writing in longhand. " (Bringhurst 1999:333, emphasis mine). One can easily see the multiple possibilities for misrepresentation in such a process. Even the most conscientious contemporary ethnographers face multiple and complex difficulties when a speaker's worlds must be translated. Even when Native speakers are doing both the -50-translating and the recording, as in Dauenhauer and Dauenhauer (1987), they often struggle with whether to provide a literal translation (based only on the speaker's actual words) or a literary, poetic one (translating what they believe to be the images and intentions of the speaker). When the translator is not a member of the same culture as the speaker, and thus may not understand all the allusions and entailments of the words used, translations can be even more limited and contentious.40 Linguistic translation is not an issue in this dissertation, because both Diesing and myself are first-language speakers of English, and all our work together was done in this language. Although both her grandmother and her mother were multi-lingual (being fluent in "high" Haida, English, Tsimshian, and Chinook jargon), Diesing herself claims to have a very limited knowledge of Tsimshian, and even less of Haida, which is used in this dissertation only for specific terms or expressions. Language aside, though, I have significantly edited Diesing's presentation here. Despite possible appearances, this dissertation should in no way be taken as giving the story of Diesing's life exactly as she told it to me. Considerable effort was expended to make it seem like one naturally flowing body of work, when, of course, it has been crafted from a multitude of shorter, much more jumbled conversations. See also Su in Bridgman et al. 1999 (33-53) discussing the complementary problem: a writer's use of "translations" as a technique to claim legitimacy as a "cultural insider" (the instance cited was of Amy Tan's supposed (mis-)translation of Chinese expressions in stories where she presents herself as a Chinese-American cultural "bridge"). -51-Contemporary anthropologists undertaking biographical work often do so in volatile, politically-charged environments, with multiple claims to authority and voice, and numerous, often conflicting, agendas. There continues to be an increasing awareness of the uses and abuses of diverse forms of power, even in these "post-colonial" times (Behar and Gordon 1995; Cole and Phillips 1995; Brown and Vibert 1996; Sider and Smith 1997). Ethnographic biographies have increasingly become collaborative works, and, in form and purpose, may be crafted specifically to meet the desires of the Native subjects (see for instance Cruikshank 1988, 1990). This project too has been a collaborative venture - indeed, I believe the sharing of ethnographic authority to be essential in the production of a life history document. In this case, however, the nature of that sharing of authority turned out not to be quite what I had anticipated. Diesing's "do it however you think best" directions for the writing of the document granted me far more leeway and authority than I had expected. For this presentation of our work together, this dissertation, I have grouped her stories thematically, eliminated many repetitions, selected some stories and set many others aside, and of course limited the amount to what could be reasonable contained in an academic document. I have tried to present Diesing's own words, and remain as true to her intentions as possible while saying what she considers important. However, the dynamics of the fieldwork situation created a frequent need to alter Diesing's actual words to varying degrees, and certainly to alter the sequencing both of her words and of the topics of our discussions. I am the one who made most of these editorial decisions. Diesing's major areas of contribution were, of course, in creating and telling these stories, and in checking and revising the various drafts, and providing additional information verbally or through correspondence. -52-From my perspective (only Diesing can speak of her own perspective), there were two main considerations that shaped the crafting of this document: the intended audience, and the intended use. The first consideration was the intended audience: as a dissertation, it had to meet the expectations of an academic examining committee; it was also intended to provide information of interest to other academics and scholars in various fields. We also anticipated that it would be of interest to a wider, non-academic audience, most particularly to Diesing's family and friends. The next consideration was the intended use of the document - beyond its obvious use to fulfill an academic requirement. Unlike earlier works of salvage anthropology (e.g. Nowell, 1941; Kroeber, 1961) this document does not attempt to encapsulate and preserve as much ethnographic information as possible about a dying culture. It is equally unlike contemporary works of cultural documentation created specifically for an Indigenous audience, for example the projects discussed in Cruikshank 1987, and Wachowich 1999. Neither Diesing nor I were trying to document the corpus of Haida culture, or a detailed history of her family, or even a "complete" picture of her own life (how, actually, could one do such a thing?). She was telling me "interesting" things about herself, her life and her family, to be presented in a document she knew was accessible to anyone who might request it, but which probably would have a very limited circulation (we discussed our interests in turning it into a book with public appeal, but that would be a whole other project). Since Diesing has seldom discussed her earlier life, her artistic career or her family history with the younger members of her family, creating this document was one way to share with them information she considers important. It is yet another vehicle for her teaching, available to anyone who is interested. -53-My own personal and cultural background and analytical interests shaped what I found particularly interesting, and hence what ultimately was included in this document - although Diesing knew she could add, rework or remove anything. My stated interest is clearly on identity negotiation, including the evolving relationship between Diesing's identity and her art. Undoubtedly my selection of stories was biassed by these interests (although Diesing also shares these interests). Although Diesing's guidance on what to include was solicited, direct questioning in this regard was usually unproductive. One way that I determined what Diesing might want included was to attend to how frequently and enthusiastically she told certain stories or repeated certain themes (both to me and to others). One weakness in this approach is obvious: while I tried to be an enthusiastic listener to all stories, I was undoubtedly more responsive to some kinds of stories (e.g. her life as a young girl) than others (e.g. reciting the names and modes of relationship of extended kin); thus playing to her audience, Diesing might thus have shifted some of her selections from her repertoire. Also, there were many things she spoke of that have not been included here, some at my own discretion. For example, she spoke much more about her students and about younger members of her family than appears here. I have excluded many of these stories simply because I am personally uncomfortable presenting at any length information that is not already in the public domain about living individuals when I do not have their permission to do so - no matter how complimentary that information might be. Much of the information presented here came from transcriptions of audio tapes and video tapes, which were so totally invaluable for creating this document that I don't know how -54-anthropologists ever got along without them.411 realize that many people have memories that are much better than mine, but even so... The tapes allowed me to go back repeatedly to check my facts - particularly helpful when one person is talking about an extensive network of persons and events with which the other person is not familiar. They also allowed me to recognize areas of confusion br ambiguity in the narrative, which I could then ask Diesing to clarify - although ambiguity should not always be eliminated, in speech or in life. While transcribing the tapes,421 would sometimes think I heard one thing, but, when I replayed them to double check, (sometimes playing the same section over and over to try to capture the exact words correctly), what Diesing had said was sometimes significantly different from what I had first heard. This was particularly true of speech idioms: to the same degree that we see what we expect to see, we also hear what we expect to hear. I found upon re-reading my transcriptions that I had unconsciously altered some words or sentence structures to those which I considered more "grammatically correct" - or at least to those with which I was most accustomed. I had also, again unconsciously, altered some of her common colloquialisms to my own. I found particular difficulty with her use of the term "after," especially in the free-form, stream-of-consciousness narratives that formed the bulk of our work together. Diesing uses "after" the way I have kept the original tapes, and made VCR copies for Diesing's personal collection. However, since the tapes are unedited and thus contain personal and private information, they are not intended to be publically available. I hope in the future to work with Diesing to produce edited tapes that would then be publically available. 4 2 Not all of these tapes were transcribed - most were just indexed, with selected parts transcribed during the writing process. None of these transcriptions were proofed by Diesing - only the completed drafts of the document -although I did spot-check points problems with her. The process of transcribing video tapes is profoundly frustrating and incredibly time-consuming. For this reason, and to achieve superior audio quality, I strongly recommend that anyone who uses a video recorder for these purposes also run a parallel audio recorder. At least technology exists that facilitates the transcription of audio tapes. - 5 5 -I use "later," whereas typically I use "after" as an indicator of sequence. For example, I might say, "After Jane arrived, we went for a walk." So when Diesing would say, "After we moved to the farm," my mind was waiting to find out what happened next. Which of course I never did, since that was not at all what she meant. She was also using "after" to indicate a temporal sequence, but her positioning in time was shifted from my own - she was referring to something that had happened previously and I was waiting for something that was about to happen. It is one of those small differences that can produce significant misunderstandings, and ongoing frustration - and it took me a very long time to realize what was going on. In case others have the same difficulties, I have added punctuation, creating a pause, to make the meaning clearer - but that pause was not present in Diesing's speech.43 The fact that making the tapes was always a background activity to something else (carving, driving, sorting apples, net-making ...) is also significant. Because they took place not in studios but in areas that were not well suited for taping (with difficult lighting, insufficient space, and unpredictable levels of ambient noise that often overwhelmed the conversation), some information was irretrievable, and much of it was of poor audio quality - making transcription errors much more likely. It also meant that more editing was required - when thoughts and speech are interrupted, or when topics switch as one memory stimulates another in a pattern that is seldom obvious, or simply as the mind wanders back through time - speech becomes disjointed and concepts can lack coherence. Dr. Anderson refers to Freda's usage as "an elliptical form of "after that,"and notes that I might also have made the meaning clear by inserting the missing word, thus: "after [that]" (M. Anderson 2002 personal communication). -56-Even when a document is written from closely directed and controlled interviews, this process of editing of verbal "markers and fillers" - the "aah," "huh," "um-hum," "well," "yeah, but she, they, y'know" that constitute the act of speaking, is necessary. This is a translation not of language but of modes of communication; and is unavoidable when putting spoken words into written form. When the words are spoken in an undirected form, as they were in this setting, extensive editing is necessary so as not to drive the reader to distraction with these fillers and diluting the impact of the speech or even losing it completely. Finally, not all of the information contained herein was taped. Many of our conversations were just that, conversations, that happened and were not recorded at all. Later, I sometimes jotted down rough notes - and sometimes the topics of those notes were never addressed again. So for those things, I am relying on my memory and notes to recreate Diesing's words as best I can. Although I have attempted to "show my hand" whenever possible, the significant level of editing I've done here will not be obvious to anyone but Diesing herself. Fortunately, since Diesing is involved in the creation of this document as well as in the preceding fieldwork, I am confident that her editing of my work will have removed any "wrong" information from my analysis and from her life story. It is probably best if I pause here to talk about the various terms I have been using: biography/autobiography/life history/life story. I use them almost interchangeably, depending on the author or situation I am reviewing, as they share many theoretical and methodological problems. A l l of them involve capturing, packaging, and sharing the story of a human life - but they are not exactly the same thing. -57-I n t h e W e s t e r n t r a d i t i o n o f w r i t i n g , " b i o g r a p h y " i s t h e s t o r y o n e p e r s o n w r i t e s a b o u t a n o t h e r p e r s o n ' s l i f e . A b i o g r a p h y m a y b e " a u t h o r i z e d " ( t h e p e r s o n b e i n g w r i t t e n a b o u t a p p r o v e s o f t h e b o o k , a n d m a y a c t u a l l y w o r k c l o s e l y w i t h t h e a u t h o r t o p r o d u c e i t ) , o r " u n a u t h o r i z e d " ( t h e p e r s o n b e i n g w r i t t e n a b o u t d i s a g r e e s w i t h t h e f o r m o r c o n t e n t s , o r d o e s n o t a g r e e t o b e i n g w r i t t e n a b o u t , o r m a y n o t e v e n k n o w t h a t s h e o r h e i s b e i n g w r i t t e n a b o u t ) . B i o g r a p h i e s d r a w u p o n t h e s t o r i e s t h e s u b j e c t s t e l l a b o u t t h e m s e l v e s a n d o t h e r s , t h e s t o r i e s o t h e r p e o p l e t e l l a b o u t t h e m , a n d r e s e a r c h i n t o d o c u m e n t e d i n f o r m a t i o n a b o u t t h e s u b j e c t - h i s t o r i c a l d o c u m e n t s , m e d i a c o v e r a g e e t c . T h e y u s u a l l y r e l y h e a v i l y u p o n s t r u c t u r e d i n t e r v i e w s a n d o t h e r j o u r n a l i s t i c t e c h n i q u e s t o o b t a i n t h i s i n f o r m a t i o n . G e n e r a l l y , t h e m o s t " t r u s t e d " i n f o r m a t i o n i s t a k e n t o b e h i s t o r i c a l d o c u m e n t s ( b i r t h c e r t i f i c a t e s , m a r r i a g e c e r t i f i c a t e s e t c . ) , a n d o f t e n t h e l e a s t r e s p e c t e d i n f o r m a t i o n i s t h a t w h i c h t h e s u b j e c t p r o v i d e s . S e v e r a l b i a s e s a r e c l e a r l y v i s i b l e : t h e ( o f t e n u n q u e s t i o n e d ) p r i v i l e g i n g o f w r i t t e n i n f o r m a t i o n o v e r o r a l , t h a t m a n y t a k e a s a h a l l m a r k o f W e s t e r n c i v i l i z a t i o n ; t h e p r e s u m p t i o n t h a t l a c k o f p e r s o n a l i n v o l v e m e n t o r d i s t a n c e ( o v e r s p a c e o r t i m e ) c r e a t e s o b j e c t i v i t y ; t h e r e i f i c a t i o n o f t h e " f a c t s " o f l i f e , a n d t h e a s s u m p t i o n t h a t t h e y a r e b e s t p r e s e n t e d i n t h e f o r m a n d w o r d s c h o s e n b y t h e a u t h o r . " A u t o b i o g r a p h i e s " a r e n a r r a t i v e s t h a t p e o p l e t e l l a b o u t t h e m s e l v e s , a n d c o m e i n t w o m a i n f o r m s . 4 4 T h o s e n o t i n t e n d e d f o r p u b l i c c o n s u m p t i o n m a y b e c a l l e d " j o u r n a l s " ( m o s t c o m m o n l y u s e d b y m e n o r p r o f e s s i o n a l s ) o r " d i a r i e s " ( m o s t c o m m o n l y u s e d b y w o m e n ) , a n d i n s o m e c a s e s m a y e v e n c o n s i s t o f a s e r i e s o f p r i v a t e l e t t e r s b e t w e e n t w o p e o p l e . T h o s e t h a t a r e i n t e n d e d f o r o t h e r s t o r e a d a r e u s u a l l y p r e s e n t e d i n t h e f o r m o f p u b l i s h e d a r t i c l e s o r b o o k s . O f t h e s e , s o m e 44 "It was in the second quarter of the nineteenth century that American interest in the first-person life history (only recently, in 1808, named autobiography by the British poet Robert Southey) began to grow. " (Krupat 1994:5) -58-p e o p l e w r i t e t h e i r o w n ; m a n y o t h e r p e o p l e w h o b e l i e v e t h e y c a n n o t o r d o n o t w i s h t o w r i t e e l o q u e n t l y a b o u t t h e i r o w n l i v e s g e t s o m e o n e e l s e t o d o t h e w r i t i n g f o r t h e m . T h a t w r i t e r i s u s u a l l y h i r e d , a l t h o u g h i f t h e p e r s o n i n v o l v e d i s q u i t e f a m o u s ( o r e s p e c i a l l y i n f a m o u s ) , a w r i t e r m i g h t a c t i v e l y s o l i c i t t h e w o r k i n r e t u r n f o r p e r c e i v e d f u t u r e g a i n s ( p u b l i c a t i o n r o y a l t i e s , m a r k e t a b l e r e p u t a t i o n , e t c . ) . S o m e t i m e s t h e p e r s o n w i l l p r o v i d e t h e w r i t e r w i t h a d r a f t o f t h e e n t i r e s t o r y , w h i c h t h e w r i t e r t h e n " f i x e s u p " f o r t h e p u b l i c . O t h e r s u b j e c t s p r o v i d e v e r y l i t t l e a u t h o r i a l d i r e c t i o n , d e p e n d i n g o n t h e w r i t e r t o e l i c i t t h e i n f o r m a t i o n t h r o u g h c o n v e r s a t i o n s o r i n t e r v i e w s a n d t h e n p r e s e n t t h e i n f o r m a t i o n i n a w a y t h a t m o s t s a t i s f i e s t h e s u b j e c t a n d a p p e a l s t o t h e p u b l i c . H o w e v e r t h e i n f o r m a t i o n i s o b t a i n e d , a n a u t o b i o g r a p h y i s e x p e c t e d t o p r e s e n t a n d p r i v i l e g e t h e v i e w p o i n t s o f i t s s u b j e c t , e v e n i f t h e s e d i s a g r e e w i t h c o m m o n l y h e l d b e l i e f s , o r a r e i n t e r n a l l y i n c o n s i s t e n t . 4 5 A u t o b i o g r a p h i e s a r e t h e r e f o r e m o r e s u s c e p t i b l e t o c e r t a i n h u m a n w e a k n e s s e s : t h e u n r e l i a b i l i t y a n d c o n s t r u c t i v e f l e x i b i l i t y o f h u m a n m e m o r y ; t h e d e s i r e t o p r e s e n t o n s e l f a n d o n e ' s l o v e d o n e s i n t h e m o s t f l a t t e r i n g l i g h t ; a n d t h e d e s i r e t o e x t r a c t r e v e n g e o n o n e ' s d e t r a c t o r s o r e n e m i e s . " L i f e h i s t o r y " a n d " l i f e s t o r y " a r e a c a d e m i c d e r i v a t i v e s o f t h e a b o v e . L i f e h i s t o r i e s , a s a n t h r o p o l o g i c a l f o r m s o f b i o g r a p h y , a r e m o s t o f t e n e x t e r n a l l y d i r e c t e d , t o s a t i s f y a n a c a d e m i c r e s e a r c h a g e n d a . 4 6 T h e y m a y o r m a y n o t i n v o l v e a n a c t i v e w o r k i n g r e l a t i o n s h i p w i t h t h e s u b j e c t 4 5 That this will happen is inevitable; it is only a question of degree of variability and consistency. 4 6 However, Krupat (1994:6) reminds us that "even if the Native subject of an Indian autobiography was pressed to the task by a journalist, historian, or anthropologist, we now understand that only those Native persons who found such a task consistent with their own needs and desires eventually cowp/fecffemphasis mine]. I am concerned, however, that this is a projection of a