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Visitor responses to Nitsitapiisinni : our way of life : the impact of collaboration on visitors’ experiences Krmpotich, Cara Ann 2004

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VISITOR RESPONSES TO NITSITAPIISINNI: OUR WAY OF LIFE: THE IMPACT OF COLLABORATION ON VISITORS' EXPERIENCES by  CARA ANN KRMPOTICH B A . , Trent University, 2001  A THESIS SUBMITTED IN PARTIAL FULFILMENT OF THE REQUIREMENTS FOR THE DEGREE OF MASTER OF ARTS  in  THE FACULTY OF GRADUATE STUDIES DEPARTMENT OF ANTHROPOLOGY AND SOCIOLOGY We accept this thesis as conforming to the required standard  THE UNIVERSITY OF BRITISH COLUMBIA June 2004  © Cara Krmpotich, 2004  THE UNIVERSITY OF BRITISH COLUMBIA  FACULTY OF GRADUATE STUDIES  Library Authorization  In presenting this thesis in partial fulfillment 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.  Date (dd'mrn/yyyy)  Name of Author (please print)  Title of Thesis:  Degree:  \l[srmt£  tjAsTQC-  /)/[)  Responses 73  of-/hers  Department of 77/A.O ?0L*O r f / The University of British Columbia Vancouver, BC Canada  AJ  lTS/77}?//s/A)<d/ QC/# CJ^Y  Year:  dflfi  cfe^/D^Oc^/  ABSTRACT Collaborative exhibitions built by Aboriginal communities and museums often seek to reposition Aboriginal peoples as the authors and experts of their culture, and assert their active and continued presence in the contemporary world. This thesis explores the impact collaborative exhibitions are having on museum visitors, using the particular case of Nitsitapiisinni: Our Way of Life - an exhibition created by Blackfoot Elders and Glenbow Museum staff. Interviews with visitors to the exhibition demonstrate that museum visitors rarely recognized the collaborative nature of the exhibit, and thus rarely imagined Nitsitapiisinni as a statement of self-representation or self-determination. Other messages were successfully communicated to museum visitors, namely the impact of colonialism, the efforts to revitalize Blackfoot culture, and the importance of Blackfoot spirituality. Visitors' experiences are considered in the context of intersecting agendas: the museum's educational mandate, the exhibitor's goals, the tourism industry, and the visitor's own personal agendas.  ii  TABLE OF CONTENTS  Abstract  ii  Table of Contents  iii  List of Tables  iv  List of Figures  v  Acknowledgements  vi  SECTION ONE: Introduction Introduction The Glenbow Museum and Blackfoot Tribes Nitsitapiisinni: A Walk Through the Exhibition The Aims of the Collaboration  1 1 5 7 12  SECTION TWO: Visitor Response Survey Methodology Data Analysis Evaluative Analysis of Visitor Interviews Collaboration: Visitors' Concepts and Recognition of the Process Putting Collaboration Aside: Visitors' Overall Interpretations of Nitsitapiisinni When Multiple Agendas Collide  17 17 21 23 24  SECTION THREE: Conclusion  44  References  46  Appendix A Visitor Interview Form  50  30 38  iii  LIST OF TABLES Table 1.1 Visitors' Suggestions of Why Museums Participate in Collaborative Exhibitions  28  Table 1.2 Exhibition Elements Perceived as Evidence of Collaboration  29  Table 1.3 Perceived Gains of Visiting Nitsitapiisinni  34  Table 1.4 Main Messages of the Exhibition as Identified by Visitors  35  iv  TABLE OF FIGURES Figure 1. "A Unique Collaboration" Introductory Panel  8  Figure 2. Powwow Interpretive Station  8  Figure 3. Community Team Members Featured at end of Nitsitapiisinni  12  v  ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS Prof. John Barker, my supervisor, told us in class that in anthropology, you are never alone - you always have an intellectual genealogy through which you can connect yourself to the discipline and to scholarship in general. The support and confidence I receivedfrommy thesis committee members, Profs. John Barker, Carol Mayer and David Anderson, ensured I never felt alone, and I am delighted to have these scholars as part of my growing intellectual genealogy. I must also thank Prof. Julia Harrison; she was perhaps the original member of my genealogy! As an undergraduate and now graduate student, her enthusiasm has always been encouraging, and her advice always helpful. There are, of course, others who have contributed to the shape of this thesis. Beth Carter at Glenbow Museum welcomed me warmly and supported my research, as did Gerry Conaty, Sandra Crazy Bull, Clifford Crane Bear, Frank Weasel Head, Herman Yellow Old Woman, Patty Derbyshire and her family, and many others at Glenbow and in the Blackfoot communities. My family has undoubtedly shaped this thesis, by giving their love, interest and support always (my "Vancouver family" - especially Chris, Margaret, and Dan - have now taken on a similar role). More importantly, they have shaped who I am, and made me proud of where I've come from. I would like to thank the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada (as I'm sure my parents would as well!), for their support of this research through award 766-2003-0106, and for supporting Canadian scholarship.  Introduction This thesis examines museum visitors' awareness of collaboration as a means of exhibition production and the qualitative effects collaboratively-produced exhibitions are having on museum visitors' experiences. Underlying these immediate questions is an exploration of the efficacy of collaboration as a means of social change or public education. I investigated these issues by interviewing visitors' to the Glenbow Museum's permanent exhibition, Nitsitapiisinni: Our Way ofLife, or the Blackfoot Gallery, to determine their responses to the gallery and their awareness of the collaboration that brought it into being. In 1992, a Task Force organized by the Assembly of First Nations and Canadian Museums Association reported on the future of indigenous and museum relations in Canada. The inclusion of First Nations individuals and communities in museum operations was a key recommendation in the Task Forces' report, Turning the Page (Assembly of First Nations [AFN] and Canadian Museums Association [CMA] 1994). Partnerships between communities and museums predated the Task Force's report. The Royal Saskatchewan Museum, for example, began preparations for its collaboratively-produced First Nations Gallery at the same time the Task Force was meeting (Hanna 1999). The Museum of Anthropology at the University of British Columbia created temporary exhibitions, such as Hands of Our Ancestors in co-operation with the Musqueam Weavers (Johnson and Bernick 1986), and Proud to be Musqueam, curated by two members of Musqueam First Nation with the assistance of band Elders (Clifford 1988). The Glenbow Museum was advocating for repatriation legislation on behalf of Blackfoot communities and implementing the loan and return of bundles in 1989 and 1990 (Conaty, Aug. 25,2003, pers. comm.). Turning the Page, however, became a common reference point in  professional and academic literature as Canadian museums' increasingly responded to the call coming from both indigenous communities and scholars alike to engage in collaborative projects. "Collaboration" has been generally defined as "the sharing of knowledge and power to meet the needs of both parties" (Peers and Brown 2003:1), with the intention "that both sides should be able to define and gain the benefits they deem appropriate," (Phillips 2003:159). In terms of museum exhibitions, Ames (1999: 41) qualified "full collaboration" as occurring only when the partnering "non-museum" group is able to negotiate and introduce their own agendas into the exhibition process, which "typically includes articulating a theme or exhibition thesis, collecting research information, developing a story line, establishing a budget, selecting objects to be included, reviewing and recording the condition of all the objects, preparing loan and insurance forms...drafting and editing labels, designing and fabricating object mounts and display furnishings, installing the exhibit, opening and marketing, and probably other steps..." Collaboration can be incorporated into most facets of museum work to better accommodate cultural protocol in the handling and interpretation of artifacts, however the Task Force specifically targeted "the interpretation of First Peoples culture and history in public exhibitions" because of the potential for exhibitions to "become forums for discussions of relevant contemporary issues" and to invoke positive changes in the public's perception of Aboriginal peoples (AFN/CMA 1994: 4). The Task Force believed "a great deal remains to be done to set the record straight for a museum-going public accustomed to the old-style see for examples Harrison 1993a, Doxtator 1996, Ames 1999, Hanna 1999, Holm and Pokorylo 1997, Phillips and Johnson 2003. In the United States, museums were responding not only to calls for collaboration, but also to the passage of the Native American Graves Protection and Repatriation Act QNAGPRA), which legislated a more transparent and equitable working relationship between museums and Native American communities at least as far as human remains and "religious" or ceremonial material was concerned. For American examples of collaborative exhibition building, see Kahn 2000, and Dunstan 1999; for repatriation efforts see Merrill et. al 1993; and for collections management see Rosoff2003. See Clavir (1994), and Drumheller and Kaminitz (1994) for examples of collaboration in conservation, Janes (1994) for co-management strategies, and Merrill et. al (1993) for repatriation procedures. 1  2  3  2  presentations" which "reinforced a public perception that Aboriginal cultures existed only in the past and that they were incapable of change," and furthermore that "[s]uch perceptions continue to support the mistaken notion that Aboriginal cultures are inferior" (AFN/CMA 1994: 7). More recently, Ruth Phillips (2003:158) posited that we can not consider collaboration without considering its place within the larger context of post-modernism. She further aligns collaborative exhibits with the indigenous rights movement. Phillips credits collaborative exhibitions with materializing concepts such as multivocality, self-representation and selfdetermination, yet because the materialization of these concepts is frequently realized within museums, it may seem only a small achievement compared with the larger struggles for enfranchisement, land claims, treaty, or sovereignty. Indeed, Phillips (2003: 158) questions whether "the growing popularity of collaborative exhibits signal[s] a new era of social agency for museums, or does it make the museum a space where symbolic restitution is made for the injustices of the colonial era in lieu of more concrete forms of social, economic, and political redress?" Trudy Nicks (2003) has argued that the recognition of collaboration as a museum practice is the basis of encouraging social change through the museum. She writes, "If museums are to be agents of social change, as many argue they must.. .then they need to translate their contact work into effective means of replacing colonial representations of passive indigenous peoples with representations that make explicit the agency with which these peoples have always engaged their own and other worlds," (Nicks 2003: 27). In other words, if recognized by museum-goers, collaboration within the museum can act as a metaphor for self-representation and self-determination in social, political and economic spheres. Despite the expectation that museums can be locations for social change, little attention  3  has been given to visitor research or whether the public-oriented goals of the Task Force or individual exhibitions are being fulfilled by collaborative exhibitions. Are visitors recognizing collaboration as the method of production? If so, are they interpreting self-representation and self-determination as driving forces behind collaboration? If collaboration is not being recognized by visitors, are they still receiving and appreciating at least a part of the intended messages of such exhibits? Are they hearing different voices, indigenous voices, within the museum? To better understand how the public is engaging with collaborative exhibitions, I surveyed visitors' responses to Nitsitapiisinni: Our Way of Life, the permanent Blackfoot Gallery at Glenbow Museum in Calgary, Alberta. I chose Nitsitapiisinni because it was one of the first permanent galleries to be built using a fully collaborative approach, and also because explicit 4  attempts are made to communicate the collaborative nature of the exhibition to visitors through advertising, museum maps, signage and the exhibition's narrative. I undertook an exploratory evaluation to determine a) how successful the exhibition is at communicating key messages including that of collaboration - to visitors, and b) to better understand the breadth of experiences visitors had in the gallery, independent of the goals expressed by the exhibition team. Concurrently, I interviewed Glenbow staff and Blackfoot collaborators to understand the goals for the exhibition, the role of collaboration, and the relationships between individuals, communities and museum staff. This thesis opens with a history of the relationship between Glenbow Museum and the  As noted above, the Royal Saskatchewan Museum's First Nations Gallery opened in 1993; the collaborative approach for this exhibit was suggested by the curator of the Archaeology Unit - Gerald Conaty (Hanna 1999: 44). Conaty joined the Glenbow Museum in 1990 and also initiated the collaborative focus for Nitsitapiisinni. Other permanent collaborative exhibitions include African Worlds, which opened in March 1999 at the Horniman Museum in London, England (Shelton 2003), and the First Peoples Hall which opened at the Canadian Museum of Civilization in Gatineau, Quebec in January 2003. Major temporary installations built through collaboration include Huupuk anum Tupaat (Out of the Mist) at the Royal British Columbia Museum (Black 1999, 2001). 4  w  4  Blackfoot, a description of the exhibition, and the goals of the exhibition as expressed by exhibition team members. Next, I introduce the research project, setting out my methodology, and then turn to a presentation and interpretation of the recorded data from the visitor interviews. The thesis concludes with a summation of the findings and reflections on possible future research directions.  The Glenbow Museum and Blackfoot Tribes Over the years, the Glenbow Museum (henceforth, "the Glenbow") has moved from being the controversial centre of the museum profession, to a leader of the collaborative model. In 1988, the Glenbow Museum was the centre of attention in the museum world as the exhibition it had prepared for the winter Olympics, The Spirit Sings, was boycotted by various First Nations and museums. The Assembly of First Nations and Canadian Museums Association Task Force 5  was created in response to this event, delivering its recommendations in 1992. By this time, Glenbow Museum had already begun to develop a working relationship with local Blackfoot 6  communities. In 1989 and 1990, Glenbow staff worked with Blackfoot individuals to arrange 7  for the loaning of sacred bundles, ultimately agreeing that the bundles should be repatriated permanently (Conaty, August 25,2003 pers. comm., Conaty and Janes 1997) Two community exhibition team members 1 spoke with recalled their own Elders' plans to influence museum 8  practices: if the Blackfoot invited museum staff to ceremonies, staff members would witness  For a discussion of the exhibition and the boycott, see Harrison, Trigger and Ames (1988), and Harrison (1993b). Less formal relationships already existed between the Glenbow and Blackfoot: past Director Hugh Dempsey was married to a woman from Kainai and wrote extensively on Blackfoot culture (Dempsey 1972, 1978, 1980, 1994, 2002). "Blackfoot" was not an indigenous categorization used by this group to identify themselves. They recognized themselves by their tribal names: the Peigan, which includes the Amsskaapipikani or Blackfeet in Montana and the Apatohsipikani or Pikani in Alberta; the Kainai, or Blood, in Alberta; and Siksika, also in Alberta. Each group is distinct, having their own Societies and political leaders. They do share cultural practices such as the ookaan and speak dialects of the same language. More recently, they have joined as a political body, adopting the Western term, "The Blackfoot Confederacy" (Blackfoot Gallery Committee 2001). Two of the four community exhibition team members I spoke with requested their names not be used. 5  6  7  8  5  first-hand the important role bundles play in the community and appreciate the need for the bundles to be returned. The Glenbow staff - and particularly Senior Curator Gerald Conaty worked closely with the Mookaakin Foundation, a not-for-profit group of Kainai people working towards repatriating sacred objects and influencing interpretations of Blackfoot culture (Conaty, August 25, 2003, pers. comm., Frank Weasel Head, August 26, 2003, pers. comm.) The Museum adopted an advocacy role on behalf of the Blackfoot in negotiations with the province to pass the Sacred and Ceremonial Objects Repatriation Act, allowing the museum to return bundles classified as provincial property. A First Nations Advisory Council was also formed in 1991 to provide direction to staff working with indigenous materials and support Aboriginal involvement in the museum (Beth Carter, April 29, 2004, pers. comm., Janes 1994). Work on the exhibition Nitsitapiisinni: Our Way ofLife began in the mid-1990s when Glenbow decided to renovate its First Nations exhibitions that had been installed nearly thirty years earlier. Conaty recommended to Robert Janes, then-Director of Glenbow, that the renovated exhibition focus on the Blackfoot and that the Blackfoot be active participants in the construction of the gallery, I said [to Janes] T would do Blackfoot - just one culture. Instead of trying to do everybody. Do one. Do it well. Then people can learnfromthat. Take that lesson away and start thinking about other First Nations issues when they come across them in the media or elsewhere. But you can't do a lot more in our little tiny space.' And this is Blackfoot territory. By then we had a pretty strong relationship, and if you're going to do something collaboratively you have to have that relationship and it takes years to develop. And I knew who to talk to. That's also key... .We had that relationship [with the Blackfoot]... I went to Frank Weasel Head and said 'This is what we want to do. First of all, will you help me? Since you're also part of Mookaakin and it says in this agreement that you have to help us. To return things to you, you have to help us.' And then we worked out the other people... (Conaty, August 25, 2003, pers. comm.)  Seventeen "community team members" were chosen to work with Glenbow staff to create the gallery. As spiritual leaders, caretakers of bundles or members of Blackfoot Societies,  6  the community team members not only possess an extensive knowledge, they are also authorized within their own communities to teach about Blackfoot ceremonies, sacred objects and spirituality. Reflecting upon their role as members of Societies, one community team member 9  noted, "our job, almost like the museum's, we have to preserve our culture through ceremonies." During the ceremonies, knowledge "that prepares you for your life" is transferred from one generation to the next. Mirroring this process, community team members frequently spoke of Nitsitapiisinni as a means of sharing much-needed knowledge with their youth. The community team members set the perimeters of collaboration for the project. They determined the themes, what information would be shared (and what could not be shared) and what artifacts, images and works of art would be used to illustrate the content. Every Glenbow exhibition team member spent significant time in Blackfoot communities at exhibition meetings, ceremonies, and local events to ensure every element - design, conservation, scripting of text embodied the Blackfoot-perspective and respected cultural protocol.  Nitsitapiisinni: A Walk Through the Exhibition After five years of work, Nitsitapiisinni: Our Way of Life opened in November of 2001, to share Blackfoot culture, history, and contemporary realities with Glenbow's visitors.  10  Its  'earthen' pathway spills out into the foyer of the thirdfloor,inviting visitors to travel its route. The gallery's name appears overhead, accented with a stylized buffalo, printed on the skin of a  A decision was made by the Blackfoot to exclude knowledgeable persons who were serving terms in political offices within their communities in order to prevent the narrative being mistaken for a political agenda (Frank Weasel Head, August 26, 2003, pers. comm.). For ethnographic and historic information on the Peigan, Siksika and Kainai tribes, see Blackfoot Gallery Committee 2001, Thomas 1986, Samek 1987, Calf Robe 1979, Kidd 1986 [1937], and Dempsey 1978, 1980, 1994. 9  10  7  large, tJiree-dimensional section of a drum. The first textual information is found here: to the left is information about the land and where each tribe lives; to the far right is a panel entitled "A Unique Collaboration" laying out the Blackfoot and Glenbow responsibilities in the exhibition (figure 1); to the immediate right is a wall-size photograph of people in front of a tipi with a highlighted section welcoming visitors - "Oki Nikso-ko-wa, Hello Our Relatives." Upon entering the gallery, one finds images of the land on the left, printed on large, stretched skins, with animals perched or nestled into mini-environments. Also nestled into this section are text panels and artifacts describing the interconnectedness of land and spirit, people and nature, central to understanding how the Blackfoot experience and make sense of the world. Visitors may read the text panels, or pick up one of the telephones from the interpretive stations that provide a photograph of the person whose voice is heard on the phone, their name, tribe, and a quotation summarizing the recorded message. Similar interpretive stations (figure 2) appear throughout the gallery, and often provide the opportunity to listen in English or Blackfoot.  Figure 1. " A Unique Collaboration" introductory panel  Figure 2. Powwow Interpretive Station  To the visitors' right, high above, is the Wolf Trail, or Milky Way, with twinkling stars In conjunction with the exhibition, the book Nitsitapiisinni: the story of the Blackfoot people (Blackfoot Gallery Committee 2001) was released. Its organization differs from the exhibition, however, the majority of the text is a replication of the label copy. 11  8  that illuminate particular constellations as a voice navigates the night sky. B e l o w the night sky is a tipi, encircled by displays that inform visitors about the roles of celestial bodies in Blackfoot culture. Visitors can walk around the tipi or go inside where motion-sensors trigger a recording that describes the living quarters of the tipi. Semi-permeable boundaries in this section are created by low, 'rock' walls embedded with Plexi-glass cases containing individual artifacts and small, decorated boxes with lids that lift-up to expose medicinal and domestic plants. Textual information about plant use, tipi construction and tipi protocol are also provided. M o v i n g further into the gallery, there is a circular theatre with benches where visitors have a choice of listening to different stories. Again, the 'boundaries' between this space and the rest of the exhibition are quite permeable; there are multiple openings between the theatre and other exhibition areas. The exterior walls of the theatre host artifacts, including a decorated buffalo robe that illustrates its owner's history. There is also an exit in this area that takes visitors out o f  Nitsitapiisinni and into the First Nations Gallery, information on rock paintings, and a  station where children can create their own stories using felt 'pictographs' with contemporary iconography, such as sports equipment, household items, and food. Rounding a corner, the exhibition explores family dynamics and daily living. There is a particular focus here on children including a case of objects belonging to  minipoka. These were  'favoured' children, often of wealthy parents, who were doted upon and frequently reared by grandparents; as a result of their grandparents' storytelling, minipoka gained a tremendous knowledge of their culture and language. A number of the Blackfoot who collaborated on this project were themselves  minipoka (Beth Carter, August 23, 2004, pers. comm.). Daily living is  captured in the procuring o f food, the tanning of hides, the division o f labour, the clan structure,  9  and the making, erecting and dismantling of tipis. The exhibition demonstrates that it is not all work, however! The tradition of the powwow is celebrated as well. A wooden arborframeslifesize colour images of modem powwows, dresses danced in previous powwows, contemporary give-away items such as tea towels, blankets and Tupperware, and an interpretive station featuring Herman Yellow Old Woman speaking about powwow as "a place to meet your friends and remember the old days." A smaller, rounded room with triangular doorways presents the ookaan, or Sun Dance, to visitors through minimal wall-text and a lengthier video presentation. Leaving this tipi-like space, visitors come out onto 'the land.' Two wall-size screens play different loops of prairie scenes: grasses, skies, animals, and birds. There is an accompanying audio track with the sounds of the prairie as well. A full-sized buffalo perched on the edge of a 'cliff attracts visitors to a display on the buffalo hunt, and how buffalo were used to support Blackfoot life. Opposite these displays is an area that shares culturally-important topographic features, and recalls the cyclical movements of Blackfoot throughout their territory. Rounding another corner, the gallery begins to narrow as it reports the impacts of EuroCanadian decisions on Blackfoot life. Curator Gerry Conaty (2003) has written of the shifting design principles that occur in this area, as open spaces are cordoned off by walls reminiscent of trading posts and settler cabins. Information on trade (and its transformationfromequitable transactions to the exchange of furs and pelts for alcohol that caused blindness), treaties, and resistance to colonial measures is presented. Blackfoot iconography, reminiscent of the buffalo robe depicting a warrior's victory, here reports the number of Blackfoot lost to small pox and other epidemics. The visitor is informed, "The devil can comer you in a house, but not in a tipi," just as he or she is made to pass through a cabin, signaling the implementation of the reservation  10  system. The exhibition has been designed to replicate the changes and confinement that accompanied the creation of reserves (Conaty 2003). The severe impacts of a sedentary reserve system, agriculture and residential schooling are presented in an institutional, hermetic space with two-dimensional photographs, right angles, tile floors, bright lights and no view to the exterior world. A look at the recent creation of community colleges in this section suggests one of the ways Blackfoot have adapted to the imposed systems. The harshness of these sections is softened in the following section that examines representations of Blackfoot in European and North American artwork, and archival photographs of fairs and expositions. Here, wicker chairs, hardwood flooring, and dimmed lighting suggest a change, though like the representations themselves, it is ambiguous. The visitor is confronted by a number of images, including the stoic and noble Native in works of art, and photographic reminders of Blackfoot people on display at resorts and the Calgary Stampede. Text panels draw attention to the incongruity between assimilationist policies, a popular desire to see 'authentic' and 'traditional' Natives, and the continuous role of the Blackfoot in shaping the identity of the west. Coming "full-circle," the exhibition ends in a circular space, where the visitor is able to look at, and past, flags from each of the Blackfoot tribes to the large tipi under the Wolf Trail. Books and community newsletters are available for reading, placed among benches and a low table. A Blackfoot artist also had her work on display during my stay at the Glenbow. Multiple television screens present Blackfoot people speaking about the challenges and successes in their own lives, the changes they have witnessed in their communities, and the future of their culture. Text panels and photographs share the achievements of Blackfoot communities in creating  11  Blackfoot schools and healthcare services, and successfully repatriating sacred bundles from museums. As the text panel on repatriation concludes, the message here is that "these changes are important. These changes will keep our culture alive. These changes mean that we will survive." As they leave the exhibition, visitors encounter a deep blue wall featuring colour portraits of each community team member with their names, tribe and goal for the exhibition written adjacent to their portraits (figure 3). A smaller acknowledgements panel also includes a collage of photographs from the development and production stages of the exhibition.  t »A . | * ^ - ^ , r  £  g  Figure 3. Community Team Members featured at end of Nitsitapiisinni  The Aims of the Collaboration During the course of my research, I interviewed both Glenbow staff and Blackfoot community members who had participated in developing Nitsitapiisinni. The interviews ranged widely over a variety of subjects: the individual's role in the development of the gallery, reflections on the role of public museums and the changing relationship between the Glenbow and Blackfoot community, among other things. In all cases, however, I encouraged the interviewees to elaborate upon their aims for the exhibition, and how they hoped the public  12  would interact with the space. In particular, every exhibition team member was asked how important it was that visitors see collaboration in the exhibition. Among staff members, I spoke with Sandra Crazy Bull who is involved with educational programming at Glenbow and hosted tours of Nitsitapiisinni throughout the summer, Gerald Conaty (Senior Curator of Ethnology), Beth Carter (Curator of Ethnology and my main contact at Glenbow), and Clifford Crane Bear (Treaty Seven Liaison). I was able to speak with four community team members: Frank Weasel Child from Kainai, Herman Yellow Old Woman from Siksika, and two community team members wishing to remain anonymous. A difference in perspective emerged between Glenbow exhibition team members and community team members. Glenbow exhibition team members directed the goals of the exhibition towards an unspecified audience. Senior Curator Gerry Conaty felt that although different audiences existed, the message was the same for all visitors. He saw the gallery as an introduction into Blackfoot culture; a space that helps people connect the past with the present. Blackfoot team members, on the other hand, imagined the positive outcomes of visiting the exhibition, recognizing the collaboration and the changes occurring within the museum in terms of their own community members, and particularly their youth. For them, the exhibition goals were targeted first and foremost towards a Blackfoot audience, and secondly, towards a nonNative audience. In terms of the differences in whom was being targeted - Blackfoot youth or a 12  wider public - Conaty (August 25,2003, pers. comm.) noted that community team members' focus on their own youth served to legitimate their involvement with the museum: "They couldn't be working on it, doing it for Glenbow's sake. What's the feedback to their communities? What goes back to their community?"  12 A non-Blackfoot but still Aboriginal audience was alluded to lessfrequently;fromthe information collected it is not possible to determine how the goalsforthis public would compare with a non-Native or a Blackfoot audience.  13  Both groups insisted that the narrative of the exhibition needed to articulate Blackfoot experiences from a Blackfoot perspective and in a Blackfoot voice. Blackfoot history, therefore, does not begin with a story of migration across the Bering Sea and move chronologically through time. It begins with an introduction to the Blackfoot worldview and the stories that teach the origins of Blackfoot culture and its connections to the land. As one community team member offered, "previous [to Nitsitapiisinni] when you came to view the Blackfoot material, you only heard itfroma person observing. You didn't hear itfromthe person living it, the person developing it. It's a real big difference now that you come into the Blackfoot Gallery, being totally designed by the Blackfoot people rather than someone with a camera, asking questions, observing." In order to reflect this shift in voice, the text is written entirely in the first-person plural. It should be clarified that the exhibition does not articulate a homogenous Blackfoot experience or singular Blackfoot voice. Rather, tribal variations, accomplishments of noted Blackfoot Chiefs and experiences of contemporary Blackfoot individuals are featured throughout the gallery. Still, each story in the gallery is there to illustrate what it was and is to be Blackfoot during periods of independence, colonization, and cultural revitalization. There was also a specific desire, particularly among Blackfoot community team members, that visitors recognize collaboration as fundamental to the exhibition. The gallery is not to be confused with the multiple interpretations and "misinterpretations" originating from non-Blackfoot sources. With its shift in voice, from that of the museum to that of the Blackfoot, the gallery seeks to communicate that "this is our story, this is our way, the real people, telling our story, how it happened," (Community Team Member, August 25, 2003, pers. comm.). Herman Yellow Old Woman (August 23, 2003, pers. comm.) felt that if the collaborative nature was visible then Blackfoot visitors would feel more comfortable in the museum, knowing that  14  "what is there is comingfromthe ancestors, from the communities." Conaty identified the attempts to strike a balance between emphasizing the collaborative nature of the exhibition and the overall intent of the exhibition which is not to tell visitors how it was made, but rather to share information about Blackfoot culture: I hope that people see that it's Blackfoot people telling their story and not just another museum talking about culture. That there's people talking about themselves and something really to be learned here. But short of doing a whole section in the gallery on collaboration, you can't do that other than through text and some audio-visual where people are talking about collaborating. I left little clips in of Frank [Weasel Head] talking about being proud of Glenbow and his evaluation that this is taking control. But we sure didn't want to do a whole text panel or section on the collaboration (August 25, 2003, pers. comm.).  The story represented in Nitsitapiisinni is important for how it is told - through selfrepresentation and collaboration - but also for what is being said. One of the goals expressed for Nitsitapiisinni is that visitors will gain an understanding of contemporary Blackfoot life - both the positive and negative aspects. Sandra Crazy Bull, an interpreter for the gallery and one community team member both wanted people to leave the gallery knowing the history and understanding the roots of many of the social problems that exist today in Blackfoot communities. By providing a cultural-historical context, the exhibition attempts to convey to visitors not only a sequence of events leading up to the present, but also how these events were experienced by Blackfoot tribes, and their reactions to these events. One of the end goals is that visitors will recognize the efficacy of Blackfoot cultural systems in the past (such as land management or education), and the ability of these systems to play a continuing and instrumental role in the present. The community team member felt that if visitors could see how these systems were disabled by Euro-Canadians, the damage that ensued, and the positive effects of maintaining and reintroducing these systems, visitors might "respect that we're trying to preserve  15  and keep our tradition." Conaty (2003: 240) has contextualized this particular goal of the exhibition within a discourse of co-existence, characterizing Nitsitapissinni as "afirmresistance to assimilation"fromthe Blackfoot and "a statement of their right to exist as a unique cultural political entity within the larger Canadian society." Another expectation of being able to explain their own culture was the belief among community team members that a more accurate depiction of Blackfoot culture was possible. The narrative of the exhibition is built upon key cultural concepts - namely spirituality and a connection to the land - that serve as the framework for talking about other stories such as kinship and family, ceremonies, or the buffalo hunt. An effort was made to ensure Blackfoot notions of spirituality permeated the narrative in order to communicate that an understanding of Blackfoot culture, how decisions are made and acted upon, requires an understanding of Blackfoot spirituality.  13  A fundamental goal for community team members was that the exhibition reach Blackfoot youth. The exhibition is to act as a place to begin learning about Blackfoot ways history, ceremonies, and cultural practices. The ideal outcome for the exhibition is that Blackfoot youth will identify the individuals in the photographs and videos as peoplefromtheir communities who can be approached for further knowledge, teachings and advice. To this end, Herman Yellow Old Woman associated this with the ability of youth to recognize collaboration: "It is very important for people to understand that this was collaborative. It opens the door for youth to ask questions. They can connect with the images and people in the exhibition and know who to ask. They can ask questions at home. Knowledge isn't hidden anymore," (August 23,  Vitebsky (1995) has challenged the use of idealized notions of spirituality and environmentalism by indigenous groups to promote political agendas, and also the groups that consume these idealized notions. When used to appeal to a broader and often non-local audience, Vitebsky fears indigenous knowledge loses its holistic nature. The community team members I spoke with were equally concerned that a sense of holism be communicated and thus, that spirituality not be separated from routine activities nor ceremonial events. 13  16  2003, pers. comm.). No youth participating in the interviews identified themselves specifically as Blackfoot, and thus I cannot address this goal from the data collected. In summary, Glenbow and community team members desired that visitors recognize four primary messages in the exhibition. First, the story has come from, and is being told by, the Blackfoot. In turn, the origins of the story make it more accurate and more meaningful than representations of Blackfoot history and culture produced by non-Blackfoot. Third, the challenges faced by the Blackfoot need to be considered within the context of colonialism, while solutions to these challenges lie in cultural revitalization. And lastly, Blackfoot spirituality forms the basis of the culture. The Visitor Response Survey Methodology I undertook an exploratory evaluation of visitors' responses to investigate how effectively Nitsitapiisinni is communicating the primary messages and to determine the scope of messages visitors interpreted in the gallery. The outcomes of this approach not only serve my immediate research questions, but can also be used by the exhibition team members to determine if modifications need to occur to any part(s) of the exhibition and to guide future collaborative projects they may undertake. My evaluation of Nitsitapiisinni reflects both formative and summative evaluation questions. Formative evaluations are usually (though not always [see Screven 1976]) conducted during the planning and development stages of an exhibit and indicate the strengths and weaknesses of an exhibit, and how it may be improved physically to serve the intended goals (Hooper-Greenhill 1994, Korn 1989). Summative evaluations indicate what messages an exhibit is communicating, how well it is communicating these messages, and whether the exhibit is  17  achieving the goals of its creators (St. John and Perry 1993, Korn 1989, Screven 1976). Summative research can therefore only be conducted once an exhibition is complete and open to the public. Formative and summative evaluations can be approachedfromdifferent angles. Chandler Screven's pioneering work on goal-referenced evaluation maintains that evaluation first requires exhibition goals to be expressed as an action or ability the visitor acquires through their visit and, second, that evaluation methods should test for these specific outcomes (Screven 1976). In contrast, the exploratory approach seeks to determine the multiple impacts an exhibit may have, regardless of the goals expressed by the curator, exhibition team, or museum (Loomis 1987, 212). As elaborated upon below, the methods I employed resemble the characteristics of exploratory evaluation more closely than goal-referenced evaluation: first, the goals as expressed by exhibition team members reflect more general aims as opposed to specific learning outcomes for the gallery, and second, visitors' perceptions and interpretations of the exhibition were considered as valid and important outcomes regardless of their consistency with the goals expressed by exhibition team members. I used semi-structured interviews to understand how visitors were interacting with and responding to the gallery. Binks and Uzzell (1999, 299-300) find merit in this methodology because: it allows both the interviewer and the interviewee to ask questions, raise issues and clarify information as needed; the data collected can be measured quantitatively or analysed qualitatively; and only a modest amount of resources are needed to implement the methodology. By using semi-structured interviews, I was able to collect data that indicated not only how frequently visitors were interpreting the messages as intended by the exhibition team, but also what additional or alternative messages visitors were interpreting. In choosing my methodology  18  I was also mindful of the findings of Falk and Dierking (2000) and Anderson (2003) that indicate visitors' experiences are shaped largely by personal factors, including their past experiences, their personal interests, and the social context of their visit: for instance, is the visitor traveling alone, with peers or with a family, are they visiting from another country, or do they have an interest in Aboriginal cultures? Thus, interviews afforded the opportunity to investigate how personal interests or circumstances may have influenced visitors' experiences in the gallery. Interviews with visitors were conducted by the researcher over a four day period, including weekdays and the weekend, during the month of August. The Glenbow Museum was 14  open to the public during these days from 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. Visitor research ran the full duration of these hours. Signs posted at the entrance to the exhibition, and within the exhibit itself notified visitors of research occurring in the gallery on these days. Visitors were approached when they appeared to be leaving the gallery. They were invited to sit around a table, just outside the entrance/exit to Nitsitapiisinni  for the interview. A tape recorder was used  to record the interviews with the visitor's consent; written notes were also taken for each interview. A set number of questions were prepared by the researcher that targeted the primary research questions (see Appendix A). In almost every case the same questions were asked of visitors in roughly the same order, however initial interviews informed minor changes to the interview protocol to ensure questions and concepts were being communicated effectively. Where visitors seemed willing to engage in a conversation on any given topic, this was  Informal conversations, not limited to the exhibition or collaboration, occurred with a number of people, including Glenbow service staff and volunteers, spectators at the Siksika pow-wow, 'civic' employees of Blackfoot communities, and my host for the week who had been employed at Glenbow in the past. These conversations provided additional information about the museum as an institution, its municipal and regional role, and Glenbow/Blackfoot relations. 1 4  19  encouraged as a means of eliciting the same responses as a straight question-and-answer session would provide. Shorter questions were asked at the beginning of the interview to ease participants into the interview process. Then more in-depth questions followed, seeking visitors' impressions of the physical space, the content of the gallery, and collaboration. The final questions of the interview were also shorter in length, signaling that the interview process was nearing an end. I first asked visitors how long they had been in Nitsitapiisinni, and how long they had been in the museum in general. I also asked whether visitors had heard of the gallery before coming to the museum, and if so, what they knew or how they had learned about it. Next, I asked visitors to offer their opinions on the gallery, encouraging them to provide both positive and negative critiques as well as suggestions for improvement or change. In addition to learning what visitors liked most or least about the exhibit, answers to this question often revealed what aspects were leaving first impressions upon visitors. The messages being interpreted by visitors, and the personal gains they associated with their visit were focal topics of the interviews. First, I asked visitors to list the main messages they thought the exhibition was trying to communicate to its audience. Visitors were also asked to share what they perceived to be the most positive outcome of their visit, or what they felt they gained from going through the gallery. Then, in order to contextualize visitors' experiences in Nitsitapiisinni within a broader range of their experiences with Aboriginal people or cultures, I asked each visitor to compare the messages and information in Nitsitapiisinni with their prior knowledge of the Blackfoot specifically, or First Nations in general. In tandem with this question (though asked as the final question of the interview), visitors were asked to rate their own knowledge of First Nations in Canada on a scale of one (low) to ten (high). Although based  20  on the visitor's subjective evaluation of themselves, I asked the question as a potential point of comparison: would there be correlations between a person's familiarity with First Nations and their awareness of collaboration? Perhaps a sign of success for the exhibition was the clarification frequently requested by visitors: "Should I rate my knowledge of First Nations before or after seeing the exhibit?" The other goal of the visitor survey was to gain an understanding of visitors' awareness of collaboration in the museum, particularly as it concerns the development of exhibitions. I asked visitors to talk about their ideas of collaboration, both separatefromand in relation to Nitsitapiisinni. It was during this section of the interview that I informed visitors that the reason I chose Nitsitapiisinni as a research site was because of the collaborative effort between museum staff and the community team members. Further, I imparted that the Glenbow worked as equal partners with seventeen Blackfoot Elders to produce the exhibit. I then asked visitors to reflect upon what they had seen or read in the exhibit and indicate if there was any evidence of collaboration within the exhibit. Suggestions were also elicited as to why museums would want to collaborate with First Nations, and what visitors perceived were the benefits of collaboration. The final group of questions in the survey recorded where the interviewees were from, why they came to the Glenbow Museum, how often they visited museums, and (as mentioned previously) their level of knowledge of First Nations in Canada.  Data Analysis My analysis is based upon interviews I conducted with sixty-two visitors to the Blackfoot Gallery. Sixteen participants (26%) werefromthe Calgary area, while the remaining forty-six (74%) were visitors to the area: ten visitors werefromelsewhere in Alberta; seventeen more  21  came from other Canadian provinces and territories; five were from the United States, eleven from Europe, twofromthe United Kingdom and one from South America. Nine people (14%) identified themselves as First Nations during the course of the interviews. Most of the participants were visiting the museum with their partner or spouse, family members, or with a group of friends (only one couple indicated they were there as part of a tour group). Only six visitors who participated were there alone. Exactly one-half of the visitors I spoke with had known about the Blackfoot Gallery before coming to the museum that day, and twelve visitors indicated they came to Glenbow specifically to see Nitsitapiisinni. Twenty-five people (40%) said they visited museums often, while twenty-one participants (34%) said they tended to visit museums when traveling or when entertaining out-of-town guests. I undertook basic transcriptions of tape-recorded interviews, and hand-written interview notes were transcribed as soon as possible to retain the greatest amount of detail. I have used this data to determine 1) how well the particular aims of the exhibition were communicated and 2) the variety of ways visitors engaged with the content of the gallery. If analysed quantitatively, the data yield the frequency with which visitors identified the key themes. When examined qualitatively, the interviews denote the degree to which particular concepts were appreciated and the range of messages interpreted by visitors. I coded the interviews using categories that reflected the interview questions and were similar to the themes that emerged during my conversations with exhibition team members. The categories were: the gains associated with visiting the gallery; the messages visitors felt were dominant in the gallery; their awareness and perceptions of collaboration; and their assessment of the quality and types of information in Nitsitapiisinni. An additional category - impressions of the gallery - was added to address visitors' critiques of Nitsitapiisinni. I considered comments or  22  replies made during any phase of the interview for their fit with any of the categories. I undertook a second level of coding to distinguish specific responses in each of these larger thematic categories as a means of uncovering patterns, consensus, or disagreement in visitors' comments on these issues. No limit was imposed on the number of acceptable answers or responses to any question. Answers were noted when they were uncovered in the interviews, subsequent answers were cross-checked with those previously noted and then tallied when they resembled an earlier response or noted as a new possible response. This process is similar to that summarized by Spencer, Ritchie and O'Connor (2003:203) as "cross-sectional 'code and retrieve' methods" whereby a set of categories is applied to the data set in its entirety as a means of searching for and retrieving particular segments of the data. Finally, a database was created to record the ideas expressed about each topic during each interview to facilitate comparisons between visitors.  Evaluative Analysis of Visitor Interviews By undertaking an exploratory evaluation of Nitsitapiisinni, I was able to analyse visitors' responses in correlation to the expressed goals for the exhibition, and also consider how the responses suggest additional or alternative interpretations of the exhibition. As noted above, the primary goals for the gallery as expressed by exhibition team members were: 1) visitors recognize the story as comingfromthe Blackfoot and that the exhibition was collaborative, 2) visitors recognize the narrative as tmthful, and as a more accurate and more meaningful depiction of Blackfoot life than narratives produced by non-Blackfoot, 3) visitors gain an appreciation for the struggles faced by the Blackfoot, both historically and currently, and how the strengthening of Blackfoot cultural traditions is serving to  23  mediate those struggles, and 4) visitors grow in awareness of Blackfoot spirituality and how it permeates Blackfoot culture. I begin my analysis by considering visitors' perceptions of collaboration and their recognition of collaboration within Nitsitapiisinni. Next, I address visitors' assessments of the accuracy and quality of the information in Nitsitapiisinni. Finally, I investigate the messages visitors identified as central to the gallery and compare these with the exhibitors' goals of communicating the obstacles the Blackfoot are facing - and overcoming - and the importance of spirituality.  Collaboration: Visitors' Concepts and Recognition of the Process Of the sixty-two people I spoke with, twelve (19%) had heard the word 'collaboration' used in the museum context. Of these twelve visitors, one was uncertain what it meant, while two others suggested collaboration referred to sharing artifacts and having traveling exhibitions. Four of the twelve visitors associated collaboration with "co-operation" or "working together." In fact, most visitors - whether they had heard the term in the museum context or not - defined collaboration as "co-operation" or "working together." Predominantly, visitors imagined the museum co-operating or working with artists, other museums, or sponsors such as industry and Government. Working with indigenous communities - or more specifically, the Blackfoot 15  was noted as a likely partnership by three of the visitors who were familiar with the term 'collaboration' and seven visitors who were not familiar with the term but were aware the  None of the visitors discussed 'working together' in terms of working with cultural groups or ethnic communities in general. During a later question, one visitor suggested that museums should employ collaboration when representing any ethnic group. 15  24  Blackfoot had participated in the creation of the exhibition. Among the visitors who realized the Blackfoot were involved in the exhibition, one was the friend of a community team member and was employed with the Siksika Reserve. He had been to the gallery a number of times and on this occasion he had brought a friend with him; she was familiar with the term "collaboration" and was the only person to suggest it stemmed from First Nations putting pressure on museums. During one interview I conducted with a father and his two children, the father had heard of the word collaboration but neither of his children had. He let them provide a meaning for the word (the son replied "togetherness"), but earlier segments of the interview strongly suggest the father was keenly aware of the Blackfoot participation in the gallery. He had been to the gallery before and had returned with his children because he wanted them to be able to learn about "tools, artifacts, and how different life has been for First Nations - how they live today compared with how they lived way back." Furthermore, he brought his children to Nitsitapiisinni because it was a place where his children could learn these things from the appropriate people - from Elders. The visitors I have just described all identified themselves as First Nations during the course of our interview. A total of nine people identified themselves as First Nations during the interviews, although none identified themselves as Blackfoot (or as Apatohsipikani, Amsskaapipikani, Kainai or Siksika). Almost all of these visitors were aware the Blackfoot played a significant role in the production of the gallery (it is difficult to determinefromthe interviews if the two youth were aware of collaboration). A studentfromCalgary became familiar with the concept of collaboration and the contribution of the Blackfoot through Glenbow's advertising, while four other visitors became aware of the Blackfoot involvementfromthe exhibition itself. The layout of the gallery signaled  Kahn (2000: 70) briefly reports the results of a summative evaluation of the collaborative exhibition Pacific Voices: one-third of visitors involved in the study recognized the collaborative nature of that exhibition.  16  25  collaboration for one of these visitors: he believed it reflected non-European concepts, particularly because it did not proceed chronologically. Two of the visitors (traveling together) said they saw the contributions of the Blackfoot throughout the exhibit, especially in the interpretive stations, the videos and the photographs of community members on the wall. The fourth visitor noted the "A Unique Collaboration" introductory panel as evidence of Blackfoot participation, but also provided evidence of Glenbow's participation: he listed the labels attributing historic photographs to the Glenbow Archives as an indication of the museum's involvement. I will elaborate further upon the types of evidence visitors associated with collaboration below. While the frequently-cited definition of collaboration as "co-operation" or "working together" is not wrong, the absence or exclusion of communities or cultural groups as a potential partner with the museum suggests that most visitors are not envisioning self-representation or self-determination as a primary goal or outcome of collaboration. When I asked why the museum would want to engage in collaborative projects, the vast majority of visitors believed using collaboration "just makes sense." Nineteen people (31%) told me that by using collaboration, the museum is able to obtain the perspective of the people they are portraying. In this scenario, however, it is still the museum that is responsible for the representation. These same visitors often saw collaboration as a means of accessing cultural knowledge the museum would not otherwise have. Nine people said the result of collaboration is that a more realistic or balanced story can be told. The Blackfoot, for instance, could speak about their own experiences directly, address particular issues, and counter Euro-Canadian versions of events. In this case, visitors are recognizing the Blackfoot account as equally valid as mainstream histories, though they are not necessarily conceptualizing it as more accurate or more meaningful than non-Blackfoot sources.  26  In contrast, ten visitors (16%) said the result of collaboration is that multiple perspectives can be included in an exhibit. The end product would reflect not just the museum's values, yet neither would it reflect just the values or perspectives of the Blackfoot. 'Balance,' for these visitors, comesfromhaving multiple perspectives: the museum narrative, the Blackfoot narrative, plus the voices of any other stakeholders involved. The degree of control the museum wields over the interpretation of artifacts and knowledge is alternately increased, diluted, or made relative in each of these scenarios. As noted earlier, only one person said collaboration was a response to pressure coming from First Nations. One man suggested the museum engaged in collaboration in order to be politically and socially active. He saw it as a way to raise awareness of land claim issues and prevent the public from harbouring unfair attitudes towards the Blackfoot. Table 1.1 describes the breadth of suggestions supplied by visitors as to why the museum would participate in collaboration. The majority of these responses reflect visitors' perceptions that the use of collaboration will improve the museum's abilities to operate and produce high-quality exhibitions. Visitors' impressions of collaboration as a tool for building better, and more accurate exhibitions and their impressions of the Blackfoot Gallery as highly informative, truthful and indepth, however, were rarely recognized in a cause-and-effect relationship. This separation was quite evident in my interview with a man and womanfromFort McMurray, Alberta. During the initial questions of the interview, the man described the gallery as a "very fair, very honest portrayal." He felt as though the exhibition were "holding a mirror up to the past and quietly influencing people." Neither he nor his partner had heard the term collaboration before. When I explained that I was interested in Nitsitapiisinni  because of the collaboration -  27  and expanded briefly upon the Blackfoot involvement - both he and his partner were shocked. "I assumed some professional museum people had put this together," he told me. A disconnect occurs between this visitor's notion of the exhibit as being fair and honest, his assumption that the museum was responsible for this knowledge, and why he thought museums would use collaboration: "without it" he asked, "how could museum professionals really understand other peoples' ways of life?" Table 1.1 Visitors' Suggestions ofWhy Museums Participate in Collaborative Exhibitions Reason Provided No. of Responses Gets Perspective and Cultural Knowledge of the People Being Portrayed 19 10 Enables Inclusion of Multiple Perspectives Enables a More Realistic or Balanced Story to be Told 9 Access to Better or More Artifacts 5 Museum Becomes Better Educated 3 Makes the Story More Personal, More Interesting 3 2 Community Volunteers Have Motivation Museum Wanting to Engage in Social Activism (i.e. raise public awareness 1 of land claims) Pressure ComingfromFirst Nations 1 Collects the Insights of First Nations' Before They Disappear 1 Increases Work Force 1 1 Enables Use of Contemporary Knowledge Number of responses = 56; number of visitors interviewed = 62. Many visitors made a similar assumption: that the exhibition was the work of the museum. When asked to consider if they saw evidence of collaboration, visitors' responses often began with "I hadn't thought of it as collaboration at the time, but...." Only four visitors recalled the explicit indications of collaboration within the exhibit, such as the panel at the entrance that reads "A Unique Collaboration" or the blue wall at the end that features portraits and statements from the seventeen community team members. The elements of the exhibition visitors identified with collaboration are recorded in Table 1.2. The audio-visual components with people telling personal and traditional stories and the first-person text were most often identified as evidence for collaboration. Seventeen visitors  noted the video installations, seven noted the interpretive stations, and thirteen noted the Blackfoot perspective (the 'first-person') in which the text was written. Thus, those elements of the exhibition that succeeded in communicating a Blackfoot voice to visitors were most often seen as evidence for collaboration. Table 1.2 Exhibition Elements Perceived as Evidence of Collaboration Form of Evidence Video Presentations of Personal and Cultural Stories 'First-Person' or Blackfoot Perspective of the Text Artifacts (Were 'Authentic,' on Loan from Individuals, Diverse Sample) Interpretive Stations (Stories) Inclusion of Blackfoot Language Intimate, 'Authentic', Knowledge of Culture Presented Opening Panel 'A Unique Collaboration' and/or Section with Community Members' Statements and Portraits No Evidence of Collaboration Quotations Stories (in any format) The Tipi and Animals The "Honesty" of the Text Artifact Labels Indicate Glenbow's Contribution Layout Does Not Follow European (i.e. Chronological) Concepts Visitor Recognized Community Team Member Knowledge of How to Preserve Artifacts Number of responses = 71; number of visitors interviewed = 62.  No. of Responses 17 13 8 7 4 4 4 3 2 2 2 1 1 1 1 1  The specific elements visitors' perceived as indications of collaboration impacted their sense of the partnership between Glenbow and the Blackfoot. For example, some visitors who identified the stories as a sign of collaboration equated agreeing to be filmed with Blackfoot participation. Similarly, other visitors imagined the contribution of the Blackfoot to be the donation of artifacts or information. At the other end of the spectrum, a smaller number of visitors recognized a dominant Blackfoot voice that guided and shaped the exhibition's narrative. One visitor, for example, felt that the exhibition not only presented the Blackfoot perspective in the text, but that the physical layout itself reflected the Blackfoot worldview. Four visitors characterized the information in the exhibit as "authentic" and more extensive than what is 29  available in books; thus, they speculated that the museum must have had the help of the Blackfoot to be able to include such detailed information. Expanding upon this idea, a woman from England recalled a notice in the exhibition that only limited information would be provided about sacred rites because this knowledge was protected within the Blackfoot culture. For her, this was a strong indication that the information came directlyfromthe Blackfoot (though, she clarified, not necessarily as a result of collaboration). I also asked visitors whether they would be interested in seeing the exhibition-building process within the gallery itself. Twenty-two people (35%) said they would be interested in seeing the collaborative process discussed - particularly if it was done in a "low-key" manner: visitors suggested a two minute movie clip or a small panel as good ways to present collaboration. Ironically, the vast majority of these twenty-two people missed the large sign, movie clip, and bright blue wall featuring the community team members; thus even those visitors who were interested in collaboration did not look for or did not recognize the signs the exhibition team used to communicate collaboration. Eleven visitors did not want to see the collaborative process in an exhibition: these visitors were most interested in the final product, or had a specific interest in the artifacts as opposed to the narrative. Ten visitors did not mind if the process of collaboration was included in an exhibition, though they also had no particular desire to see it either.  Putting Collaboration Aside: Visitors' Overall Interpretations of Nitsitapiisinni During the first half of the interviews, before discussing collaboration, I posed questions that sought to understand how visitors were experiencing the gallery, particularly if they were unaware of the collaborative process. My evaluation centred upon visitors' answers to the  30  following questions: "How does the information in the Blackfoot Gallery compare or match-up with your prior knowledge of the Blackfoot?", "What have you gained from your visit today?", and "What messages do you think the gallery is trying to communicate?" The responses to these questions address community team members' concerns that: a) the exhibition be seen as more accurate than non-Blackfoot productions, b) the impacts of colonialism be recognized in the past and present, and c) spirituality be recognized as essential to Blackfoot culture. Again, the interviews also reveal the breadth of impressions visitors have of the gallery, plus the range of messages they are interpreting. When I asked visitors to compare the information in Nitsitapiisinni with their prior knowledge or impressions of the Blackfoot, their replies were often less descriptive than I thought they would be. A critical reading of the gallery may have been uncommon among visitors because, as Judith Ostrowitz (1999: 81) suggests, "viewers are accustomed to equating museum displays, particularly elaborate scenes or installations, with earnest and accurate attempts at historical representation." Still, I had expected more visitors to make comparisons with "the Wild West" and western movies as did one womanfromEngland who noted that because she was able to see the "real" story (as opposed to the wild west movies and tall tales of her youth), she now respected Blackfoot attempts to maintain their culture. Only seven visitors (11%) made comparisons with film or television, usually after I suggested these media as a point of comparison. Five visitors believed the exhibition portrayed the "real" story, whereas movies and television (particularly western movies) did not. In contrast, two visitors believed the exhibition's representation of the Blackfoot was similar to what they had seen on television or in movies (they did not specify what types of programmes orfilmsthey watched). Along with television or movies, I also suggested school or books as potential points for comparison to  31  encourage visitors to expand their responses to the topic. Youth participating in the interviews frequently compared the gallery with school: they preferred the style of learning that occurred at the museum because they "could see the actual stuff," it wasn't "just in books." Two visitors found the Blackfoot voice to be so dominant in the gallery that they questioned the accuracy of the information presented. One man from Argentina and one man from Switzerland expressed interest in hearing the Euro-Canadian perspective. Each man believed "both sides of the story" needed to be told in order for visitors to understand the situation; they both felt having only the Blackfoot tell the story was just as biased as having only the colonizers tell the story. One of the men felt the gallery communicated the message that, anything coming from outside - Europe, the American Government - isn't fair. As a result, I do not know if it is completely tmthful or not... the exhibit only tells the Blackfoot side of the story - it lacks the other side. I would like to see the other side as well. I recognize it was unfair to take their land, but I don't think it was one-hundred percent the fault of the other people. He also characterized the information as misleading because it "favoured" the Blackfoot. These two cases contradict the exhibitiors' desire for the exhibition to be perceived as more accurate and tmthful. In contrast, a university student visiting from Toronto interpreted an equally strong Blackfoot perspective in the gallery. He had no desire for the Blackfoot and EuroCanadian perspectives to be juxtaposed; rather, by displaying the Blackfoot perspective on its own, Nitsitapiisinni emphasized how distinct the Blackfoot perspective wasfromthe EuroCanadian history he had been taught. During a later question, he reflected that while he believed his knowledge of Canada's First Nations to be thorough, it was only so from a Euro-Canadian perspective; his understanding of Aboriginal culture and history from a Native perspective, he reported, would be negligible. Overall, the data indicates that the exhibition is repeatedly providing information that is  32  more in-depth and more extensive than other sources. Eleven visitors (18%) characterized the information as more complex or more detailed than their prior knowledge. A woman visiting from St. Georges, Quebec, was surprised at the amount of land the Blackfoot lost over the years; she had not realized how expansive their original territory was. Her prior knowledge did not indicate that children were such a focus of Blackfoot life, nor that the Blackfoot lived in family units. Additionally, she was impressed by the breadth of skills Blackfoot women possessed. The acquisition of knowledge, in fact, was identified by a significant number of people as the primary benefit of visiting Nitsitapiisinni. In response to the question "What do you think you have gained from your visit today?" seventeen visitors (27%) replied that the general knowledge they acquired about the Blackfoot was a beneficial outcome of their visit. An additional seventeen visitors felt the acquisition of particular pieces of information about the Blackfoot was the primary gain of their visit: the effects of diseases such as small pox and influenza; the impact of treaties and the amount of land lost by the Blackfoot; that four different tribes make up "the Blackfoot"; that each tribe had its own dialect; and even that the term "First Nations" was used in Canada. Four more visitors felt their sense of local history and culture was improvedfromtheir experience in Nitsitapiisinni, while another five felt they gained a better sense of Canadian history and culture. In contrast, only five visitors identified the opportunity to "see new things" or view the artifacts as a primary gain of their visit. The full range of benefits visitors attributed to their experience in the gallery is provided in Table 1.3. As just nine visitors situated the information presented in Nitsitapiisinni within either local history or Canadian history, I further considered whether the majority of visitors were interpreting Blackfoot history as separatefromor outside of Canadian, Albertan, or regional histories. An examination of the main messages identified by visitors, however, indicated a  33  significant number of visitors were in fact interpreting a legacy of dynamic and unequal interactions between Euro-Canadians and Blackfoot tribes. During each interview, I asked people to relay what messages they thought the gallery was trying to communicate to its visitors. Three distinct categories emergedfromthe interviews as visitors' identified dominant messages that were: 1) primarily about Blackfoot culture; 2) primarily about the interactions and struggles between Blackfoot and Euro-Canadian cultures; or 3) primarily about history. Table 1.3 Perceived Gains of Visiting Nitsitapiisinni Perceived Gain Increased General Knowledge Learned Specific Knowledge Respect and/or Admiration for Blackfoot People and Culture Increased Understanding of Canadian History and Culture Able to See New Things Increased Understanding of Local or Western History Appreciation for Tools and Resourcefulness Admiration for Craftsmanship and Artistry Appreciation for Blackfoot Attempts to Preserve Their Culture Exposed to Aboriginal Population for the First Time Reinforced the Visitor's Appreciation for Blackfoot Culture Insight Into Another Perspective of the World Listening to the Stories No Gains Associated With Visit  No. of Responses 17 17 6 5 5 4 3 3 1 1 1 1 1 1  Number of responses = 66; number of visitors interviewed = 62.  The visitors who became aware of the disastrous effects of disease, the conditions under which treaties were signed, or the extreme duration of residential schooling also indicate that a portion of the public is witnessing the struggles faced by the Blackfoot and that these struggles were a result of colonial interactions (the third goal expressed by exhibition team members). This is further supported by the eighteen visitors (29%) who identified the struggles between Blackfoot and Euro-Canadians as a dominant message in the gallery (see Table 1.4). Nine of the visitors I spoke with saw the continuation of the culture from the past to the  34  present as the most important message in the gallery, while five more specifically commented that the focus of the exhibition was the efforts being made to preserve the culture today. Four people felt Nitsitapiisinni demonstrated the importance of the Blackfoot in local history or how they contributed to the contemporary social, political or cultural landscape today. A total of ten people identified a key message as the strength and abilities of the Blackfoot people and culture, plus an additional four people felt the gallery asserted the validity of Blackfoot cultural practices independent of Euro-Canadian practices. Table 1.4 Main Messages of the Exhibition as Identified by Visitors Message Primarily About As it Existed in the Past and as it is Today Blackfoot Is Connected to the Land Culture As it Existed in the Past Is Strong, Persistent, Complex Co-existence with Other Beings People Working to Rebuild and Preserve Their Culture Integral to Local History and Present Activities Life was Harder in the Past Bears Witness to Blackfoot Intelligence Is Peaceful Knew How to Teach Their Children Unfair Treatment of Blackfoot Primarily About Struggles Legitimacy of Blackfoot Independent of Western Between Cultures (Different but Equal) Blackfoot and Loss of Land and/or Culture Euro-Canadians The Arrival of Europeans Changed the Blackfoot (Both Helped and Hindered) Blackfoot Beholden to Canadian Government Cultural Differences led to Misunderstandings Uncertainty of Blackfoot Future Canadian Heritage Primarily About History Trying to Influence Visitors' Perceptions of the Past  No. of Responses 9 8 7 7 6 5 4 4 3 1 1 6 4 3 2 1 1 1 2 2  Number of responses - 77; number of visitors interviewed = 62.  Visitors' responses to this question also related to the fourth exhibition goal: the recognition of spirituality as central to Blackfoot culture. Six visitors saw ideas of co-existence as the focus of the exhibition. These visitors identified themes such as "living in harmony" with  35  the land and other peoples, or balancing the natural, cultural and spiritual realms. A family visiting Canada from Bavaria, for example, collectively answered that the main messages the gallery was trying to communicate were threefold: "working together, understanding nature and spirit, and living with nature." An additional eight visitors perceived the main message of the gallery to be that Blackfoot culture is connected to, integrated with, and respectful of the land. As the exhibition informs visitors that "[i]n order to understand who we are it is first necessary to understand the world around us," and then proceeds to explain, "how we became so closely connected to all the beings with whom we share the earth," (Blackfoot Gallery Committee 2001: 8), those visitors remarking on the bond between Blackfoot culture and the land arguably interpreted an equally strong message of Blackfoot spirituality as those describing messages of co-existence. Visitors' responses indicate the majority of visitors are obtaining (and retaining) many of the intended messages articulated by the exhibition team. However, the main messages perceived by visitors that actually contradict the intentions of the exhibition makers also warrant attention. The notion that the exhibition tells about Blackfoot culture in the past is not necessarily a misinterpretation of a particular message; indeed a substantial portion of the exhibition focuses on the past. Whether this response is a direct result of the visitor's experience in Nitsitapiisinni 17  (i.e. they did not see the present in the narrative), a reflection of a general attitude that museums display history, or a personal interest in history is not possible to say with the iriformation collected during the interviews. The woman who felt the main message was that the Blackfoot were beholden to the  The summative evaluation of Pacific Voices also produced similar results: the evaluation indicated one-third of visitors to the exhibition believed it was about the past, despite a focus on Pacific communities in Seattle and how cultures are enacted today (Kahn 2000: 71). 1  36  Canadian Government wasfromMontreal and had vivid recollections of Kanesatake. She admitted she hadn't read much of the text in the exhibit, partly because it was not in French, but largely because she already knew about Aboriginal peoplefromthe events at Kanesatake. In her opinion, Aboriginal people were reliant upon the government for hand-outs. "The Blackfoot lost the fight" she told me, whereas "the Quebecois - they love the fight! The Quebecois don't need the Canadian government." The visitor who replied the message was one of uncertainty in the future was from Germany and during the interview he reported that he did not learn anything that dayfromhis visit to the gallery. Instead, he "saw with my own eyes what I read in books back in Germany." He was referring to the Karl May adventure stories, which he qualified as his sole source of 19  information on the Blackfoot. He believed the future of the Blackfoot culture was uncertain because although they were trying to maintain their culture he believed this would be very difficult for them because it was an oral history and not a written history. Ironically, Nitsitapiisinni attempts to tackle this very problem: it acts as a place to record and centralize the words of the Elders, the stories of Blackfoot history. In summary, the visitor interviews indicate that while not every visitor is obtaining (or retaining) the wealth of primary messages in the exhibition, most visitors are interpreting at least one of the intended messages in the exhibition. The legacy of colonialism was interpreted by one-third of the visitors as the primary message in the gallery, while still another third interpreted  Disagreements over land ownership and use have persisted between Aboriginal communities and France, Britain and Canada near Oka, Quebec, for nearly three-hundred years (Dickason 2002: 326-331, Obomsawin 1993). In 1990, road blockades escalated into an armed stand-off over the proposed construction of a golf-course on the disputed land, pitting Mohawk residents of Kanasatake and nearby communities against local police and the Canadian army (see also Obomsawin 1997, and MacLaine and Baxendale 1990). May (1842-1912) wrote popular novels whose protagonists were frequently caricatures of'the noble savage,' chiefs and warriors of Plains tribes. The apparent authenticity of his work convinced many readers and scholars that he traveled to North America (May had actually been in jail). For a biography of May and overview of his works see Cracroft (1999), and for an analysis of May's work in 'spaghetti westerns' see Freyling (1981). 1 8  19  37  the continuing presence of the Blackfoot and the survival of their culture as the primary message. One-quarter of the visitors identified themes associated with spirituality as central to the gallery. Visitors' rarely connected their estimation that this was an informative, truthful, and indepth telling of Blackfoot culture, and their impression of collaboration as a tool for building better-informed exhibitions as simultaneously contributing to their museum experience. Few visitors recalled the explicit indications of collaboration within the exhibit, and many considered collaboration as an element of the exhibition only when encouraged to. Only one-sixth of the visitors recognized the Blackfoot participation in the gallery. A compelling finding, however, is that the majority of visitors did hear a Blackfoot voice within the exhibition, particularly as a result of the storytelling and the text, and that it was these aspects of Nitsitapiisinni that visitors most frequently associated with collaboration. In the discussion that follows, I consider how the inclusion of aboriginal people has been used by the tourism industry to create particular experiences. As seventy-four percent of the visitors I spoke with were tourists, I explore how visitors' experiences in the gallery were shaped both by the tourism industry and the educational mandate of the museum. Finally, I suggest research directions that would expand upon the results presented here, improving our understanding of visitor studies and the impacts of collaborative exhibitions on the public.  When Multiple Agendas Collide "Emerging" museums and collaborative exhibitions exist at the intersection of 20  numerous agendas, including museums' educational mandates, aboriginal ownership and tourism Butler (2002: 150) distinguishes between "emerging" and "established" museums in post-Apartheid South Africa. "Emerging" museums commemorate the recent past, specifically the consequences of Apartheid. In contrast, Butler finds "established" museums to be celebratory in nature, overlooking the role of Apartheid (140). I have used the term here to denote museums that challenge established histories, often by challenging established museum practices. 20  38  marketing. Furthermore, museum visitors have their own agendas: some have come to the museum to learn, some to participate in their own heritage, while some want to be entertained (others still have begrudgingly accompanied family or friends, or have come in to escape the heat or rain). Earlier, I considered how the creators of Nitisitapiisinni negotiated their particular agendas for the exhibit. Below, I consider how other institutions - both emerging and established - have responded to multiple and sometimes conflicting pressures, and investigate how visitors' agendas can impact their interpretations of exhibitions. Handler and Gable (1997: 45) explore how notions of authenticity and accuracy drive the operations at Colonial Williamsburg, a living history site "whose mission is to show the public what colonial Virginia 'was really like.'" The site's administration felt a continuous demand to present a seamless recreation of the past in order to maintain its historical integrity, noting "any time you have a break in your credibility, then everything that is credible is lost, or it's called into question" (Handler and Gable 1997: 45). Similarly, Butler (2002) examines South African post-apartheid museums to better understand how authenticity is used to reinforce educational mandates in emerging museums, all 21  the while existing in a fine balance with tourist demands for "authentic experiences."  She  considers two specific emerging museums, the District Six Museum and Robben Island Museum, as well as a host of competing tourist opportunities, including guided trips into the Cape Flats and Townships outside of Cape Town. The tour companies, she finds, "delineate themselves based on racial lines and the authority that comes with 'knowing' a particular area, circumstance, way of living." The museums are not so far removedfromthis agenda: a visit to Robben Island Butler (2002:140) is also keenly aware that "established museums" are easily integrated into the tourism economy as well because of their tendency to be celebratory and exhibit the exotic, much like the South African tourist materials that celebrate the new, progressive South Africa, and emphasize its unique cultural, geographic, and social character. 2 1  39  includes a tour with an ex-political prisoner, a visit to Nelson Mandela's cell. She questions the effects of tourism on museums proposing that "while museums traditionally demand passive reception from their visitors, tourism valourizes personal experience and the active participation of clients in its cultural productions" (Butler 2002: 201). The result is a tendency for museums to emulate tourism models that emphasize 'chance' encounters and participatory activities. "Experience," after all, is what Bruner and Kirshenblatt-Gimblett (1994: 435) classify as "the ultimate tourist commodity." The impact of tourism on the historical narrative of Colonial Williamsburg can also be seen. The site adopted a social history model in the 1970s as "a new way of telling the American story," shifting the focus away from '"great men' and elites" to stories that reflected "the works and lives of the vast majority of the American population," (Handler and Gable 1997: 4). Moreover, the model "was brought to Colonial Williamsburg at a time of declining visitation" (4, emphasis added.) Although a more popular approach was taken at Williamsburg, the site did not want to be confused with popular culture. Handler and Gable explain "one of [Colonial Williamsburg's] nightmares": [if] visitors can mistake Colonial Williamsburg for a theme park, they have not been convinced of its reality, its historical authenticity. Further, instead of seeing Colonial Williamsburg as an altruistic cultural institution whose lofty mission is public education and historic preservation, they have mistaken it for a commercial enterprise, a business that sells phony experiences to make a profit (29).  How great are the effects of tourism and tourist agendas on visitors' experiences at museums? At Williamsburg, Handler and Gable found that while the "mission statement spoke of high educational principles.. .the museum catered to an audience that was not captive, and one, moreover, that was often 'on vacation'" (1994: 5). Among the museum visitors I spoke with, seventy-four percent were tourists. Only sixteen visitors werefromthe Calgary area, six of  40  whom were accompanying out-of-town guests to the museum. Given this visitor ratio, as in Williamsburg, it is imperative to understand how collaborative exhibitions are intersecting with tourist agendas at Glenbow. Community team members' and Glenbow staff wanted visitors to read the narrative in Nitsitapiisinni as an honest telling of Blackfoot history and culture. The source of the information - seventeen cultural and spiritual Blackfoot leaders - was to reinforce the accuracy of the information for visitors. Unlike the tourism models Butler witnesses, the human encounters in Nitsitapiisinni are mediated by audio-visual technology: visitors are able to see and hear Blackfoot people speak about their experiences, but they are not afforded an opportunity to have a dialogue. Also, the end goal of the community team member is not to provide visitors' with the "experience" of being Blackfoot. The Blackfoot recorded their historic and cultural knowledge in an attempt to have visitors recognize the legitimacy of Blackfoot perspectives and how these contrast and conflict with the majority of non-Blackfoot sources. The site of the museum, however, is already recognized by tourists (or visitors in general) as a place where authentic representations of Aboriginal peoples can be found. Thus, even visitors who were unaware of the collaboration characterized the exhibition as an "honest" portrayal of history. A Romanian man visiting family in Canada who was unaware of the Blackfoot collaboration was very pleased with his visit to the Glenbow that day as it was his "first real encounter" with Native people; the greatest gain he attributed to his visit was being able to "experience a Native culture." One visitor suggested museums employed collaboration because they "want it to be an original - a Native production - rather than an academic person interpreting the knowledge." Are visitors equating the inclusion of indigenous voices in the museum with the tourist industry's  41  attempts to provide "authentic" experiences? Thus, are exhibitions with strong indigenous voices serving not as symbols of self-representation, nor as challenges to established historical narratives, but rather as opportunities for visitors to "experience" (or at least imagine) the culture and history of a group? The challenge, then, is not getting visitors to perceive Nitsitapiisinni as accurate, but rather to encourage visitors to question the accuracy of other museum exhibitions and representations of Blackfoot culture. Community team members' desires to be seen as the authors of the exhibition reflect a broader challenge to reconsider ways of knowing and, more specifically, the criteria used to distinguish "experts." The visitor interviews emphasized, however, how seldom visitors thought critically about the nature of the information being presented. They also indicated the general public is not attuned to collaboration, the shift in museum practice this entails, or the implications it has for indigenous communities (i.e. gaining control of how they are represented to the public). For most visitors, the appeal of authenticity and the benefit of museums using collaboration is a more rewarding experience for themselves; as theyfrequentlypointed out, the museum could make exhibitions that are more interesting, more personal, and more knowledgeable if they used collaboration. The audience community team members targeted, however, does not necessarily envision the museum as a place that accurately represents Aboriginal peoples. In order to make Blackfoot visitors feel comfortable in Nitsitapiisinni, the exhibitors were keen to communicate the message of collaboration so that Blackfoot visitors would see this particular museum exhibition as accurate and representative. From this perspective, the presentation of Blackfoot individuals within the gallery was not used to enable visitors to experience the 'other'; but rather as a means of grounding notions of self and a collective history. The trouble is, communicating self-  42  representation and aboriginal authorship, and creating cultural-tourism experiences have all taken on the same outward appearance: that of indigenous people speaking of their own experiences. Yet, whereas the former seeks to subvert preconceived ideas of who indigenous peoples are, the latter often capitalizes on those very same preconceptions. None of the visitors who identified themselves as Aboriginal during the interviews further identified themselves as Blackfoot. The next step in understanding visitor responses to Nitsitapiisinni and collaboration is to understand how Blackfoot visitors - and particularly Blackfoot youth - are interacting with the space. Community team members had hoped Blackfoot youth would use the exhibition as a means of connecting with spiritual and cultural leaders in their own communities, thus expanding the youth's own knowledge and participation in their culture. Are these exhibition goals being met? Or, like many of the non-Aboriginal visitors, would Blackfoot youth become tourists of Blackfoot culture while in the gallery? Additional research would help to unravel how visitors' own agendas intersect with the multiple messages, such as tourism marketing, the politics of self-representation, and educational mandates, that are both within and surrounding emerging museums and collaborative exhibitions. Such research would build upon the recommendations of Falk and Dierking (2000: 7), who propose that museum learning is guided by "prior knowledge, interest and the museum experience, as well as the unpredictable but important role of subsequent experiences." Initially, my methodological approach called for follow-up interviews with a selection of the participants to investigate how their reactions to Nitsitapiisinni may change over time. Logistical constraints such as time, resources, and geographic distance, prevented any follow-up studies with visitors. However, the visitor interviews conducted at Nitsitapiisinni strongly support Falk and Dierking's conclusion that interactions with exhibitions are highly personalized, based on prior experiences  43  and personal interests. The examples given above of the woman with strong recollections of Kanesatake and the man with a fondness for Karl May are representative of the personal associations made during the interviews. Other examples include a man who had been to the Royal British Columbia Museum in Victoria, British Columbia, and expected to see totem poles in this exhibition as well; a woman from Saskatoon who felt the breadth of information in Nitsitapiisinni surpassed her home-town museum; a Cree woman who preferred the provincial museum exhibitions because of the greater attention given to Cree culture; a woman who recalled artifacts in her brother's own collection; and a visitor originally from Argentina who recalled the struggles between indigenous peoples and governments in South America. Similarly, investigations by Anderson (2003) suggest visitors' long-term memory of exhibitions is "overwhelmingly dominated and mediated by the culture and the identity of the individual.. .at the time of their visit." The follow-up research I have proposed would serve to expand our understanding of how personal experiences and visitors' social identities (i.e. parent, adolescent, member of a group, tourist) interact with the content of exhibitions.  Conclusion Elaine Heumann Gurian suggested that "[wjhile visitors expect to see the authors of works of art, music and fiction identified, they are not used to perceiving exhibitions as the personal work of identifiable individuals," (1991: 187). She was not writing of community collaboration specifically, but rather how curators in general can make their exhibitions more engaging for the public. The community team members I spoke with expressed a similar desire for visitors to see the exhibition as the result of the efforts of Blackfoot cultural and spiritual leaders, though this was not the only goal. Much like the Task Force's recommendation that collaborative exhibition techniques be used to alter the public's perceptions of Aboriginal  44  peoples, community team members wanted Nitsitapiisinni to present a more accurate and realistic account of Blackfoot history and culture. In turn, this necessitated the collaborative process be understood: community team members believed the story's origins - coming from the ancestors, the communities, the people "living" the story - gave it authority. The results of the interviews I conducted with visitors to Nitsitapiisinni reveal that museum visitors may still be unprepared to see exhibitions as the result of individuals' efforts, despite concerted attempts to showcase the Blackfoot collaborators. Yet, my results also indicate that visitors were attuned to those elements of the exhibition that feature a Blackfoot voice (i.e. the "first-person" text) and, even more so, particular individuals' stories (i.e. the video installations and interpretive stations). The interviews also suggest strong correlations between voice and collaboration, between who is speaking and who has control of the words. Despite this, the majority of visitors perceived museum staff - or more generally "the museum" - to be largely responsible for the exhibition, perhaps receiving assistancefromBlackfoot people in order to make the audio-visual segments or to discuss more private aspects of the culture. If, visitors are not accustomed to thinking critically about who is creating exhibitions in the first place, they are unlikely to consider the processes of exhibition building or the implications of collaboration. Nitsitapiisinni was still successful in communicating the legacy of colonialism on Blackfoot culture and how spirituality shapes Blackfoot beliefs and actions. It was less successful in communicating the directorial nature of the Blackfoot community team members. The result is that visitors are learning about struggles over land, the impacts of disease and residential schooling, community attempts to improve health and education, but these messages are infrequently contextualized as statements of self-representation or self-determination.  45  The place of self-representation and self-determination in the museum has been developing in the minds of museum professionals, scholars and indigenous communities for years now. The testimonies from community team members assert that self-representation and self-determination are more than concepts to be thought about intellectually; Nitsitapiisinni activates these concepts by inviting the Blackfoot to record their history to teach their own youth, to improve relations between Blackfoot and non-Blackfoot, and to emphasize their right to live as a distinct culture. Conaty (2003: 240) has also expressed a hope that the gallery can initiate action by serving as a forum where the policies and practices of assimilation can be debated and juxtaposed against models of co-existence in Canadian society. The inclusion of social history models in museums has broadened our ideals of who is important in history, giving voice to segments of the population that were previously muted (or at least more difficult to hear). Collaboration takes social history one step further, renegotiating who the interpreters and authors of history and culture may be. The largest challenge facing museums and indigenous communities may be retaining collaboration as a fundamental aspect of public education - as a means of challenging stereotypes - as opposed to an entertainment and tourist attraction that often reinforces such stereotypes.  46  References Ames, Michael M. 1999. "How to Decorate a House: the Re-negotiation of Cultural Representations at the University of British Columbia Museum of Anthropology." Museum Anthropology 22(3):41-51.  Anderson, David. 2003. "Visitors' Long-Term Memory World Expositions." Curator 46(4): 400-421. Assembly of First Nations and Canadian Museums Association. 1994 [1992]. Turning the Page: Forging New Partnerships Between Museums and First Peoples, 3 edition. Ottawa: rd  Assembly of First Nations and Canadian Museums Association. Binks, G. and D. Uzzell. 1999. "Monitoring and evaluation: the techniques." The Educational Role of the Museum. Eilean Hooper-Greenhill, ed., pp. 298-301. New York: Routledge, Black, Martha. 1999. HuupufCanum Tupaat: out of the mist: treasures of the Nuu-chah-nulth  Chiefs. Vancouver: UBC Press. . 2001. "Out of the Mist: HuupuK anum Tupaat: treasures of the Nuu-chah-nulth Chiefs." American Indian Art Magazine Spring, pp. 44-94. Blackfoot Gallery Committee. 2001. Nitsitapiisinni: the story of the Blackfoot People. Toronto: Key Porter Books. Bruner, Edward M. and Barbara Kishenblatt-Gimblett. 1994. "Maasai on the Lawn: Tourist Realism in East Africa." Cultural Anthropology 9(4):435-470. w  Butler, Shelley Ruth. 2002. Post-Colonial Challenges: Reinventing Museums in Post-Apartheid  Cape Town. North York: Ph.D. Dissertation, York University. Calf Robe, Ben. 1979. Siksika: a Blackfoot Legacy. Invermere, British Columbia: Good Medicine Books. Clavir, Miriam. 1994. "Preserving Conceptual Integrity: Ethics and Theory in Preventive Conservation." Preventive Conservation Practice, Theory and Research. Ashok Roy and  Perry Smith, eds., pp.53-57. London: International Institute for Conservation of Historic and Artistic Works. Clifford, James. 1988. The Predicament of Culture: twentieth-century ethnography, literature,  and art. Cambridge: Harvard University Press. Conaty, Gerald T. 2003. "Glenbow's Blackfoot Gallery: working towards co-existence." Museums and Source Communities: a Routledge Reader. Laura Peers and Alison K.  Brown, eds., pp. 227-241. New York: Routledge. Conaty, Gerald T. and Robert R. Janes. 1997. "Issues of Repatriation: A Canadian View." European Review of Native American Studies 11(2):31-37.  Cracroft, Richard H. 1999. Foreword. Winnetou (translated and abridged by David Koblick), pp. xiii-xxii. Pullman: Washington State University Press. Dempsey, Hugh A. 1972. Crowfoot: chief of the blackfeet. Edmonton: Hurtig. . 1978. Charcoal's World. Saskatoon: Western Producer Prairie Books. . 1980. Red Crow, Warrior Chief. Saskatoon: Western Producer Prairie Books. . 1994. The Amazing Death of Calf Shirt and other Blackfoot stories: three  hundred years of Blackfoot history. Saskatoon: Fifth House Publishers. . 2002. Firewater: the impact of the whiskey trade on the Blackfoot nation.  Calgary: Fifth House. Dickason, Olive. 2002. Canada's First Nations, 3 edition. Toronto: Oxford University Press. rd  47  Doxtator, Deborah. 1996. "The Implications of Canadian Nationalism for Aboriginal Cultural Autonomy." Curatorship: Indigenous Perspective in Post-Colonial Societies. Ottawa: Canadian Museum of Civilization. Drumheller and Kaminitz. 1994. "Traditional Care and Conservation, the Merging of Two Disciplines at the National Museum of the American Indian." Preventive Conservation Practice, Theory and Research. Ashok Roy and Perry Smith, eds., pp.58-60. London: International Institute for Conservation of Historic and Artistic Works. Dunstan, Carol. 1999. "Fostering Symbiosis: A Collaborative Exhibit at the California State University Sacramento Museum of Anthropology." Museum Anthropology 22(3):52-58. Falk, John H. and Lynn D. Dierking. 2000. LearningfromMuseums: Visitor Experiences and the Making of Museums. New York: Altimira Press. Freyling, Christopher. 1981. Spaghetti Westerns: Cowboys and EuropeansfromKarl May to Sergio Leone. Boston: Routledge and Kegan Paul. Handler, Richard and Eric Gable. 1997. The New History in an Old Museum. Durham: Duke University Press. Hanna, Margaret G. 1999. "A Time to Choose: 'Us' Versus 'Them,' or 'All of Us Together.'" Plains Anthropologist Memoir 31, 44(170):43-52. Harrison, Julia D. 1993a. "Ideas of Museums in the 1990s." Museums Management and Curatorship 13:160-176. . 1993b. "Completing a Circle: The Spirit Sings." Anthropology, Public Policy and Native Peoples in Canada. Noel Dyck and James Waldram, eds., pp. 334-357. Montreal: McGill-Queen's University Press. Harrison, Julia D., Bruce Trigger and Michael Ames. 1988. "Museums and Politics: The Spirit Sings and the Lubicon Boycott." Muse VI(3):12-16. Heumann Gurian, Elaine. 1991. "Noodling Around with Exhibition Opportunities." Exhibiting Cultures: the Poetics and Politics ofMuseum Display. Ivan Karp and Steven D. Lavine, eds., pp. 176-190. Washington: Smithsonian Institutions Press. Holm, Margaret and David Pokotylo. 1997. "From Policy to Practice: A Case Study in Collaborative Exhibits with First Nations." Canadian Journal ofArchaeology 21:33-43. Hooper-Greenhill, Eilean. 1994. Museums and their Visitors. Routledge: New York. Janes, Robert R. 1994. "Personal, Academic and Institutional Perspectives on Museums and First Nations." Canadian Journal of Native Studies 14(1): 147-156. Johnson, Elizabeth Lominska and Kathryn Bernick. 1986. Hands of our ancestors: the revival of Salish weaving at Musqueam. Vancouver: University of British Columbia Museum of Anthropology. Kahn, Miriam. 2000. "Not Really Pacific Voices: Politics of Representation in Collaborative Museum Exhibits." Museum Anthropology 24(l):57-74. Kidd, Kenneth E. 1986. [1937]. Blackfoot Ethnography. Archaeological Survey of Alberta Manuscript Series, No. 8. Alberta Culture Historical Resources Division. Korn, Randi. 1989. "Introduction to Evaluation: Theory and Methodology." Museum Education: History, Theory and Practice. Nancy Berry and Susan Mayer, eds., Reston: The National Art Education Association. Loomis, Ross. 1987. Museum visitor evaluation: new tool for management. Nashville: American Association for State and Local History. MacLaine, Craig and Michael Baxendale. 1990. This Land is Our Land. Montreal: Optimum Publishing International, Inc.  48  Merrill, William L., Edmund J. Ladd, and T.J. Ferguson. 1993. "The Return of iheAhayu.da." Current Anthropology 34(5):523-567. Nicks, Trudy. 2003. "Introduction: Museums and contact work." Museums and Source Communities: a Routledge Reader. Laura Peers and Alison K. Brown, eds., pp. 19-27. New York: Routledge. Obomsawin, Alanis. 1993. Kanehsatake: 270 Years of Resistance. Montreal: National Film Board. , 1997. Spudwrench: Kahnawake Man. Montreal: National Film Board. Ostrowitz, Judith. 1999. Privileging the Past: Reconstructing History in Northwest Coast art. Vancouver: UBC Press. Peers, Laura and Alison K. Brown. 2003. "Introduction." Museums and Source Communities: a Routledge Reader, Laura Peers and Alison K. Brown, eds., pp. 1-16. New York: Routledge. Phillips, Ruth B. 2003. "Introduction: Community collaboration in exhibitions: towards a dialogic paradigm." Museums and Source Communities: a Routledge Reader. Laura Peers and Alison K. Brown, eds., pp. 155-170. New York: Routledge. Phillips, Ruth B. and Elizabeth Johnson. 2003. "Negotiating New Relationships: Canadian Museums, First Nations, and Cultural Property." Politics and the Past: On Repairing Historical Injustices. John Torpey, ed., pp. 149-167. Boulder: Rowman and Littlefield Publishers, Inc. Rosoff, Nancy B. "Integrating Native Views into Museum Procedures." Museums and Source Communities: a Routledge Reader. Laura Peers and Alison K. Brown, eds., pp.12-19. New York: Routledge. Samek, Hana. 1987. The Blackfoot Confederacy 1880-1920: a comparative study of Canadian and U.S. Indian Policy. Albuquerque: University of New Mexico Press. Screven, C.G. 1976. "Exhibit Evaluation - A Goal-Referenced Approach." Curator 19(4):271-290. Shelton, Anthony. 2003. "Curating African Worlds." Museums and Source Communities: a Routledge Reader. Laura Peers and Alison K. Brown, eds., pp. 181-193. New York: Routledge. Spencer, Liz, Jane Ritchie and William O'Connor. 2003. "Analysis: Practices, Principles and Processes." Qualitative Research Practice. Jane Ritchie and Jane Lewis, eds., pp. 199218. London: Sage. St. John, Mark and Deborah Perry. 1993. "A Framework for Evaluation and Research: Science, Infrastructure and Relationships." Museum Visitor Studies in the 90s. Sandra Bicknell and Graham Farmelo, eds., pp. 59-66. London: Science Museum. Thomas, David Hurst, ed. 1986. A Blackfoot Source Book: papers by Clark Wissler. New York: Garland and Publishing, Inc. Vitebsky, Piers. 1995. "From Cosmology to environmentalism: shamanism as local knowledge in a global setting." Counterworks: Managing the Diversity ofKnowledge. Richard Fardon, ed., pp. 182-203. London: Routledge.  49  Appendix A: Visitor Interview Form Interview #: Interviewer: Tape Recorded: Yes •  No •  Length of time in Gallery:  Date: Tape #:  Side:  Time: Case Potential: Length of time in Glenbow:  Internal Thoughts/Opinions: 1. Did you know about the Blackfoot Gallery before coming to Glenbow?  2. What are your (critical) impressions of the Gallery (both good and bad)?  What did you gain from your experience(s)?: 3. What do you think you've gained from visiting the Blackfoot Gallery (knowledge, attitudes, value, interest, etc.)?  4. What messages do you think the gallery is trying to communicate?  5. How does the information in this gallery match-up with your prior knowledge or impressions of the Blackfoot and First Nations in Canada?  Deeper Themes: 6. Have you heard the term "Collaboration" before in the museum context? (what does it mean to you?) 7. What evidence did you see in the exhibit about how it was created?  8. Why do you think museums might use collaboration to create exhibits?  9. If you had a choice to visit an exhibit like this one or one that included more about collaboration, would it make a difference for you?  Closing: 10. Where are you from? 11. Why did you come to Glenbow today? Do you visit museums often? 12. On a scale of 1 to 10, how knowledgeable would you consider yourself about Canada's First Nations? (1 being no knowledge, 10 being extensive)  50  


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