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UBC Theses and Dissertations

Landed wisdoms : collaborating on museum education programmes with the Haida Gwaii Museum at Kaay Llnagaay Baird, Jill Rachel


This dissertation is an adaptive case study/autoethnography used to examine the collaborative development of educational programming at the Haida Gwaii Museum at Kaay Llnagaay, in Skidegate, Haida Gwaii. The collaboration involves First Nations and non-First Nations working in a First Nations community museum context and seeks to learn ways to develop museum education programming that reflects Haida ways of knowing and to transfer this learning to non-First Nations museums. The study is grounded in the intersecting theories of Indigenous knowledge systems, postcolonialism and feminist poststructuralism, and critical and collaborative museologies. The research process involved a mix of methods including personal journaling, photo-documentation, participant interviews and observations. Fieldwork was undertaken over a sixteen month period. Kirkness and Barnhardt’s (1991) 4Rs were used to critically examine the collaborative process. The themes of relationship, and place and land were added to responsibility, reciprocity, relevance and respect. The results demonstrated that reciprocity and relevance were processes of give and take between colleagues, where the needs of all participants to see value in the process and be proud of the outcomes were recognized as critical for success. A major finding is that respectful relationships between First Nation and non-First Nations are needed for positive and productive collaborations and essential if the work undertaken is to foreground Indigenous knowledge in ways not normally incorporated into main-stream museum education programming. This study shows that through committed relationship building, spending time getting to know the people and the place, museum colleagues can contribute to a post-colonial museum practice, one argued here as a liminal museology. This means adapting established educational practices, listening and waiting for relevant local options to emerge.

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