UBC Theses and Dissertations

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UBC Theses and Dissertations

Mapping Kaay Llnagaay : Indigenous cultural visuality in Haida Gwaii, B.C. Smith, Margaret


This thesis maps out the wide range of knowledge and practices that form the field of Haida cultural visuality. Writing from an Indigenous space, which is interdisciplinary and relational, this thesis shows that culture encapsulates the relationships, responsibilities, practices and values made manifest through the actions and materialism of a people. Indigenous culture is a living experience that is informed by a wide range of relations including the use of tools and mediums of Western institutions. This thesis aims to illuminate the inalienable relationships between the past practices of Western anthropological institutions and the current movements within Indigenous owned and operated cultural centres, with a specific emphasis on research conducted at the Haida Heritage Centre at Kaay Llnagaay, in Haida Gwaii, B.C. Canada. Through the lens of cultural pedagogy, I illustrate how the Haida Nation is using education and representation as a tool to heal from cultural genocide. Within this context, I examine a wide range of international discourse and map out how, using a range of responses, the Haida have formed this emerging terrain. How have Indigenous people, caught between a European cultural system and their own traditional knowledge bases responded to appropriation, representation and pedagogy? How have they resisted and how do they continue to resist colonial cultural oppression? What are the cultural values and responsibilities that motivate Indigenous people to build their own cultural centres? How do they use these centres as pedagogical sites towards cultural regeneration? How do these sites further agendas of self-representation, cultural protection and self-representation? This thesis will show how the Skidegate Haida community has responded creatively to these issues and has created a pedagogy that continues to reiterate their relationships, protect and construct knowledge and is active within the Haida Heritage Centre at Kaay Llnagaay.

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