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UBC Theses and Dissertations

Tracing change in Northwest Coast exhibit and collection catalogues, 1949-1998 Goudie, Tanya

Abstract

This thesis explores changing perceptions, theory, structure and policy within art exhibit and collection catalogues of First Peoples' objects from the Pacific Northwest Coast. This work looks at emerging viewpoints on material culture and its display over forty years as they present themselves in catalogue entries, textual content and labeling of Native groups and individuals. Early concepts based on salvage anthropology such as Native cultural demise and the degeneration of remaining people weakened as scholarship changed from a predominantly anthropological understanding of the objects to an aesthetic understanding based in art history. Political actions by Native groups have demanded policy changes within Canadian museum structure that includes the Native voice in curatorial decisions and textual discussions on both old and new objects. These very policy changes bring with them increased responsibility for the museum as well as new challenges of representation of the objects and their makers. The theme explored in this thesis is the changing role and responsibility of academia in the representation of the Other.

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