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UBC Theses and Dissertations

Native Indian cultural centres : a planning analysis Koulas, Heather Marshall


Native Indian Cultural Centres have grown out of the on-going struggle for native self-determination and are rapidly becoming a focus for native cultural revitalization. This thesis investigates the evolution of two Northwest Coast native Indian cultural centres--the 'Ksan Village and the Makah Cultural and Research Centre (MCRC)—through each stage of development, outlining the historical, cultural, economic and social context, the form and function of conceptual development and the planned and unplanned processes involved in building and operating each centre. Analysis has indicated that 'Ksan and the MCRC have evolved as a response to local cultural and economic pressures and opportunities and have been funded primarily on the basis of economic rather than cultural viability. Six factors were found to be collectively sufficient to promote the successful development of each cultural centre: local cultural knowledge, social mobilization, local project relevance, native Indian control, access to resources and common motivational ground. The relationship between native Indians and non-native specialists is changing. Native people are no longer allowing non-native specialists to define their culture and interpret their heritage and 'Ksan and the MCRC have positively re-inforced that change. The development of native Indian cultural centres has provided an important step in the on-going native struggle for self-determination by providing a focus and/or forum for native cultural identity and is likely to continue in the future.

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