Unsettling Native Art Histories on the Northwest Coast
- PUBLISHED: July 2020
- SUBJECT LISTING: Native American and Indigenous Studies, Art History / Native American and Indigenous Art, Pacific Northwest / Art and Culture
- BIBLIOGRAPHIC INFORMATION: 344 Pages, 7 x 10 in, 121 color illus.
- SERIES: Native Art of the Pacific Northwest: A Bill Holm Center Series
- ISBN: 9780295747132
Inseparable from its communities, Northwest Coast art functions aesthetically and performatively beyond the scope of non-Indigenous scholarship, from demonstrating kinship connections to manifesting spiritual power. Contributors to this volume foreground Indigenous understandings in recognition of this rich context and its historical erasure within the discipline of art history.
By centering voices that uphold Indigenous priorities, integrating the expertise of Indigenous knowledge holders about their artistic heritage, and questioning current institutional practices, these new essays “unsettle” Northwest Coast art studies. Key themes include discussions of cultural heritage protections and Native sovereignty; re-centering women and their critical role in transmitting cultural knowledge; reflecting on decolonization work in museums; and examining how artworks function as living documents. The volume exemplifies respectful and relational engagement with Indigenous art and advocates for more accountable scholarship and practices.
Authors & Contributors
Kathryn Bunn-Marcuse is director of the Bill Holm Center for the Study of Northwest Native Art, curator of northwest Native art at the Burke Museum, assistant professor of art history at the University of Washington, and coeditor of In the Spirit of the Ancestors: Contemporary Northwest Coast Art at the Burke Museum. Aldona Jonaitis is former director of the University of Alaska Museum of the North, professor of anthropology at the University of Alaska Fairbanks, and author of Art of the Northwest Coast andThe Yuquot Whalers’ Shrine. The other contributors are Karen Benbassat Ali, Janet Catherine Berlo, Iljuuwaas Tyson Brown (Haida Nation), Jisgang Nika Collison (Haida Nation), Karen Duffek, Sharon Fortney (Klahoose), Christopher Green, Denise Nicole Green, Ishmael Hope (Inupiaq and Tlingit), Lily Hope (Tlingit), Kaitlin McCormick, Emily L. Moore, Peter Morin (Tahltan Nation), Lou-ann Ika’wega Neel (Kwakwa̱ka̱’wakw), Duane Niatum (Jamestown S’Klallam), Megan A. Smetzer, Robert Starbard (Xunaa Tlingit), Evelyn Vanderhoop (Haida Nation), and Lucy Fowler Williams.
The volume exemplifies respectful and relational engagement with Indigenous art and advocates for more accountable scholarship and practices.- New Books Network
The many stories and essays in Unsettling Native Art Histories provided me with valuable new teachings and perspectives. I recommend it highly to people of diverse interests in the fields of art, anthropology, history, ethnology, and contemporary Indigenous issues.- The Ormsby Review
[A]n enjoyable source to learn about emerging research and writers in its field... For humanities scholars attuned to material culture, museum practitioners, and Indigenous art enthusiasts more broadly, the book is generous in ideas and exemplars to better understand ancestral and current arts holistically and to set new directions for engagement at museums and galleries.- Journal of Folklore Research
Unsettling Native Art Histories on the Northwest Coast is a definitive collection of writings that bring a conscious narrative of the past, present and future of Indigenous art. This collection of essays illustrates the thriving cultures that unsettle, entertain, inform, and challenge how art and culture from this diverse region are viewed and understood.- Sonny Assu, Interdisciplinary artist, Ligwiłda’xw of the Kwakwaka'wakw nations
Unsettling Native Art Histories on the Northwest Coast models best practices for Indigenous art studies—and for Indigenous studies broadly. Together, accomplished Native and non-Native curators, scholars, and artist-intellectuals innovate methodological approaches while confronting ongoing legacies of settler colonialisms and academic appropriations. As a bonus, the book is beautifully designed and illustrated.- Chadwick Allen, author of Trans-Indigenous: Methodologies for Global Native Literary Studies
An example for scholars, in this and related fields, of the kinds of insight and exchange that can emerge when a diversity of voices and different frames of reference are juxtaposed.- Charlotte Townsend-Gault, coeditor of Native Art of the Northwest Coast: A History of Changing Ideas
A welcome addition to Northwest Coast art historical scholarship.- Alan Hoover, author of Southern Northwest Coast Indigenous Canoe Racing: A Brief History