Unsettling Native Art Histories on the Northwest Coast
- PUBLISHED: August 2022
- 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: 9780295750705
- Publisher: University of Washington Press
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.
Introduction Kathryn Bunn-Marcuse PART I. Cultural Heritage Protection: Questions of Rights and Authority A Bear in the Cedar, by Duane Niatum Chapter 1. The Seward Shame Pole: A Tlingit Countermonument to the Alaska Purchase Emily L. Moore Chapter 2. The Social Life of Stones: Haida hlg̱as7agaa/argillite and the Making of Inalienable Commodities Kaitlin McCormick Chapter 3. Morse Code for Creation: Jim Schoppert's Painterly Language for a Postmodern Revival Christopher Green Chapter 4. From "Artifakes" to "Surrogates": The Replication of Northwest Coast Carving by Non-Natives Janet Catherine Berlo and Aldona Jonaitis PART II. Women's Work: Stories, Art, and Power One Square Inch, by Lily Hope Chapter 5. Stl'inll ~ Those with Clever Hands: Presenting Female Indigenous Art and Scholarship Jisgang Nika Collison Chapter 6. Copper Seaweed and Woven Octopus Bags: Shgen George and the Art of Resilience Megan A. Smetzer Chapter 7. Ellen Neel and Carving on the Coast: Three Decades of Change and Renewal Lou-ann Ika'wega Neel PART III. Changing Museums Let Indigenous Reign, by Ishmael Hope Chapter 8. In the Spirit of Reconciliation: Rethinking Collections and the Act of Engagement at the Museum of Vancouver Sharon Fortney Chapter 9. The Museum Disappeared: Northwest Coast Art and the Object of Display Karen Duffek, Peter Morin, and Karen Benbassat Ali Chapter 10. From Behind-the-Scenes to the Front of the House: Here & Now: Native Artists Inspired at the Burke Museum Kathryn Bunn-Marcuse Chapter 11. Woosh.Jee.Een, Pulling Together: Repatriation's Healing Tide Lucy Fowler Williams, with contributions by Robert Starbard PART IV. Beyond Art Thoughts on Formline, by Iljuuwaas Tyson Brown Chapter 12. Soft Robes of Thundering Power: Mountain Goat Fiber Textiles of the Northwest Coast Evelyn Vanderhoop Chapter 13. Sayach'apis and the Naani (Grizzly Bear) Crest Denise Nicole Green Chapter 14. Tlingit Art Ishmael Hope Conclusion. Fifty Years Studying Northwest Coast Art: A Personal View Aldona Jonaitis Contributors Index
"The volume exemplifies respectful and relational engagement with Indigenous art and advocates for more accountable scholarship and practices."-
"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."-
"[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."-
"Exemplifying the Indigenous methodologies of respect, reciprocity, and relationality, this book is a model for art historians, curators, and other scholars who want to develop more ethical relationships with the communities whose belongings they store, care for, and study, and is highly recommended for anyone who wants to learn from stories of Indigenous lives enriched by renewed relationships with their ancestral belongings."-
"[A] valuable contribution to the growing body of scholarship working to center Indigenous voices in Northwest Coast art studies... This volume will certainly become a classic and is an excellent learning tool and essential library addition for anyone interested in Indigenous studies, museum practice, or Northwest Coast art history."-
"Given that the apprehension of Northwest Coast Native art is an ever-evolving process, these essays provide readers with an urgently required snapshot of dynamiccontemporary strategies."-
"Unsettling Native Art Histories on the Northwest Coast questions the very notion of art and problematizes colonial approaches to Indigenous art. Editors Bunn-Marcuse and Jonaitis are particularly interested in how overturning Western ideals can unsettle colonial museum practices."-
"An incredible volume of Northwest Coast scholarship, art-historical analysis, Indigenous knowledge, and a confluence of literary power linked together through intergenerational visioning, Unsettling Native Art Histories on the Northwest Coast signals a change in how Indigenous art is contextualized both academically and institutionally."-
"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