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We Are Coming Home: Repatriation and the Restoration of Blackfoot Cultural Confidence

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ISBN: 9781771990172 9781771990189 9781771990196 9781771990202 Year: DOI: 10.15215/aupress/9781771990172.01 Language: English
Publisher: Athabasca University Press
Subject: Social Sciences
Added to DOAB on : 2016-08-09 22:57:52
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In 1990, Gerald Conaty was hired as senior curator of ethnology at the Glenbow Museum, with the particular mandate of improving the museum’s relationship with Aboriginal communities. That same year, the Glenbow had taken its first tentative steps toward repatriation by returning sacred objects to First Nations’ peoples. These efforts drew harsh criticism from members of the provincial government. Was it not the museum’s primary legal, ethical, and fiduciary responsibility to ensure the physical preservation of its collections? Would the return of a sacred bundle to ceremonial use not alter and diminish its historical worth and its value to the larger society? Undaunted by such criticism, Conaty oversaw the return of more than fifty medicine bundles to Blackfoot and Cree communities between the years of 1990 and 2000, at which time the First Nations Sacred Ceremonial Objects Repatriation Act (FNSCORA)—still the only repatriation legislation in Canada—was passed. “Repatriation,” he wrote, “is a vital component in the creation of an equitable, diverse, and respectful society.”We Are Coming Home is the story of the highly complex process of repatriation as described by those intimately involved in the work, notably the Piikani, Siksika, and Kainai elders who provided essential oversight and guidance. We also hear from the Glenbow Museum’s president and CEO at the time and from an archaeologist then employed at the Provincial Museum of Alberta who provides an insider’s view of the drafting of FNSCORA. These accounts are framed by Conaty’s reflections on the impact of museums on First Nations, on the history and culture of the Niitsitapi, or Blackfoot, and on the path forward. With Conaty’s passing in August of 2013, this book is also a tribute to his enduring relationships with the Blackfoot, to his rich and exemplary career, and to his commitment to innovation and mindful museum practice.
“…deeply informative and readable…. An absence of Canadian texts in the museum field and in cultural communication leaves open the mistaken idea that we are mere ciphers for practices from abroad. By making an important Alberta story available in this fascinating and important volume, AU Press has performed an essential cultural service for all Canadians.” —Literary Review of Canada

The Teacher and the Superintendent: Native Schooling in the Alaskan Interior, 1904-1918

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Book Series: Our Lives: Diary, Memoir, and Letters ISSN: 19216661 ISBN: 9781927356500 9781927356517 9781927356524 9781927356982 Year: Pages: 440 DOI: 10.15215/aupress/9781927356500.01 Language: English
Publisher: Athabasca University Press
Subject: Education
Added to DOAB on : 2016-08-10 20:09:15
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From its inception in 1885, the Alaska School Service was charged with the assimilation of Alaskan Native children into mainstream American values and ways of life. Working in the missions and schools along the Yukon River were George E. Boulter and Alice Green, his future wife. Boulter, a Londoner originally drawn to the Klondike, had begun teaching in 1905 and by 1910 had been promoted to superintendent of schools for the Upper Yukon District. In 1907, Green left a comfortable family life in New Orleans to answer the “call to serve” in the Episcopal mission boarding schools for Native children at Anvik and Nenana, where she occupied the position of government teacher. As school superintendent, Boulter wrote frequently to his superiors in Seattle and Washington, DC, to discuss numerous administrative matters and to report on problems and conditions overall.From 1906 to 1918, Green kept a personal journal—hitherto in private possession—in which she reflected on her professional duties and her domestic life in Alaska. Collected in The Teacher and the Superintendent are Boulter’s letters and Green’s diary. Together, their vivid, first- hand impressions bespeak the earnest but paternalistic beliefs of those who lived and worked in immensely isolated regions, seeking to bring Christianity and “civilized” values to the Native children in their care. Beyond shedding private light on the missionary spirit, however, Boulter and Green have also left us an invaluable account of the daily conflicts that occurred between church and government and of the many injustices suffered by the Native population in the face of the misguided efforts of both institutions.

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