Switchbacks
PDF
Release Date:01 Jan 2007
ISBN:9780774855259
Paperback
Release Date:01 Jan 2007
ISBN:9780774812283
Hardcover
Release Date:07 Mar 2006
ISBN:9780774812276
GO TO CART SAMPLE CHAPTER

Switchbacks

Art, Ownership, and Nuxalk National Identity

UBC Press

Switchbacks explores how the Nuxalk of Bella Coola, British Columbia, negotiate such complex questions as: Who owns culture? How should culture be transmitted to future generations? Where does selling and buying Nuxalk art fit into attempts to regain control of heritage?

To answer these questions, Jennifer Kramer undertook participant observation at Nuxalk artists’ studios, in the Nuxalk-run band school’s cultural education classes, and during the everyday activities of Nuxalk in their homes. She charts the fluid character of tangible material culture (such as masks and other regalia) and intangible material culture (such as songs and dances) as they moved in and out of the cultural education curriculum, the Western art market, and the Western legal system. In addition, Kramer analyzes the ambivalent reactions of the Nuxalk to ownership, appropriation, and repatriation of Nuxalk culture. The Nuxalk oscillate between essential stances, a process Kramer likens to "switchbacks" on a mountain road. Through these recurrent movements they create, recreate, and validate contemporary Nuxalk identity.

Kramer demonstrates that loss of cultural objects proves that Nuxalk culture is valuable through external affirmation. In this way, the Nuxalk use their cultural patrimony to assert their collective national identity. At stake are not only definitions of alienable and inalienable property but also a unified national identity that affords the Nuxalk a strong position from whence to reclaim traditional territory and regain self-determination in British Columbia.

Switchbacks will appeal to scholars and students interested in questions of cultural ownership and identity in general, and in Nuxalk culture in particular.

Jennifer Kramer holds a joint position at the University of British Columbia as Curator of Northwest Coast Ethnology at the Museum of Anthropology and as Assistant Professor of Cultural Anthropology in the Department of Anthropology and Sociology.

Maps

Acknowledgments

Prologue: The Repatriation of the Nuxalk Echo Mask

1 Introduction

2 The History of Bella Coola: A History of Theft

3 “Selling Out” or “Buying In”? Identity Politics and Art Objectification in Bella Coola

4 Privileged Knowledge versus Public Education: Tensions at Acwsalcta, the Nuxalk Nation “Place of Learning”

5 Physical and Figurative Repatriation: Case Studies of the Nuxalk Echo Mask and the Nuxalk Sun Mask

6 Theft Inside and Out: The Making of a Theory

7 Conclusions: Articulating Nuxalk National Identity

Notes

References

Index

Find what you’re looking for...
Stay Informed

Receive the latest UBC Press news, including events, catalogues, and announcements.


Read past newsletters
Current Catalogue
Catalogue Cover   Spring 2018 CDN
Publishers Represented
UBC Press is the Canadian agent for several international publishers. Visit our Publishers Represented page to learn more.