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Pictures Bring Us Messages / Sinaakssiiksi aohtsimaahpihkookiyaawa

Pictures Bring Us Messages / Sinaakssiiksi aohtsimaahpihkookiyaawa: Photographs and Histories from the Kainai Nation

Copyright Date: 2006
Pages: 420
  • Book Info
    Pictures Bring Us Messages / Sinaakssiiksi aohtsimaahpihkookiyaawa
    Book Description:

    While based in Canada, the dynamics of the'Pictures Bring Us Messages'project is relevant to indigenous peoples and heritage institutions around the world.

    eISBN: 978-1-4426-2723-9
    Subjects: Sociology

Table of Contents

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  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-iv)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. v-vi)
  3. List of Illustrations
    (pp. vii-viii)
  4. Foreword
    (pp. ix-x)
    Narcisse Blood

    Eighty years ago, an Oxford scholar named Beatrice Blackwood came to the Blood Reserve, in southern Alberta, on a mission to challenge some of the predominant notions of her time. With funding support from a Laura Spelman Rockefeller Scholarship, she travelled through a number of First Nations communities, in both the United States and Canada, during an era when European women were not considered to be able explorers or scholars. Along this route, Blackwood collected samples of material culture for the Pitt Rivers Museum, and at the Blood Reserve it would be her camera that took something away. In thirty-three...

  5. Acknowledgments
    (pp. xi-xiv)
    Alison K. Brown and Laura Peers
  6. Project Participants
    (pp. xv-2)
  7. Introduction
    (pp. 3-12)

    In August 1925, Beatrice Blackwood, a staff member from the Pitt Rivers Museum of the University of Oxford in England, spent two days at the Blood Indian Reserve in southern Alberta, Canada, where she took thirty-three photographs of Blood people. She intended them to illustrate anthropological ideas about racial difference and cultural change. In the autumn of 2001, Alison Brown and Laura Peers, a researcher and a curator from the Pitt Rivers Museum, took copies of these photographs back to the Blood Reserve and worked with members of the community, who call themselves Kainai,¹ to try to understand their perspectives...

  8. CHAPTER ONE The Photographs and Their Contexts: Kainai History
    (pp. 13-45)

    Just as the Blackfoot language builds up images in the minds of listeners – slightly different images, according to associations made by each individual listener – so Blackwood’s photographs of Kainai people take on different meanings according to the contexts in which they have been placed. While our conclusions from the Kainai-Oxford Photographic Histories Project are that photographs have the potential to slip between different contexts and meanings, gathering new resonances along the way, it is crucial to understand the circumstances in which Blackwood’s photographs were created, for these shape the images as much as does their content. Only when we understand...

  9. CHAPTER TWO Anthropological Contexts
    (pp. 46-77)

    Beatrice Blackwood photographed the Kainai at a specific moment in their history and in her own career. She did not come to the Blood Reserve simply to record life, but to find material which would contribute to her research on race and acculturation. While it is often said that the camera never lies, as we discussed in chapter 1, it does record the intentions of the photographer in the way an image is composed. Blackwood’s photographs were created and had meaning within her own research interests of her 1924–7 project, but also within the broader tradition of anthropological photography....

  10. CHAPTER THREE Working Together
    (pp. 78-107)

    The photographs that Beatrice Blackwood took on the Blood Reserve in August 1925 are very much products of their time, and especially of engagements between the Kainai and various forms of colonial control, ranging from Indian agents to anthropometric photography The Kainai-Oxford Photographic Histories Project is also a product of its own time, and of the desire on the part of scholars and First Nations people today to renegotiate relationships so that the dynamics of power reflect greater equality than they have previously While we were both aware of other projects that had attempted to do this, and had worked...

  11. CHAPTER FOUR Reading the Photographs
    (pp. 108-139)

    Throughout the course of the Kainai-Oxford Photographic Histories Project we have learned that using historical photographs can facilitate the recovery of specific historical and cultural information but can also encourage a greater understanding of how people from different cultural backgrounds think about the past and the sources that are used today to make histories and structure knowledge. The project has also allowed us to learn about the agendas people bring to these discussions and the kind of histories that are important to communities who are working to reinvigorate their collective history in the wake of colonial disruption. We have learned...

  12. Plates
    (pp. None)
  13. CHAPTER FIVE The Past in the Present: Community Conclusions
    (pp. 140-174)

    Having placed Blackwood’s photographs of the Kainai squarely – and uneasily – between the history of anthropological photography and Kainai readings of the past, we consider in this and the following chapter the lessons to be learned from the project, and the implications of the tensions of meaning which exist between Kainai and anthropological understandings of the past as manifested in these images. These lessons seem to fall into two sets, those with implications for the Kainai community itself, as well as for outside scholars interested in its heritage, which we consider in this chapter, and those which potentially affect heritage institutions...

  14. CHAPTER SIX Moving Forward: Institutional Implications
    (pp. 175-194)

    Clearly, museum and archival collections, including historic photographs, are of potentially great importance to First Nations and other indigenous communities. That Blackwooc’s photographs, despite their anthropometric and colonial connotations, revivified knowledge and memory and are already playing a role in transmitting knowledge from one generation to another exemplifies the positive developments which can stem from returning images to source communities or providing special access for community members to museum collections. Such processes benefit museums and archives as much as they do source communities; indeed, Wareham (2002: 205) has described the involvement of indigenous communities in heritage institutions as revitalizing for...

  15. Conclusions
    (pp. 195-202)

    Even though we are scholars with prior experience of working with First Nations people, with some understanding of cultural protocol and community needs, and working from an institution which supported us in this cross-cultural work, the lessons we have learned while working with the Kainai community have been extensive and transformative. Some of our experiences have been mirrored within similar collaborative projects conducted in other parts of the world. Penny Taylor, for instance, has observed that a photographic project she was involved in concerning the contemporary lives of Aboriginal Australians during the bicentennial commemoration in 1988 was ‘the product of...

  16. Statement of Consent
    (pp. 203-204)
  17. Appendix One: Itinerary of Beatrice Blackwood’s North American Fieldwork, 1924–7
    (pp. 205-210)
  18. Appendix Two: Beatrice Blackwood’s Notations on Her Photographs with Kainai Identifications
    (pp. 211-215)
  19. Appendix Three: Protocol Agreement
    (pp. 216-218)
  20. Appendix Four: Kainai Reflections on Beatrice Blackwood’s Diary
    (pp. 219-244)
  21. Notes
    (pp. 245-256)
  22. Bibliography
    (pp. 257-272)
  23. Index
    (pp. 273-280)