Skip to Main Content
Have library access? Log in through your library
The Force of Family

The Force of Family: Repatriation, Kinship, and Memory on Haida Gwaii

Copyright Date: 2014
Pages: 240
  • Cite this Item
  • Book Info
    The Force of Family
    Book Description:

    Over the course of more than a decade, the Haida Nation triumphantly returned home all known Haida ancestral remains from North American museums.The Force of Familyis an ethnography of those efforts to repatriate ancestral remains from museums around the world.

    eISBN: 978-1-4426-6606-1
    Subjects: Sociology, History, Anthropology

Table of Contents

Export Selected Citations Export to NoodleTools Export to RefWorks Export to EasyBib Export a RIS file (For EndNote, ProCite, Reference Manager, Zotero, Mendeley...) Export a Text file (For BibTex)
  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-iv)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. v-vi)
  3. List of Illustrations
    (pp. vii-viii)
  4. Acknowledgments
    (pp. ix-x)
  5. Note on Orthography
    (pp. xi-xii)
  6. Abbreviations
    (pp. xiii-2)
  7. 1 Introduction
    (pp. 3-16)

    My first encounter with Haida repatriation efforts was on a June day in 2005. The Skidegate Repatriation and Cultural Committee (SRCC) was hosting an End of Mourning ceremony – a kind of second funeral hosted by family that marks the end of their public mourning for the deceased. The dayʹs events were a celebration of the successful repatriation of all Haida ancestral remains within North America to Haida Gwaii, and for the committee in Skidegate the end of public mourning for these repatriated ancestors.

    A fire was lit on the beachfront. People gathered in the parking lot, on the grassy...

  8. 2 Departures and Arrivals
    (pp. 17-38)

    Haida Gwaii has been and continues to be peopleʹs home, islands of opportunity, and more recently in its history a field site for archaeologists, ethnologists, collectors, ethnobotanists, biologists, environmental scientists, and linguists. For the Haida, the waters and lands of Haida Gwaii are the homes of their supernatural ancestors, and where their human ancestors were created and have lived ever since. In the Haida language, Haida Gwaii means ʺland of the people.ʺ Haida history attributes the creation of this archipelago to the supernatural being Raven. Prior to Ravenʹs meddling, there existed only a reef where other supernatural beings gathered. Raven,...

  9. 3 Family, Morality, and Haida Repatriation
    (pp. 39-73)

    They used to say they never settle. Their spirits canʹt settle unless they are in their own home ground. They used to say that, eh, because theyʹre so far. Quite a distance between here and there. I know the first one we went to, the caretakers there, when we went to check them out, there was Gertie, Rayno Russ, and Lucille and them, and the caretaker was telling us before he took us in to see where the remains are, showing us, pulling out the drawers. And then we went out, and sat around and talked with us, and he...

  10. 4 The Structural Qualities and Cultural Values of Haida Kinship
    (pp. 74-99)

    Fundamentally, Haida are part of a complex social system that marks them in relation to consanguines, affines, and non-relatives. Haida society is composed of twokʹwaalaa, or moieties, Raven and Eagle. Eachkʹwaalaaconsists of a number of matrilineages. In the Haida dialects, matrilineages are calledgwaay gaang(Massett),gyaaging.aay(Skidegate), andgwáaykʹaang(Kaigani). At birth, a childʹs social identity is derived from his or her motherʹsgwaay gaang/gyaaging.aayand thekʹwaalaato which her lineage belongs. Today, Haida colloquially refer to both lineages andkʹwaalaaas ʺclans.ʺ As ʺclanʺ can be ambiguous, I retain the anthropological terms ʺmatrilineageʺ (or...

  11. 5 The Values of Yahgudang: The Relationship between Self and Others
    (pp. 100-123)

    Based on fieldwork and research conducted with First Nations in coastal British Columbia and Alaska (including Kaigani Haida) throughout the 1950s, Philip Drucker (1963, viii) believed that the only exceptions to the assimilation of Northwest Coast cultures were a handful of preserved artistic skills and ʺthe peopleʹs pride in their identity as Indians.ʺ The latter he characterized almost as though it were a vestigial organ, having a continual presence in the body, but being of little efficacy or importance. Yet for Haidas, ʺprideʺ is closely aligned with the pervasive and highly valued cultural ideal of ʺrespectʺ oryahgudang. During my...

  12. 6 Haida Structures of History and Remembering
    (pp. 124-147)

    I am sitting at Mary Swansonʹs kitchen table in January 2006. The table is the first thing you encounter upon entering Maryʹs home. Beyond it, a sofa is positioned beneath a large picture window affording views of Masset Inlet. Hudsonʹs Bay tea was keeping warm in a large pot on the stove, and her grandson Ernieʹs argillite carving tools were spread across the kitchen table. Mary left her recliner to sit with me and Ernie at the table. I was there to speak with Mary about her involvement with the Haida Heritage and Repatriation Society, and Ernie was glad to...

  13. 7 The Place of Repatriation within Collective Memory and Identity
    (pp. 148-169)

    At a 2003 reburial feast marking the return of remains from the Field Museum, a Haida man pronounced, ʺWhat we have seen today will be spoken of long after weʹre gone.ʺ This sentiment reflects a wider belief that the acts of repatriation will continue to be part of the collective dialogue on Haida Gwaii. It further reflects a desire that the work and accomplishments of repatriation become part of Haida history. Additional statements made during repatriation feasts have expounded on the Haida qualities of strength, perseverance, and adaptability. Haida ancestors are remembered as having embodied these attributes. But these qualities...

  14. 8 Conclusions and Beginnings
    (pp. 170-176)

    The process of repatriation is not yet over for the Haida. Ancestral remains continue to be held in museum collections in Europe, while family and cultural treasures exist in innumerable institutions around the world. During my visit to Haida Gwaii in July 2010, the HRC celebrated the return of their first ancestor from overseas – from the Pitt Rivers Museum at the University of Oxford. At the same time, they were painfully aware that another of their ancestorʹs remains continued to be held at the British Museum. Just days before, a small delegation of HRC members, Gaahlaay (Lonnie Young, hereditary...

  15. List of Interviews
    (pp. 177-178)
  16. Notes
    (pp. 179-190)
  17. Bibliography
    (pp. 191-210)
  18. Index
    (pp. 211-221)