When the Franklin Motor Expedition set out across the Canadian Prairies to collect First Nations artifacts, brutal assimilation policies threatened to decimate these cultures and extensive programs of ethnographic salvage were in place. Despite having only three members, the expedition amassed the largest single collection of Prairie heritage items currently housed in a British museum. Through the voices of descendants of the collectors and members of the affected First Nations, this book looks at the relationships between indigenous peoples and the museums that display their cultural artifacts, raising timely and essential questions about the role of collections in the twenty-first century.
Alison K. Brown is a lecturer in anthropology at the University of Aberdeen, Scotland.
First Nations, Museums, Narrations is a helpful and thought-provoking book that encourages the reader to explore not only museum collections but also how we describe the artifacts housed within. Coming out of more than a decade of field research, Brown’s book should be read by anyone involved in museums and Native collections.
This well-crafted and compelling book contributes to a burgeoning field of literature on the roles of museums in forging productive social relationships in colonial, national, and international contexts.