Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, Library unite to save Native American voices

UC Berkeley Library, June 19, 2018

In the twinkle-lit cafes and sage-incensed dorms around town, vinyl is all the rage among the youths.

But in the unassuming Moffitt Library — still shy about its hipster cred — it’s all about wax cylinders.

Tucked away on Moffitt’s second floor, in the Digital Imaging Lab, a team of researchers are restoring a trove of wax cylinders: the original vinyl. The objects hiss and pop just like a record, but they also happen to contain the sacred songs and voices of Native Americans, recorded by field anthropologists over four decades, from 1900 to 1940.

In the imaging lab, Stephanie Battle slides two fingers into a small brown cylinder, lifting against its smooth center. She’s careful to avoid the surface, whose priceless grooves could melt slightly under her touch.

Battle is the digital imaging specialist for Project IRENE, a campuswide effort to scan and digitize nearly 3,000 wax cylinders held in UC Berkeley’s Phoebe A. Hearst Museum of Anthropology. There are over 77 Native languages from California represented in the collection, some of which have transformed or faded away.

And today, the shells preserving those voices have started to decay.

“These cylinders are degrading every day,” Battle says. “We have to take this moment to capture them.”

More here

Namibia calls for return of cultural artifacts from Germany

Welda Seit, June 19, 2018

"Namibian Ambassador to Germany, Andreas Guibeb has called for the restitution of the Stone Cross and other cultural objects such as the Witbooi Bible, to Namibia.

Guibeb made the remarks during a symposium organised by the German Historical Museum (Deutsches Historisches Museum or DHM) in Berlin on June 7, 2018.

A media statement by the Namibian Embassy in Germany on Tuesday noted that the symposium was convened to explore the topical question of colonial objects and historical injustice.

The Stone Cross of Cape Cross, also known as the Padrão, forms part of the permanent exhibition of the DHM and can be found among German colonial objects dating back to the 19th century.

The Cross bears the coat of arms of Portugal, crowned by a cross, that was erected at the coast of Namibia in 1485 by Diogo Cão, knight of the house of King John the Second (João II) of Portugal.

When the Germans declared the territory part of the colony, German South-West Africa, following the 1884 Berlin Conference, the Cross came into German possession and was shipped to the German Empire."

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Fellowship Opportunity: Native American Art Fellow, Hood Museum of Art, Dartmouth College

The Hood Museum of Art announces a search for the appointment of Native American Art Fellow. This two-year fellowship with a focus on Native American art and curatorial practice is funded by a Diversifying Art Museum Leadership Initiative grant to the Hood from the Walton Family Foundation and the Ford Foundation.  

The successful candidate will play an integral role in the formation of an interdisciplinary cohort of museum professionals and will have the opportunity to engage in a broad range of experiences including: collections and archival research, collaborative exhibition development, building a professional network, mentoring undergraduate students, building collections, programming, collections-based teaching, museum administration, and publishing. 

The museum's broad and diverse collection of approximately four thousand works of Native American art can be searched on-line at the Hood's website: 

https://hoodmuseum.dartmouth.edu/explore/collection/native-america/search-native-american-art

The fellowship is open to individuals holding a bachelor’s degree, master’s degree, or Ph.D., and whose research focuses on Native American art and expressive culture. 

Application review will take place on a rolling basis, so please don’t hesitate to apply. Applications can be submitted through this link:  https://searchjobs.dartmouth.edu/postings/46258.

Seattle Art Museum’s ‘Double Exposure’ and the negative/positive legacy of photographer Edward S. Curtis

The Seattle Times, June 7, 2018

Edward Sheriff Curtis (b. 1868, d. 1952) was a complicated guy. And he left a complicated legacy.

He was an intrepid genius. He was also kind of a jerk.

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“Curtis is the elephant in the room for Native American photographers,” said Will Wilson, a Navajo/Diné photographer who is part of Seattle Art Museum’s upcoming exhibition “Double Exposure: Edward S. Curtis, Marianne Nicholson, Tracy Rector, Will Wilson,” opening on June 14.

“When people think about Native Americans, it’s probably a sepia-toned Curtis photo that pops up in their minds,” he said.

Curtis, who grew up the son of a poor minister, farmer and Civil War veteran, found work as an apprentice photographer and then found his mission, around 1895, when he took a portrait of Princess Angeline, the Duwamish daughter of Chief Sealth. That began a yearslong trek across the U.S., photographing and writing about Native Americans, resulting in a 20-volume series: “The North American Indian,” financed with seed money from J.P. Morgan.

He took tens of thousands of photographs — and made a feature-length film (unfortunately) titled “In the Land of the Head Hunters,” later rereleased and retitled by others as “In the Land of the War Canoes” — but he has been widely criticized for portraying Native Americans as romantic aliens, stuck in time, and editing out objects and articles of clothing that might make them look too “assimilated.”

“His images have cast a really long shadow over Native people,” said Barbara Brotherton, SAM’s curator for Native American art. “Curtis was undeniably an impressive American artist, but he entered the project with all the biases of his time.”

Seattle Art Museum had been watching for the 150th anniversary of Curtis’ birth — as it does for anniversaries of major artists. “It’s been a long time gestating,” Brotherton said.

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But, she added, the museum knew it couldn’t present a simple hagiography of Curtis’ work without acknowledging its contradictions. “Double Exposure,” she said, isn’t so much about Curtis and Native artists responding to his work as it is about putting them on equal footing.

The first thing visitors will see is an installation by Marianne Nicolson (a member of the Dzawada’enuxw First Nation of the Kwakwaka’wakw First Nations), who creates shadow-and-light environments with carved glass and lights, based on Pacific Northwest Native aesthetics.

More here

Final Reminder: Nominations for Three CMA Awards due THIS Friday, June 15

CMA Members,

Nominate now!

The Council for Museum Anthropology (CMA) now recognizes innovative and influential contributions to the field of museum anthropology through four awards. Nominations are due for three of these this Friday, June 15.

New this year!: CMA Book Award

Michael M. Ames Award

Distinguished Service Award

(Reminder to students: our Student Travel Awards will be due August 15, 2018)

Further Nomination Details:

Council for Museum Anthropology Book Award, due June 15, 2018

The Council for Museum Anthropology Book Award was created to recognize and promote excellence in museum anthropology. The award is awarded biennially to a scholar within the field of museum anthropology for a solo, co- or multi-authored book published up to two years prior to the award date. Edited books will not be considered.

The CMA Book award will be given to the author(s) whose work is judged to be a significant and influential contribution to museum anthropology. The winner will receive a $500 cash award. Books that did not receive the award but are considered exceptional will receive honorable mentions at the award ceremony at the AAA Annual Meeting.

Nomination Procedures

To nominate a book, please send a signed letter of nomination to the chair of the selection committee, Joshua A. Bell. Only individuals, not organizations or publishers, are eligible to nominate books for the CMA Book Award. The letter of nomination should speak to the impact of the book on the field of museum anthropology and needs to be by a current CMA member. Self-nomination is not permitted, and works must have an accompanying letter of nomination to be considered. Please arrange to have the publisher send a copy of the book directly to each member of the Selection Committee (see names and addresses below). Books must be received by the deadline of June 15th. Applicants will be notified in October as to the results.

Joshua A. Bell (Chair)

Department of Anthropology (MRC 112)

National Museum of Natural History, Smithsonian Institution

PO Box 37012

Washington, DC 20013-7012

 

Hannah Turner

1325 Chestnut Street, Vancouver BC v6j3k1

 

Adrian Van Allen

Département de la recherche

Musée du quai Branly

7 Rue Linné, Paris 75005, France

 

William W. Wood

Department of Anthropology, University of Wisconsin -Milwaukee

3413 N. Downer Ave

Sabin Hall 390

Milwaukee, WI, 53211

Ames and Distinguished Service Awards

CMA award applications and nominations for the Ames and Distinguished Service Awards must be submitted as digital data (Word documents, pdf files and/or jpg files), sent via email to arrive on or before the deadline.

Email all four members of the Awards Committee:

W. Warner Wood (Chair) <woodw@uwm.edu>

Karl Hoerig<khoerig@fortapachearizona.org>

Adrian Van Allen<adrian@adrianv.com>

Joshua A. Bell<BellJA@si.edu>

Award winners will be notified so they have sufficient time to make travel arrangements. Winners will be formally recognized at the CMA Annual Meeting and CMA Reception during the AAA Annual Meeting, and will also be highlighted in the CMA column in Anthropology News.

Michael M. Ames Award, due June 15, 2018

The CMA Michael M. Ames Prize for Innovative Museum Anthropology is awarded to individuals for an innovative project in museum anthropology. Examples include: outstanding single or multi-authored books or published catalogues; temporary or permanent exhibits; repatriation projects; collaborations with descendant communities; educational or outreach projects; multimedia works, and other endeavours. Individuals can be nominated by any member of CMA (self-nominations are not permitted).

Nomination packets must include a cover letter and evidence of the work under consideration (e.g., photographs, catalogues, links to websites, etc.), and supporting materials (e.g., letters of support, media coverage, etc.). All material must be submitted as digital data (Word documents, pdf files and/or jpg files). The nomination packet should not exceed 5 pages.

 

Evaluation Criteria: 1) Creativity: Is the project a unique and creative exploration of museum anthropology’s central themes, tensions, and histories? 2) Timeliness: Does the project say something important about museum anthropology’s current predicaments and unknown future? 3) Depth: In what ways does the project penetrate into the complexity of material culture and the study of it through novel methods and theories? 4) Impact: Does the project have the potential to make broad and lasting impacts in museum anthropology?

Ames Award recipients will be presented with a gift from CMA and a certificate of the award.

Distinguished Service Award, due June 15, 2018

The CMA Board recently instituted a new Lifetime Achievement/Distinguished Service Award to recognize CMA members whose careers demonstrate extraordinary achievements that have advanced museum anthropology. These achievements might include: collections work, community collaborations, exhibitions, publications, public programming and outreach, teaching, policy development, etc. While many anthropologists distinguish themselves through their works, this award is meant to single out those who, over the course of their careers, have truly helped to define and or reshape the field of anthropology in and of museums. Nominees are expected to have spent at least 20 years working in the field of museum anthropology.

Nomination packets must include: a two-page letter of recommendation in support of the nominee; and any additional supporting materials deemed relevant by the nominator (e.g., nominee’s c.v., other supporting letters). The letter should provide a contextual summary of the nominee’s signature accomplishments, and it should demonstrate the nominee’s qualifications. The nomination packet should not exceed 5 pages.

Evaluation Criteria: 1) Impact: How has the nominee’s work transformed and or contributed to the discipline of museum anthropology (e.g., theory, methodology, influence); 2) Service: How has the nominee provided service to specific museums (e.g., collections, exhibits, public outreach); 3) Mentoring: How has the nominee influenced and inspired the careers of students and colleagues (e.g., mentorship, curriculum development, innovative teaching)?

Lifetime Award recipients will be presented with a gift from CMA and a certificate of the award.

As a reminder: 

CMA Student Travel Award, due August 15, 2018

The CMA Student Travel Awards are designed to support graduate student travel to the annual AAA meeting to present papers and/or posters. Students and recent graduate degree recipients (those who have defended within the year of the award) are eligible to apply. Each year, CMA will award two prizes of $500 each.

Application packets (maximum 5 pages) must include: a brief letter indicating the applicant’s student status and explaining how this project reflects the student’s graduate work; a copy of the abstract for the proposed paper or poster (and for the session in which they will be presenting, if known); and a letter of endorsement from an academic advisor at the student’s most recent institution of study.

Evaluation Criteria: 1) Creativity: Is the paper or poster a unique and novel contribution to museum anthropology? 2) Commitment: Does the student demonstrate a commitment to the field of museum anthropology 3) Impact: Does the paper or poster have the potential to develop into a work that could more broadly impact the field of museum anthropology?

Student Travel Award recipients will be presented with a check for $500 and a certificate of the award.

New Scholarship Opportunity to Attend 2018 ATALM

The Bush Foundation is providing full scholarships to attend the 11th annual International Conference of Indigenous Archives, Libraries, and Museums. Funding may include registration fees, all special events, travel, and single lodging for four nights.  

Visit the ATALM homepage for details about the conference, to the see the preliminary program, or to access the Scholarship Application

The Bush Foundation Scholarships are intended for staff members of a tribal archive, library, museum, historic preservation office, and/or language program, those that work with indigenous collections in a non-tribal cultural institution, currently enrolled students in a museum, library, or archival-related education program, or culture bearers in a tribal community who are actively involved in the preservation of traditional knowledge, practices, and/or culture. Applications must be received by Tuesday, June 21, 2018 at 11:59 PM CST.
 
Special events include tours of the Shakopee Mdewakanton Sioux Cultural center now under construction, "Sea of Grass" book talk with Walter Echo-Hawk, a Professional Development Career Fair featuring major institutions from throughout the United States, a cultural evening at the Minnesota History Center, and a performance by the 1491s Comedy Troupe.  All Bush Foundation scholars receive priority and may attend these events at no charge.
 

Michael M. Ames Award: Deadline Extended to June 15, 2018 

The Council for Museum Anthropology’s Michael M. Ames Prize for Innovative Museum Anthropology recognizes outstanding work in museum anthropology. It is awarded to individuals for innovative work in museum anthropology through, for example, outstanding single or multi-authored books or published catalogues; temporary or permanent exhibits; repatriation projects; collaborations with descendant communities; educational or outreach projects; multimedia works, and other endeavours. Individuals can be nominated by any member of CMA (self-nomination is not permitted).

Nomination packets (maximum 5 pages) must include a cover letter, evidence of the work under consideration (e.g., photographs, catalogues, links to websites), and supporting materials (e.g., letters of support, media coverage, etc.). All material must be submitted as digital data (Word documents, pdf files and/or jpg files). Nominations must be submitted as digital data (Word documents, pdf files and/or jpg files), sent via email to arrive on or before the deadline. Email all four members of the Awards Committee:
W. Warner Wood (Chair) woodw@uwm.edu
Karl Hoerig khoerig@fortapachearizona.org
Adrian Van Allen adrian@adrianv.com
Joshua A. Bell<BellJA@si.edu

Evaluation Criteria: 1) Creativity: Is the project a unique and creative exploration of museum anthropology’s central themes, tensions, and histories? 2) Timeliness: Does the project say something important about museum anthropology’s current predicaments and unknown futures? 3) Depth: Does the project penetrate the complexity of material culture and museum studies through novel methods and theories? 4) Impact: Does the project have the potential to make broad and lasting impacts in museum anthropology?

Ames Award recipients will be formally recognized at the CMA Reception during the AAA Annual Meeting. They will be presented with a gift from CMA and a certificate of the award. They will also be highlighted in the CMA column in Anthropology News. Award winners will be notified so they have sufficient time to make travel arrangements.

New Tsuut’ina art and culture museum open to all visitors

News Calgary, June 1, 2018

"Important artifacts and pieces of art from the Tsuut’ina First Nation now have a brand new building to call their own and organizers say that everyone is welcome to enjoy the collection.

For the past 30 years, the museum has been operating on a small scale in several different locations, but this is the first time that all the exhibits have been in one place.

Jeanette Starlight, the museum’s director, says some of the pieces share a very special connection to her because they were created by her grandmother.

“She lived to 105 and did beadwork right to the end.”"

More here

Belgium's Africa museum to reopen, calls for return of looted artefacts intensify

Africa News, June 2, 2018

"Belgium’s Africa Museum, once a triumphant celebration of the country’s colonial past, is to reopen after years of renovations, with a more critical view on a dark piece of history.

The museum, full of historic artefacts and stuffed wildlife, was often criticised for ignoring the brutalities of a time when millions of Congolese are estimated to have died when Congo was first a personal fiefdom of King Leopold II in the late 19th century before becoming a colony of the Belgian state.

A golden statue of a European missionary holding an African child with a plaque that reads: “Belgium brings civilization to Congo”, will remain on show, but its historical context will be explained."

More here

Unpacking the Legacy of an Indigenous Uprising in Norway

Hyperallergic, May 26, 2018

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"Within the circular arrangement of artworks that makes up the current exhibition at the Office for Contemporary Art Norway (OCA), under the staircase, a wool curtain in the colors of the Sámi flag opens to a cozy, dark space with reindeer hide laid out on the floor. The space is meant to evoke a lavvu, a temporary dwelling used by the Sámi (indigenous people of Northern Europe), it reminds me of the Native American tipi. Inside plays Don’t Fuck with Me (2018), a collaborative short film by Mai-Lis Eira and Elle Márjá Eira, commissioned by OCA for its group exhibition Let the River Flow. The Sovereign Will and the Making of a New Worldliness, curated by Katya García-Antón, with Antonio Cataldo.

Don’t Fuck With Me is made up of two short films — one by each of the artists —shown back to back. Set to an electronic soundtrack, Elle Márjá Eira’s film utilizes slow motion breakdowns and jump cuts to depict individuals pulling on traditional clothing then coming together to march through the streets of Oslo. They raise a banner atop a lavvu and stare down the camera with arms folded. It’s a stirring few minutes of film that makes a powerful impact even if you don’t know the history behind it — though you should. It’s a recreation of events in Oslo in 1979 when seven young Sámi people erected lavvus in front of the parliament building and staged a hunger strike. Thirty years later, OCA’s exhibition examines the events and legacy of this action. The poise of Elle Márjá Eira’s protagonists contrasts with Mai-Lis Eira’s film, to suggest the struggle continues, and there is unfinished business."

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Inuit Women’s Survival Skills, Which Kept Arctic Explorers Alive, Help Heal Residential School Survivors

Cécile R. Ganteaume, Smithsonian Magazine, May 23, 2018

"On May 4, the National Museum of the American Indian’s Cultural Resources Center was privileged to host a delegation of four remarkable Inuit women from Nunavut—Bernadette Dean, Rosie Kowna Oolooyuk, Manitok Thompson, and Veronica Connelly. All are highly skilled caribou and sealskin clothing makers and were in Washington, D.C., as guests of the Embassy of Canada to attend the opening reception for the exhibition Captain George Comer and the Inuit of Hudson Bay. Denis Chouinard, the embassy’s public affairs counselor, was responsible for this outstanding act of cultural diplomacy. It involved inviting the Inuit women not only to attend the exhibition’s opening, but also to speak at the symposium that preceded the opening and to visit the collections of historic Inuit clothing housed by the Smithsonian’s National Museum of Natural History, as well as in the Cultural Resources Center.

 Photo courtesy of Cécile R. Ganteaume, Smithsonian Voices

Photo courtesy of Cécile R. Ganteaume, Smithsonian Voices

Presented in the embassy’s gallery, Captain George Comer and the Inuit of Hudson Bay was organized by the Mystic Seaport Museum in partnership with the embassy and the Canadian Museum of History. Fred Calabretta, Mystic Seaport Museum curator of collections and oral historian, as well as the exhibition’s curator, and John Moses, Canadian Museum of History repatriation supervisor, were also symposium panelists, as was Bernadette Driscoll Engelstad, a research collaborator with Natural History’s Arctic Studies Center. Stephen Loring, an Arctic archaeologist on the staff of the Arctic Studies Center, organized and moderated the symposium."

More here