Accepted Paper:

Nuxalktimutaylayc - Transforming Museum Engagement into a Nuxalk Way of Being  


Jennifer Kramer (University of British Columbia)

Paper short abstract:

Indigenous material culture long held in museum storerooms can be mobilized into living ancestral treasures by a multi-sensorial process of engagement Nuxalk knowledge holder, Snxakila (Clyde Tallio) of Bella Coola, BC calls Nuxalktimutaylayc - a transformation into a Nuxalk way of being.

Paper long abstract:

Since 2013, Nuxalk alkw (speaker for the hereditary leaders) and Indigenous cosmopolitan knowledge holder, Snxakila (Clyde Tallio) and anthropologist and museum curator, Jennifer Kramer have been visiting Nuxalk collections held in museums across North America (the Smithsonian's National Museum of Natural History and National Museum of the American Indian in Washington, DC, the Chicago Field Museum, the Royal British Columbia Museum in Victoria, and the American Museum of Natural History in New York City). These collaborative, multi-sensorial engagements to recognize and mobilize Indigenous material culture from fixed and classified museum artifacts into unbound, living ancestral treasures is the subject of this paper. We argue that the Nuxalk resist externally imposed knowledge systems by using the energy, confidence, and emotional strength garnered from visiting historical physical objects (and the catalogue and archival records written about them) to activate a renewed Nuxalktimutaylayc - a transformation into a Nuxalk way of being. These meetings in museum storerooms and exhibition galleries have the potential to reverberate locally and globally by reaching rural and urban audiences with the voices of the Nuxalk. They also act as springboard and catalyst for the bringing home of Nuxalk ways of being as the Nuxalk Nation builds their own Big House, and works to secure sovereignty over Nuxalk territory by reinstating ancestral governance.

Panel P050
Re-thinking Source Communities: Plural, Urban Indigenous Communities and Cosmopolitan Objects