Accepted Paper:

Meshkwajisewin: Paradigm shift  

Author:

Maureen Matthews (Manitoba Museum)

Paper short abstract:

This paper looks at the impact of an Indigenous Scholar in Residence program at the Manitoba Museum which overturns the paradigm of source communities as former makers of beautiful things, former experts and reinforces indigenous expertise and authority in the museum.

Paper long abstract:

This paper looks at the impact of an Indigenous Scholar in Residence program at the Manitoba Museum, now in its third year, which enables indigenous graduate students to engage in a serious amount of "deep hanging out" with the museum's collections. In addition to broad access to the 20,000 objects of indigenous manufacture at the museum, a combination of important Manitoba collections and the Collection of the Hudson's Bay Company, students work individually with objects of their choice and meet and talk with community researchers, beaders, and makers. The Scholar in Residence program overturns the paradigm of the source community as a rural, cultural uniform, geographically stable entity and of source communities as former owners of objects, former makers of beautiful things, former experts. "Source community" scholars in the middle of their academic studies are welcomed to the museum and have full access to the objects that interest them. The scholarship privileges scholar's contemporary indigenous expertise and returns the objects to conversation with contemporary artists and thinkers making new and beautiful things and coming to new understandings about their past . The Scholars in Residence program complicates the idea of bounded "source community" identities because the objects are no more bounded than their academic interlocutors.

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