Pictures Bring Us Messages / Sinaakssiiksi aohtsimaahpihkookiyaawa: Photographs and Histories from the Kainai Nation
In 1925, Beatrice Blackwood of the University of Oxford's Pitt Rivers Museum took thirty-three photographs of Kainai people on the Blood Indian Reserve in Alberta as part of an anthropological project. In 2001, staff from the museum took copies of these photographs back to the Kainai and worked with community members to try to gain a better understanding of Kainai perspectives on the images. 'Pictures Bring Us Messages' is about that process, about why museum professionals and archivists must work with such communities, and about some of the considerations that need to be addressed when doing so.
Exploring the meanings that historic photographs have for source communities, Alison K. Brown, Laura Peers, and members of the Kainai Nation develop and demonstrate culturally appropriate ways of researching, curating, archiving, accessing, and otherwise using museum and archival collections. They describe the process of relationship building that has been crucial to the research and the current and future benefits of this new relationship. While based in Canada, the dynamics of the 'Pictures Bring Us Messages' project is relevant to indigenous peoples and heritage institutions around the world.
- Series: Heritage
- World Rights
- Page Count: 420 pages
- Dimensions: 6.0in x 0.0in x 9.0in
‘This book is a major contribution to research into museum/archives collections and how the people who work at these institutions can reach out to and work productively and collaboratively with Aboriginal peoples. The photos – the focus of the book – are excellent, and the text is carefully written, thoughtful, and analytical.’
Patricia McCormack, School of Native Studies, University of Alberta
'"Pictures Bring Us Messages" marks a serious advance in research. There are regrettably far too few such collaborative projects, although the need has been identified for many years. This book is unique, innovative, and valuable, with scholarship of the highest standard. It establishes that it is possible to bridge a divide – perceived and sustained by museums, archives, historians, and others – if Indigenous ethics and protocols, and the needs of the source community, are respected.'
Sarah Carter, Department of History, University of Calgary
Alison K. Brown is a research fellow with the Department of Anthropology at the University of Aberdeen.
Laura Peers is a lecturer and curator with the Pitt Rivers Museum and the School of Anthropology at the University of Oxford.
Table of contents
List of Illustrations
Foreword by Narcisse Blood, Chair, Mookaakin Foundation
- The Photographs and Their Contexts: Kainai History
- Anthropological Contexts
- Working Together
- Reading the Photographs
- The Past in the Present: Community Conclusions
- Moving Forward: Institutional Implications
Statement of Consent
Appendix 1: Itinerary of Beatrice Blackwood’s North AmericanFieldwork, 1924–7
Appendix 2: Beatrice Blackwood’s Notations on Her Photographs with Kainai Identifications
Appendix 3: Protocol Agreement
Appendix 4: Kainai Reflectionson Beatrice Blackwood’s Diary
PrizesFinalist for Great Plains Distinguished Book Prize - in 2007
Subjects and Courses