The Museum of Anthropology at UBC: a field trip

In my class this summer in the Indigenous Studies Program at VST (Vancouver School of Theology), one of the non-Indigenous students (there were six, out of 18) wrote this lovely little piece, well worth re-posting.

My Almond Branch

My intention for this post was to write about Walter Koerner and how his axiology bucked the trend of the majority of the time, assigning much value to the work of Indigenous artist Bill Reid and how they, together, formed what we now have as the Museum of Anthropology at the University of British Columbia.

But.  (life seems to consist of the “buts”!)

I could not get the feast dishes out of my mind.  Every time I went to a different part of the museum I was drawn to the bowls and dishes, and I kept finding myself thinking of the big family potlatch vessels. Feast Dish 1

Why? I wondered, do I keep coming back to these?  I thought perhaps it was to do with what they represented: the family and ceremony and the potlatch that was banned.  No, that wasn’t quite it either.  And then I realized that it was something…

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