Haida Perspectives On Authenticity And Ethnicity In Mid-Nineteenth Century Argillite Carving

Author(s): Kaitlin L. McCormick

Year: 2018

Summary

Argillite carving is an art tradition exclusive to the Haida, an Indigenous people and First Nation whose homeland is the archipelago of Haida Gwaii, off the Northwest Coast of North America. Since 1800, Haida artists have quarried and carved argillite, a black, carbonaceous shale, and sold these works to non-Haidas. Reconceptualized through the centuries as souvenirs, curiosities, scientific specimens and art, this paper considers argillite’s history and meanings from the perspective of the Haida, who value these works – now in the world’s museums – as cultural heritage.

Drawing from examples in Scottish museum collections, this paper explores how the Haida see (or do not see) ethnicity in, particularly, mid-nineteenth century carvings that represent their interactions with European encroachers. Drawing from fur trade and settler records and Haida oral histories, I use argillite carvings as case studies to explore the tensions between concepts of hybridity, authenticity and identity in historical Haida art.

Cite this Record

Haida Perspectives On Authenticity And Ethnicity In Mid-Nineteenth Century Argillite Carving. Kaitlin L. McCormick. Presented at Society for Historical Archaeology, Albuquerque, NM. 2018 ( tDAR id: 441805)

Keywords

Temporal Keywords
1800-2017

Spatial Coverage

min long: -129.199; min lat: 24.495 ; max long: -66.973; max lat: 49.359 ;

Individual & Institutional Roles

Contact(s): Society for Historical Archaeology

Record Identifiers

PaperId(s): 476