Inseparable from its communities, Northwest Coast art functions aesthetically and performatively beyond the scope of non-Indigenous scholarship, from demonstrating kinship connections to manifesting spiritual power. Contributors to this volume foreground Indigenous understandings in recognition of this rich context and its historical erasure within the discipline of art history.
By centering voices that uphold Indigenous priorities, integrating the expertise of Indigenous knowledge holders about their artistic heritage, and questioning current institutional practices, these new essays "unsettle" Northwest Coast art studies. Key themes include discussions of cultural heritage protections and Native sovereignty; re-centering women and their critical role in transmitting cultural knowledge; reflecting on decolonization work in museums; and examining how artworks function as living documents. The volume exemplifies respectful and relational engagement with Indigenous art and advocates for more accountable scholarship and practices.
Kathryn Bunn-Marcuse is director of the Bill Holm Center for the Study of Northwest Native Art, curator of northwest Native art at the Burke Museum, assistant professor of art history at the University of Washington, and coeditor of In the Spirit of the Ancestors: Contemporary Northwest Coast Art at the Burke Museum. Aldona Jonaitis is former director of the University of Alaska Museum of the North, professor of anthropology at the University of Alaska Fairbanks, and author of Art of the Northwest Coast andThe Yuquot Whalers' Shrine. The other contributors are Karen Benbassat Ali, Janet Catherine Berlo, Iljuuwaas Tyson Brown (Haida Nation), Jisgang Nika Collison (Haida Nation), Karen Duffek, Sharon Fortney (Klahoose), Christopher Green, Denise Nicole Green, Ishmael Hope (Inupiaq and Tlingit), Lily Hope (Tlingit), Kaitlin McCormick, Emily L. Moore, Peter Morin (Tahltan Nation), Lou-ann Ika'wega Neel (Kwakwa?ka?'wakw), Duane Niatum (Jamestown S'Klallam), Megan A. Smetzer, Robert Starbard (Xunaa Tlingit), Evelyn Vanderhoop (Haida Nation), and Lucy Fowler Williams.
The book contains 121 color illustrations.