Bringing it home: instituting culture, claiming history, and managing change in a plateau tribal museum

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Title: Bringing it home: instituting culture, claiming history, and managing change in a plateau tribal museum
Author: Karson, Jennifer
Abstract: This dissertation considers the Native North American repatriation movement as a sociocultural study , in which traditional knowledge and other information accompany returns to tribes . I engage this process with the Cayuse , Umatilla , and Walla Walla Tribes of northeastern Oregon (the Confederated Tribes of the Umatilla Indian Reservation ) as they present , preserve , and perpetuate tribal history and culture at their museum , Tamástslikt Cultural Institute . I also explore self -representation and Native participation at the Pendleton Round -Up rodeo and "wild west" pageant in the neighboring town of Pendleton , Oregon . Investigating the connectivity between repatriation , collaboration , and representation , I ask how repatriation defines itself beyond the return of objects of cultural patrimony to influence the development of a tribal cultural and historical narrative . I argue that newly developed tribal perspectives are therefore a bi -product of repatriation . By presenting tribal perspectives based in negotiation , repatriation thus leads to self -representation via collaborative processes . Collaborative processes allow for anthropological research and knowledge to be shared , accessed , and controlled by Native communities , thus allowing for multiple forms of repatriation to manifest . Working within a collaborative framework based primarily in grounded and emergent theory , I also brought theories of the diaspora , historical memory , and trauma to bear on my research in hopes of exploring how return is further complicated in both a literal and a figurative sense . I am informed by Native American and Cultural Studies , yet rather than rejecting or discarding the historical relationship of contact between Anthropology and Native America , this dissertation favors a discussion of changes and adjustments within it . My work contributes to the anthropological literature on tribal museums and representation , and to new understandings of the repatriation of identity and knowledge . I also hope to contribute to growing collaborative action /advocacy -based ethnographic models for conducting research with Native North Americans . An applied and collaborative methodology was employed as I assisted in realizing projects initiated by the Tribes' and operating within a particular Native worldview , spanning from curation to interpretation , at Tamástslikt . While remaining separate and distinct , my own dissertation project was nevertheless structured , informed , and achieved alongside , and in conjunction with , tribally controlled projects .
URI: http : / /hdl .handle .net /2152 /3681
Date: 2008-08-29


Bringing it home: instituting culture, claiming history, and managing change in a plateau tribal museum. Doctoral dissertation, The University of Texas at Austin. Available electronically from http : / /hdl .handle .net /2152 /3681 .

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