Intercultural Mediations: Cross-Cultural Collaborations in Early Twentieth-Century First Nations Literature
Shield, Kathryn Alix
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This thesis examines the implications of three early twentieth-century First Nations collaborations that were produced in the context of salvage ethnography and attributed mainly to their non-aboriginal collaborators: Henry Tate and Franz Boas’s Tsimshian Mythology (1916), E. Pauline Johnson and Chief Joe Capilano’s Legends of Vancouver (1912), and Chief William K’HHalserten Sepass and Eloise Street’s Sepass Poems (1911-15). By using a versioning framework to attain a “fluid” reading across variants, I can identify the intercultural mediations across versions and attempt to engage in a form of digital repatriation. Through digital archives like Kimberly Christen’s “Mukurtu” project, these cultural documents can be repatriated and accessed only by those who, following cultural protocols, should have access. Ultimately, an analysis of variants suggests that while salvage ethnography privileged the non-aboriginal collaborators, the changeability of these narratives across versions functions to perpetually unfix these texts from a static concept of aboriginal identity.