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Distributed for University of British Columbia Press

First Nations, Museums, Narrations

Stories of the 1929 Franklin Motor Expedition to the Canadian Prairies

When the Franklin Motor Expedition set out across the Canadian Prairies to collect First Nations artifacts, brutal assimilation policies threatened to decimate these cultures and extensive programs of ethnographic salvage were in place. Despite having only three members, the expedition amassed the largest single collection of Prairie heritage items currently housed in a British museum. Through the voices of descendants of the collectors and members of the affected First Nations, this book looks at the relationships between indigenous peoples and the museums that display their cultural artifacts, raising timely and essential questions about the role of collections in the twenty-first century.

328 pages

Table of Contents

A Note on Terminology


1 Community Contexts: Reserve Life in the 1920s

2 Collecting on the Prairies: “A Splendid Collecting Field”

3 Collecting in Action: The Franklin Motor Expedition

4 Representing Collecting: Images and Narratives

5 Reflecting on the Franklin Motor Expedition: First Nations Perspectives

6 Curating the Rymill Collection: The Prairies on Display

7 Building Relationships: British Museums and First Nations




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