Co-Authoring Relationships: Blackfoot Collections, UK Museums, and Collaborative Practice

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Ceremonial leaders from the four Blackfoot Nations of Siksika, Piikani, Kainai and the Blackfeet work together to pursue the shared goal of accessing museum collections for the collective good of their communities. They also favor an approach which draws on Blackfoot concepts of consensus to allow them to make meaningful relationships with museum workers. This article focuses on the Blackfoot Collections in UK Museums Network, which has aimed to generate and exchange knowledge about little-studied Blackfoot cultural items in British collections. In order to undertake this work, the network established a way of working shaped by Blackfoot concepts of co-existence and practices of relationship-building, as well as by current approaches in museum anthropology which foreground dialogic models yet acknowledge their limitations. Through an ethnographic discussion of the network’s reciprocal meetings, held between 2013 and 2015 in Blackfoot territory in Alberta, Canada, and Montana, US, and in museums in southern England, I examine how Blackfoot practices of co-authoring relationships can shape new relations with museum staff who are critically evaluating the possibilities for collaboration.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)117-148
Number of pages32
JournalCollaborative Anthropologies
Issue number1/2
Publication statusPublished - 31 Mar 2017


  • museums
  • Blackfoot
  • repatriation
  • consensus


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