The late nineteenth century was a period of rapid colonization and dramatic change for the indigenous peoples of the Northwest Coast of America. Objects of Exchange approaches the material culture of the period as visual evidence of shifting intercultural relations. Drawing on the collection of the American Museum of Natural History-from decorated clothing to containers, ceremonial regalia to trade goods-this book reveals the artistic traces of dynamic indigenous activity whereby objects were altered, repurposed, and adapted to meet the challenges of the time. Rather than treating the period as a climax of “traditional” art and culture, the authors suggest that we view its objects as witnesses to the dawn of an indigenous modernity. This remarkable book includes an intimate family portrait of the renowned Haida artist Charles Edenshaw; a discussion of the use of silver in economic and ceremonial contexts; and an exploration of the ways in which Tlingit women adapted beadwork to crest display as well as the tourist trade.

Table of Contents
Susan Weber

Aaron Glass


1. Objects of Exchange: Material Culture, Colonial Encounter, Indigenous Modernity
Aaron Glass

2. Dancing Our Stone Mask Out of Confinement: A Twenty-first-Century Tsimshian Epistemology
Mique’l Askren

3. Charles Edenshaw on the Colonial Frontier
Margaret B. Blackman

4. Bracelets of Exchange
Kathryn Bunn-Marcuse

5. Beadwork for Basketry in Nineteenth-Century Tlingit Alaska
Megan A. Smetzer

6. Michael Nicoll Yahgulanaas: It looks like Manga
Judith Ostrowitz

Catalogue of the Exhibition

BGC Graduate Students with Aaron Glass

Relational Index for the Catalogue of the Exhibition


I. On the Relational Exhibition in Analog and Digital Media
Aaron Glass and Kimon Keramidas

II. What We Do: The Focus Gallery
Nina Stritzler-Levine




About the Authors

Photographic Credits
Aaron Glass
BGC Assistant Professor or Anthropology

Mique’l Askren
PhD candidate in art history at the Uiversity of British Columbia

Margaret Blackman
Professor Emerita of Anthropology at the College at Brockport, State University of New York

Kathryn Bunn-Marcuse
Art historian at the Bill Holm Center for the Study of Northwest Coast Art, Burke Museum

Kimon Keramidas
Assistant Director of the Digital Media Lab at the Bard Graduate Center

Judith Ostrowitz
Visual artist and independent art historian in New York City

Megan Smetzer
Independent art historian and lecturer at the Emily Carr University of Art + Design

Nina Stritzler-Levine
Chief Curator and Executive Editor of Gallery Publications at the Bard Graduate Center