Renewing Relationships and Reviewing Collections with the Blackfoot Nations
7 May 2013
A grant from the Leverhulme Trust has enabled RAMM to review its Blackfoot collections with the active participation of representatives from Blackfoot Nations in Canada and the USA.
Co-ordinated by Dr Alison Brown of the Department of Anthropology in the University of Aberdeen, staff from RAMM and the University of Cambridge Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology (MAA) will be linked with the Blackfoot Nations of Siksika, Piikani, Kainai and the Blackfeet. A series of reciprocal research visits will improve identification, interpretation and care of the museum collections and allow the Blackfoot to evaluate the importance of the artefacts. Blackfoot contact with objects held in European museums has been very limited. On Blackfoot territory the results of the UK investigations will be disseminated and discussions held with a wide range of community members with a view to developing future cultural and educational projects.
The Cambridge and Exeter collections
Both collections were accumulated during the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, a time of tremendous change for Blackfoot people. They include early examples of clothing, ceremonial objects and items connected with other aspects of Blackfoot ways of life. The collections reflect the historic political relationship between the Blackfoot nations and Great Britain, formalized in 1877 by the signing of Treaty 7. Indeed, the RAMM collection includes items acquired from one particular Blackfoot political leader at the signing of this treaty, this includes regalia once worn by Issapumahsika otherwise called Chief Crowfoot.
Representatives of the Blackfoot Nations will visit RAMM in November.