Year of Award
Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)
Anthropology (Cultural Heritage and Applied Anthropology Option)
Department or School/College
Department of Anthropology
Moccasins, Museums, Niitsitapi, Women
University of Montana
This dissertation emphasizes how anthropologists can use museum collections as anthropological data banks (Sturtevant 1973) to uncover the unwritten histories of objects, people, and cultures. I show how museum collections are repositories for the untold stories of Native women’s economic histories and how objects embody women’s critical contributions to the economic, spiritual, and cultural survival of their communities throughout time. To reveal the complex, hidden labor processes involved in historical and contemporary moccasin-making, I draw on interviews with contemporary Niitsitapi moccasin-makers, as well as object-based analyses of 109 pairs of moccasins from five museum collections and numerous archival documents and photographs. Analyses revealed that most of the Niitsitapi moccasins in these five museum collections are outgrowths of production for tourist markets. Additionally, I show how moccasin production has historically been influenced by the colonial policies of the United States government and how moccasins’ stories are influenced by museum categorization tools.
Shifley, Michaela Ann, "MOCCASIN ECONOMICS: ENTANGLED MUSEUM STORIES OF NIITSITAPI WOMEN, LABOR, AND FOOTWEAR" (2022). Graduate Student Theses, Dissertations, & Professional Papers. 11978.
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