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HUMANITIES 209 criptions, annotated notes to each chapter, a list of works cited, and an index conclude the volume. Fischlin's study is welcome and helpful, particularly in terms of detailed discussions of texts within each chapter, even if sometimes marked by the trendy jargon of critical theory, and even if one is left waiting - as Fischlin tantalizingly acknowledges - for the other (Le., musical) shoe to drop. His inclusions are appropriate and important, though on occasion one is surprised at omissions of references to significant secondary material - Christopher Wilson's splendid volume on Campion is a case in point. One hopes, as he does, for more work in the area. (BRYAN N.S. GOOCH) Ruth B. Phillips. Trading Identities: The Souvenir in Native North American Artfrom the Northeast, 1700-1900 McGill-Queen's University Press. xviii, 335· $85.00, $49.95 Trading Identities is a commendable interdisciplinary examination of the nature and development of Native North American souvenir production in the northeast during the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. Phillips demonstrates the intense significance of a huge body of ignored and unknown material relating to aboriginal artistic traditions and artists after the European contact. In doing so, she mounts a compelling challenge to long-standing academic, curatorial, and (more generally) Euro-American assumptions about what .constitutes the 'authentic' and worthwhile in Native North American cultures. Because much indigenous art produced between 1700 and 1900 is both influenced by Europeans and aimed at a tourist market, the bulk of it has been dismissed with distaste and irritation (when it is considered at all) as 'inauthentic,' 'impure/ 'acculturated,' I commoditized,' or 'commercial.' The capacity of such hybrid art to irritate is exactly why it should be treated seriously. When particular art forms are actually what is most widely produced by a socially and economically marginalized community, what function does the trivialization of this work by 'high' or 'educated' mainstream culture have? In her timely challenge to the usual knee-jerk dismissal of souvenir arts, Phillips addresses art forms ranging from pincushions to miniature canoes, most of which were produced by the aboriginal peoples of the North American woodlands for sale to travellers and tourists. The Woodland peoples were the first in North America to experience economic and social marginalization and, in consequence, the first to rely on the production of commodities for the tourist trade. In this, their response to marginalization prefigures that of indigenous peoples elsewhere in the world, as does the way (and the underlying reasons) their European-influenced art has been 210 LETTERS IN CANADA 1998 dismissed. In keeping with Phillips's project of bringing the previously denigrated and ignored into serious consideration, Trading Identities is lavishly illustrated by images she has newly uncovered in archives and travel literature (including pictures of Native vendors and makers), along with objects from museum collections in Europe and North America never displayed or published before. (A reading note here: do not be confused by the frequent misnumbering of figure and plate references within the textone can locate the right illustration with minimal detective work.) The implications of the hybridity of Native souvenir art are manifold, but Phillips does a sterling job both of mapping how this art mediated multiple cultures and of laying out the implications of this mediation. One of her central arguments, for instance, is that the strength and significance of Native souvenir art is in exactly those aspects of it which have led to its being dismissed by art historians and anthropologists: its hybridity and its immense popularity with the European and Euro-American consumer. What Phillips finds is that throughout the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, the production, sale, and consumption of tourist art enabled images of Indianness to be circulated and negotiated by both the indigenous and the colonizing cultures. In producing commodities marketable to tourists, aboriginal peoples combined indigenous imagery (e.g., plants and birds), materials and techniques (e.g., quillwork, moosehair embroidery, birchbark, and basketry) with Euro-American genres and styles. In this work they constructed images of themselves that commented upon and meditated European notions of the savage, the natural, and the primitive. Furthermore, while suchstereotypes of 'Indianness' were being transported into parlours, nurseries, and bedchambers...

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Additional Information

ISSN
1712-5278
Print ISSN
0042-0247
Pages
pp. 209-210
Launched on MUSE
2014-07-02
Open Access
No
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