8. Genealogies of Knowledge in the Alberni Valley: Reflecting on Ethnographic Practice in the Archive of Dr. Susan Golla
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273 8 Genealogies of Knowledge in the Alberni Valley Reflecting on Ethnographic Practice in the Archive of Dr. Susan Golla Asking for help is important. I learned this over the five years I spent in Nuu-chah-nulth First Nations’ haahuulthii (traditional territory) as an anthropology PhD student: I witnessed networks of relatives work together to celebrate important moments in their interwoven lives through n’uushitl (potlatching) and tl’itscuu (feasting).1 Asking for help demonstrates an understanding that most cultural “business ” is larger than the individual.2 One must reach out to find the appropriate resource. This is how I eventually found myself, in the fall of 2013, immersed in the archive of Dr. Susan Golla. Someone asked me for help. In May 2012 Tseshaa-aqsup Shishaa (Darleen Watts) approached me looking for information about a book her father, Charlie Watts, had contributed to in the latter years of his life.3 Darleen explained that inthelate 1980sherfather beganworkingwithanthropologistDr. SusanGollaandlaterlinguistDr.SuzanneRosetotranslatepreviously unpublished texts collected by Edward Sapir during his fieldwork in Alberniin1910and1913–14.“SusanworkedwithmyDad.Hejustadored her. She came by, picked him up every day,” Darleen explained. “They were working on a book. She always said she would give him a copy when it was published. He asked me before he died to make sure I got a copy” (personal communication, Port Alberni, British Columbia, May 5, 2012). Five years before Charlie’s death, Dr. Susan Golla herself passed away in January 1993 after a battle with cancer. Denise Nicole Green Fig. 20. Charlie Watts (left, background) and Morris Swadesh (right, foreground) in Port Alberni sometime in the late 1930s. Morris Swadesh was a student of Edward Sapir, and his notes from this time are also in the American Philosophical Society library. In the late 1980s and early 1990s Charlie Watts worked with Susan Golla to help translate stories that Edward Sapir had collected during his fieldwork in 1910 and 1913–14. Photo courtesy of Darleen Watts. Genealogies of Knowledge 275 Locating the Archive The search for Dr. Golla’s notes and the book Darleen Watts spoke of began with a series of emails and phone calls. People remembered the namesofSusan’sfamily—herhusband,Jim,theirdaughter,Cate—but could only suggest that they were “probably in New York City.” Easiest to find was her ex-husband and well-known linguist, Victor Golla, who kindly put me in touch with Susan’s close friend, former roommate , and PhD peer, Dr. Janet Chernela. Dr. Chernela introduced me to Cate, the daughter Jim and Susan welcomed into the world in Port Alberni. Cate connected me with her father, who was away at the time on a six-week motorcycle trip. On his return, he explained that Susan’s noteshadbeendepositedintheAmericanPhilosophicalSociety(aps) library nearly twenty years earlier. Susan’s research was a continuation oftheethnographicfieldworkofherpredecessors,FranzBoas,Edward Sapir and Morris Swadesh, whose Nuu-chah-nulth records—in their original form—were all housed in the aps.4 Susan had spent many hours in the aps reading room, poring over Sapir’s original field notebooks . She made it explicit to family and friends that it was best that her notes reside there as well. Inthefallof2013Ifoundmyselfintheapsreadingroom,poringover her notebooks, papers, photographs, audiotapes, and manuscripts. I beganconnectingstoriesandexperiencesfrommyownfieldworkwith theobservationsandrecordsinSusan’snotes.Welivedsomewhatparallellives :bothNewYorkers,conductingfieldworkinourlatetwenties, puttering around the Alberni Valley in unreliable old vehicles (for her, a 1960 Peugeot, and for me, a 1982 Volkswagen Rabbit), and spending much of our time with the descendants of Hamilton George (listed in Sapir’snotebooksashisfirstNuu-chah-nulth“informant”).Susanand I were connected through the Hupacasath and Tseshaht people who welcomed us into their homes and families and also by a history of anthropology and anthropological practice. Our stories became interwoven through ethnographic and archival fieldwork. Afewmonthsbeforeheruntimelydeath,Susanwrotetoherlinguist collaborator, Suzanne Rose, “Much as I love stories, I don’t accept the notion that we are each just the sum of our narratives” (November 9, 276 Denise Nicole Green 1992, aps). The stories of our lives create connections, networks, and genealogies that actively shape experience and memory. In this chapter I discuss stories produced and inspired by the archive of Dr. Susan Golla, an anthropologist who died far too young. Within twenty-one boxesspanning9.5linearfeetattheapsinPhiladelphiaarehundredsof storiesthatarepartoflargerhistorical,cultural,andfamilialnarratives. The stories in Susan’s archive link with other collections at the aps, particularlythenotebooksandpapersofEdwardSapirandhisstudent MorrisSwadesh.Overtheyears,theapshasbecomeanarchivalmeeting place for a lineage of anthropologists who worked with Nuu-chahnulthpeopleintheAlberniValley .Papersandsundrydocumentsreveal another level of connection across generations: Swadesh followed up with Tseshaht and Hupacasath families who worked with Sapir, and Golla did the...


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