In the past few years, the concept of «liminality» has become a kind of pet theme within the discipline of Cultural Studies, lending itself to phenomena of transgression and systemic demarcation. This anthology employs theories of liminality to discuss Canada’s geographic and symbolic boundaries, taking its point of departure from the observation that «Canada» itself, as a cultural, political, and geographic entity, encapsulates elements of the «liminal.» The essays comprised in this volume deal with fragmented and contradictory practices in Canada, real and imagined borders, as well as contact zones, thresholds, and transitions in Anglo-Canadian and French-Canadian texts, discussing topics such as the U.S./Canadian border, migration, French-English relations, and encounters between First Nations and settlers.
Painting (the) In-Between: Twentieth-Century Indigenous Border Art at Glacier/Waterton National Parks (Alexandra Ganser)
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Painting (the) In-Between: Twentieth-Century Indigenous Border Art at Glacier/Waterton National Parks
Abstract: Images of ‘the Indian’ played a major role in promotional campaigns by a fledgling tourism industry in the early twentieth century both in the United States and Canada. Railroad magnate Louis W. Hill, in the context of the “See America First!” campaign, which successfully carted eastern tourists to Glacier National Park in the U.S. and Waterton Lakes National Park in Canada, hired Anglo-American photographers as well as Austrian, Swiss, and German artists such as Winold Reiss to portray the Piegan (southern Blackfoot) for promotional purposes. In line with the dominant discourse about indigenous peoples at the time, Hill’s campaigns promoted both National Parks as a prime contact zone for the ‘civilized’ tourist to get in touch with the ‘vanishing’ American/Canadian. At the same time, the development of an artistically flexed tourist gaze also influenced young Native artists in their own work. In this essay, I discuss artworks that articulate European-Anglo-Native relations in the context of this promotional practice at the U.S.-Canadian border by Native artists. While the tourist industry on the border profited by the image of the Noble Savage, Native Americans/First Nations artists responded to artistic cultural contact with their own pictorial versions of the ‘Indian,’ asking how they used their first-hand knowledge of European painting in order to develop their own artistic voices and to promote indigenous perspectives.
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