First Nations, Museums, Narrations: Stories of the 1929 Franklin Motor Expedition to the Canadian Prairies

Research output: Book/ReportBook


When the Franklin Motor Expedition set out across the Canadian Prairies to gather First Nations artifacts, it was with the assumption that they were collecting mementos of dying cultures. As brutal assimilation policies threatened to decimate First Nations cultures across Canada, an extensive program of ethnographic salvage was in place. Despite having only three members, the expedition amassed hundreds of items, which now comprise the largest single collection of materials from Prairie First Nations held in a British museum.

In the past two decades, the relationship between Canadian museums and First Nations has undergone a realignment of power and this shift is now beginning to transform curatorial practices at British museums. In this book, Alison K. Brown looks at the Franklin Motor Expedition from multiple perspectives, consulting descendants of the collectors and members of the affected First Nations and reviewing expedition images and the artifacts themselves. In doing so, she explores not only the intellectual and political contexts within which the collection was made but also the complex relationships between museums, anthropologists, and First Nations.

Accessibly written and vigorously researched, First Nations, Museums, Narrations raises important questions about the role and purpose of collections in the twenty-first century and considers the way forward for indigenous peoples and the museums that house their cultural treasures.
Original languageEnglish
Place of PublicationVancouver
PublisherUniversity of British Columbia Press
Number of pages320
ISBN (Print)0774827254, 978-0774827256
Publication statusPublished - 21 Apr 2014

Bibliographical note

Shortlisted for the 2015 Canadian Historical Association Aboriginal History Book Prize


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