The American Museum of Natural History houses the most extensive collection of Northwest Coast Indian art in existence. It includes material from virtually every native group that once lived along the west coast of British Columbia and Alaska. From the Land of the Totem Poles traces the history of this magnificent collection, beginning in the late nineteenth century when the customs, languages, and the art of the coastal peoples were still intact. Shortly after the collection was formed, between 1880 and 1910, Indian culture in this region went into a severe decline, to be revived a half century later as a new generation of native North Americans reclaimed their heritage.
Aldona Jonaitis is the director of the Museum of the North and professor of anthropology at the University of Alaska Fairbanks. Previously, Jonaitis served as vice-president for public programs at the American Museum of Natural History. Her seminal books include Art of the Northwest Coast, Chiefly Feasts, The Yuquot Whalers’ Shrine and From the Land of the Totem Poles.
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