The Force of Family: Repatriation, Kinship, and Memory on Haida Gwaii

The Force of Family: Repatriation, Kinship, and Memory on Haida Gwaii

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By Cara Krmpotich
University of Toronto Press, Scholarly Publishing Division © 2014
World Rights
240 Pages 26 Images
ISBN 9781442614505
Published Apr 2014
Online discount: 25%
 $24.95    $18.71
ISBN 9781442646575
Published May 2014
Online discount: 25%
 $60.00    $45.00
ebook (EPUB format)
ISBN 9781442666078
Published Apr 2014
Online discount: 24%
Full purchase $24.95

Over the course of more than a decade, the Haida Nation triumphantly returned home all known Haida ancestral remains from North American museums. In the summer of 2010, they achieved what many thought was impossible: the repatriation of ancestral remains from the Pitt Rivers Museum at the University of Oxford. The Force of Family is an ethnography of those efforts to repatriate ancestral remains from museums around the world.

Focusing on objects made to honour the ancestors, Cara Krmpotich explores how memory, objects, and kinship connect and form a cultural archive. Since the mid-1990s, Haidas have been making button blankets and bentwood boxes with clan crest designs, hosting feasts for hundreds of people, and composing and choreographing new songs and dances in the service of repatriation. The book comes to understand how shared experiences of sewing, weaving, dancing, cooking and feasting lead to the Haida notion of “respect,” the creation of kinship and collective memory, and the production of a cultural archive.

Cara Krmpotich is an assistant professor in the Museum Studies program, Faculty of Information, at the University of Toronto.

List of Illustrations

List of Tables


A Note on Orthography


Chapter 1: Introduction

Chapter 2: Departures and Arrivals

Chapter 3: Family, Morality and Haida Repatriation

Chapter 4: The Structural Qualities and Cultural Values of Haida Kinship

Chapter 5: The Values of Yahgudang: The Relationships Between Self and Others

Chapter 6: The Structuring of Kinship and History

Chapter 7: The Place of Repatriation within Collective Memory

Chapter 8: Conclusions and Beginnings


Project Interviews


The Force of Family explains the intimate tie between Haida repatriation and kinship in its associated forms of memory, history, and respect. This is a book that gives the reader a real understanding of Haida concerns and approaches when it comes to repatriation.”

Larry J. Zimmerman, Professor of Anthropology and Museum Studies, Indiana University–Purdue University Indianapolis

“A readable and nuanced discussion of Haida culture and the changes it has experienced during the ‘repatriation era.’”

Robert K. Paterson, Professor of Law, University of British Columbia

“There is no doubt that this book is an important contribution to our understanding of Haida communities and the impact of repatriation on their understandings of themselves, as well as what our understanding of repatriation following the Haida should be.”

Joshua A. Bell, Curator of Globalization in the Department of Anthropology at the National Museum of Natural History, Smithsonian Institution

‘This work is beautifully crafted contribution to repatriation and critical heritage studies… Highly recommended.’

K.S. Fine-Dare, Choice Magazine vol 52:04:2014