CAMTalk: History Series -- Fictive Kin: Re-visiting the Relations of Frank Speck and His Indigenous Interlocutors
Saturday, October 15
with Margaret Bruchac
Frank Gouldsmith Speck, perhaps the most prolific salvage ethnographer of his generation, conducted ground-breaking research with multiple Native American and First Nations individuals and communities over the course of his long career at the University of Pennsylvania. Speck spent many summers in Gloucester, where he hosted the Native activists who founded the Algonquin Indian Council of New England. Speck also encouraged the work of Mohegan culture-bearers Gladys and Harold Tantaquidgeon, founders of the Tantaquidgeon Indian Museum, who blended anthropological research with community activism to preserve Mohegan history.
At the University of Pennsylvania, Dr. Margaret M. Bruchac (Nulhegan Abenaki) is an Associate Professor of Anthropology, Coordinator of Native American and Indigenous Studies, and Associate Faculty in the Penn Cultural Heritage Center. Bruchac also directs “The Wampum Trail,” a restorative research project designed to reconnect wampum belts in museums with their related Native communities. She has long served as a consultant to New England museums, including Historic Northampton, Historic Deerfield, and Old Sturbridge Village. Her 2018 book – Savage Kin: Indigenous Informants and American Anthropologists (University of Arizona Press 2018) – was the winner of the Council for Museum Anthropology Book Award.
By critically re-examining the correspondence and collections that document Speck’s research relations, Bruchac illustrates how restorative methods can be used to recover more nuanced understandings of Indigenous people and objects in museums.