Among the articles appearing in Museum Anthropology 31(1):1-16. [Spring 2008] is a fine paper by Aaron Glass titled "Crests on Cotton: “Souvenir” T-shirts and the Materiality of Remembrance among the Kwakwaka’wakw of British Columbia." The author's abstract reads:
This essay examines the production and circulation of printed T-shirts as “souvenirs” within Kwakwaka’wakw (Kwakiutl) communities in British Columbia. Like button blankets in larger Northwest Coast cultures of visual display, such shirts are unique material forms that facilitate individual memories for specific events, collective family and village commemorations, and flexible affiliations at varying levels of identification. Drawing anthropological attention to the materiality of clothing as it mediates social relations, I address a mundane—if hallmark—form of modernity as it is indigenized within a micro-economy of First Nations gift exchanges, fund-raisers, and thrift stores, where it visually enables both the remembrance of local events and the re-membering of social groups.The article is accompanied by fourteen black and white photographs of shirts that illustrate the points that Glass makes in his paper. For all who might take an interest in them, these same images are presented below in color. All photographs were taken by Aaron Glass and those wishing to correspond about them are urged to contact him directly, although responsible comments on this post are very welcome as well. The original article can be found inside AnthroSource here.
Figure 1: T-shirt design by Beau Dick, distributed at his 1993 potlatch in Alert Bay, BC (photo by author).
Figure 2: T-shirt design by George Hunt Jr., distributed at a family potlatch c.1995 (photo by author).
Figure 3: T-shirt based on a design by Fah Ambers and sold in Alert Bay in the late 1970s (photo by author).
Figure 4: T-shirt designed by William Wasden Jr., Alert Bay (photo by author).
Figure 5: Soccer jersey belonging to Kevin Cranmer with his hereditary title displayed, Alert Bay, 2003 (photo by author).
Figure 6: T-shirt designed by Kevin Cranmer for distribution at his 2004 feast (photo by author).
Figure 7: T-shirt designed by Christine Hunt for a family potlatch, 1992 (photo by author).
Figure 8: T-shirt distributed at a potlatch memorializing Maggie Frank (photo by author).
Figure 9: T-shirt and sweatshirt design commemorating two Cook Family reunions, in 1991 and 2001, in Alert Bay (photo by author).
Figure 10: T-shirt distributed to family members at the Granny Axu (Agnes Alfred) Memorial Potlatch, 1997 (design by Harold Alfred, photo by author).
Figure 11: Sweatshirts with designs by William Wasden Jr.. for the ’Namgis (Alert Bay) and Mamalilikala (Village Island) First Nations (photo by author).
Figure 12: T-shirt designed by K’odi Nelson parodying the advertising slogan for Molson Canadian beer (photo by author).
Figure 13: T-shirt designed by William Wasden Jr. for a video training group in Alert Bay in the mid 1980s (photo by author).
Figure 14: T-shirt designed by Christine Hunt in 1994 and distributed at a family memorial potlatch in 1996 (photo by author).