Professor Alison Brown

Professor Alison Brown

Professor Alison Brown’s Travel Award enabled her to undertake a community consultation project
during the summer of 2017 at the Piikani First Nation, in Southern Alberta. This was with a view to
developing a digitisation project focussed on a collection of approximately twenty parfleche bags
collected in 1929 on the Piikani Nation and now held in the collection of the Museum of Archaeology
and Anthropology at the University of Cambridge (MAA). These finely executed bags are made from
rawhide and are painted with rich designs that relate to Blackfoot traditional knowledge. Used to store
provisions such as dried berries, or, in some cases, to hold ceremonial objects, they were made over
100 years ago. During previous research visits to the MAA funded by the Leverhulme Trust, these
bags were specifically identified by Blackfoot colleagues as having the capacity to generate cultural
knowledge into the present and are exactly the kind of artefacts they would like to use in their schools.
They are also keen to have them be used as part of a ‘culture kiosk’ initiative which is underway, and
which aims to insert IT-stations in public spaces, such as the Band Office, in the Piikani community,
which would allow people beyond school children to access images and associated with this
information.