Stone figure identified by museum as indigenous artifact was actually carved by local artist

Originally published at: Stone figure identified by museum as indigenous artifact was actually carved by local artist | Boing Boing

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That seems like some baseless speculation on the museum’s part.

There’s no shame in saying “we mistook this figure for an indigenous artifact given the material, the style and the context in which it was found,” but it’s kind of messed up to suggest this artist defaced an actual artifact without any evidence to back it up.

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Seriously. Occam’s, my dude.

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There is also the possibility that the person who is claiming authorship may not be telling the truth. In this case, Occam isn’t as obviously sharp as in some other cases.

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He may be exaggerating.

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Elite academics tripping over each other to be politically correct while not knowing shit about the culture of which they speak.

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That very, very well may be the case. Definitely. But an alternate read yields a slow, measured – almost lawyerly? – approach prior to landing on Mr. Boudreau. They may be trying for politeness before the pounce; doesn’t hurt.

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I don’t think that has anything to do with what’s happened here… They in fact, actually consulted with local First Nations people before assessing it as indigenous. So I guess they are “elite academics” too…

Also, are there Elite academics who look down on the rest of society and act holier than thous? Sure, because they are human beings, with the same moral failings as every other type of human. Are we all garbage humans who should be lined up against the wall and shoot when the “revolution” comes (which, BTW, a not too small subset of Americans right now would happily do without a second though, especially if we dare to talk about racism and white supremacy in our classes)? No, we’re not. That’s just yet another shitty take of the culture wars from the right wing who are pissed that academia is not a white male privilege. You only started hearing people whinging about “elite academics” when people of color of all genders and women started getting phds in higher numbers.

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Seems like it would be a pretty tricky claim to fake.

The artist produced a photo of the same sculpture in its near-finished & pre-algae-covered state within days of the press release announcing the find. If it was a hoax then he’d have to make an almost perfect reproduction out of the same material in a very short amount of time based only on whatever pictures were included in the press release.

Plus he’s also apparently got other sculptures around that seashore, so his story fits with the evidence.

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The photos are very similar, so I doubt the artist is making up his claim. They don’t look like an exact match to my amateur eye, though that could be due to the angles of the photos and the unfinished state of the artist’s photo.

https://dmdlnu87i51n1.cloudfront.net/v1/uk/ckkn0vuz800003g5on7qh86e7/0x0:774x540/undefinedxundefined/totem_victoria_1.jpg

ETA: the second set of photos doesn’t embed, so you’ll have to click the link.

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Those two images look very different to me. The nose and lips appear significantly different in the two sculptures. I have no axe to grind here, but I’m certainly not convinced by those two images.

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The one on the right is an unfinished shot from before the artist carved the groove above the nostril, but you can still see how the little indentation at the tip of the nose matches up. Other parts appear slightly more rounded in the weathered version but that would make sense since it’s made of a soft sandstone that spent a few years getting weathered in and out of the water.

Even the museum has acknowledged that it appears to be the same piece, they just had to throw in that offhand comment about “maybe the stone already had a carving on it before this artist got to it.”

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Well, FTA (emphasis added):


But Lou-ann Neel, head of the museum’s Indigenous curation and repatriation department, has defended the assessment the sculpture – and feels the public has been too quick to pass judgment.

Other works by Boudreau dot the shoreline south of Victoria, but the area was once a large Lekwungen settlement. “Elders have talked about old carved stones prevalent in the area, but interestingly, not on this particular beach,” she said. An Indigenous artist herself, Neel points out that the shape – wide on one end and tapering at the other – appears in other Indigenous stone figures found in the area.

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The curator is herself an Indigenous artist. Don’t assume that only white people can be academics.

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There’s also this part

after studying the stone figure and consulting with local First Nations, the Royal British Columbia Museum announced in January

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The biggest threat to right wing conservatism is a ‘free’ discussion and development of ideas hence the way they demonize philosophical and intellectual practices. In the US the pandemic has seen the ‘academic sciences’ pigeon holed by the right wing as a ‘left ivory tower elitist’ machine… always in opposition of the ‘common folk’.

What a patronizing and insulting stance by the ‘right’ to propagate the idea that academic thought is beyond the average persons understanding, elitist… I accept that my auto mechanic will talk in a way that I don’t understand, I trust the mechanical sciences and the mechanics to make my car work and go from A to B!

From my relationship with University folk working in the aboriginal field, there would be an extreme sensitivity to indigenous artifacts and their handling and study.

Just waiting for the media reports that don’t say the academics stuffed up

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