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In 2002, the Hood Museum returned a Tlingit Chilkat shirt to southeast Alaska. The shirt, which was said to have been made before the 1880s, had been in possession of Axel Rasmussen, the superintendent of schools in Wrangell, AK. After his death, it found its way into the possession of a New York City art dealer, and when it was not sold, it was donated to Dartmouth in 1959.
Museums originated from Western collectors displaying “artifacts” from other cultures. Indeed, many items in museum collections are there because they were donated by collectors of such “ethnic” artifacts. So, given this early practice of showcasing travels, conquest and wealth, what is the responsibility of the museum today? Do museums have an obligation to educate the public about other cultures and their history? Even if that position were the consensus, which it is far from being, there is still more discourse about whether or not an institution should be the final proprietor of knowledge that originates from indigenous communities and how a museum should fulfill its purpose if it should not be. For example, some are pushing museums to consult with indigenous communities to make curatorial decisions.
Native Americans and museums have historically had a tenuous relationship which is tied to the root of both what museums are meant to do and how much Native “art” over the years has made it into museums. I am by no means an expert, but I will attempt to provide some context on this subject. I am Tlingit, a tribe native to southeastern Alaska. I am Raven moiety from the Ganaxteidi clan. My Tlingit name is Andaxjoon. I am a beginning student of my language, which I have tried to use in this piece, though English grammar has been applied to some of them for the purposes of the article. Some items created by Tlingit people are in possession of the Hood Museum of Art, and thus, I will mostly be using those as examples in this article because they are the items on which I have the most authority to speak. As another disclaimer, in terms of my own community, I am no cultural authority. My thoughts on these subjects are in a constant state of growth and development. Thus, this column will not just be a reflection on the Native American collection at the Hood but also a reflection on my own evolving relationship with that collection.
Over the course of summer 2018 and winter 2019, I have written 14 installations of this column. At its inception, I was excited to bring to light the musings of someone who likes sports but doesn’t always understand them. For some context: when I started writing for The Dartmouth during my freshman year, I was just getting interested in sports and I thought that writing for the sports section would be a great way to connect with my new interest. I think that developed nicely into this column. It was a great, relaxed way to write during sophomore summer, and I had a lot of fun reflecting on my personal experiences. However, as of late I have found myself in the position of a Sporadic Fan, rather than an Accidental Fan. Thus, this column has become increasingly difficult to write. Indeed, finding topics to write about has become a weekly struggle. Because of that, my work will be appearing in a different capacity in The Dartmouth next term. The plan, if everything works out is to create a different column at the art section starting this spring.
Have you ever experienced that feeling when your favorite character gets phased out of a television show or maybe just gets mercilessly killed off? “Game of Thrones” fans, I’m talking to you (RIP Ned Stark — The North Remembers). It can be devastating to lose a favorite character, especially if they were your connection to the show.
Neither dance nor football is easy. Both take extreme skill and stamina. But while football is inarguably a sport, I wonder if dance can be classified as such. The 2007 movie “The Game Plan” intimates that dance is even more difficult than football. The lead female character, a ballet teacher, is getting ready to teach Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson’s character, an NFL football player, how to dance. She proceeds to take him through a crazy workout that has him gasping for air and in desperate need of water. As he tries to shrug off his exhaustion, she says, “If ballet were easy, they’d call it football.”
The Accidental Fan: Toto, I’ve a Feeling We’re Not in the Ivy League Anymore
The Accidental Fan: May the Red Sox Be With You
You might wonder why people enjoy going to live concerts. If you can get better sound quality in the comfort of your own home, why would you venture out, driving, riding or even flying long distances just to be pushed and jostled and deafened? However, someone who likes going to concerts might tell you that the live performance, the energy of the performers and the crowd make it worth it. Going to a sports game is much the same. Why wouldn’t you just watch on TV? You get commentary! You can actually see what is going on! You get instant replays! But there is something unique and energizing about being in the stadium or arena with a crowd. The action is closer, people all around you are reacting to their team and you may be deeply affected by those reactions.
In this column over the summer, I explored how I became an “Accidental Fan” and the many different ways that all types of fans can engage with sports. Too often, the world of sports is overshadowed by the idea that to be a fan, one must know everything about a sport or multiple sports and watch them religiously. Well, as I discussed last summer, that has never been my experience with sports. And during my off term this past fall, I had the opportunity to add more sports and teams to my list of Accidental Interests.
The Accidental Fan: Who Are These Men and Why Are They Tackling Each Other?
This article will commence a new, ongoing and semi-random series in my column: “Sports Films for NARPs.” Columns for this series will address sports films that are potentially accessible to non-sports fans.
The Accidental Fan: The Suplex Saga, Episode III — Return of the GLOW
The Accidental Fan: The Suplex Saga, Episode II - New Japan Strikes Back
For my next three columns, I am choosing to tackle a contested subject: professional wrestling. And yes, I am talking full on World Wrestling Entertainment Wrestlemania-style wrestling. First of all, if you are a casual sports fan, you might be wondering: “Is wrestling even a sport?” Well, it is certainly athletic. Doing all of those flips and hits sure is not easy. However, you might point out that all the fights are choreographed, and the winner is predetermined, which takes the sportsmanship out of it. After all, are not sports meant to be a contest with others, or at least with oneself?
In my last two columns, I focused on my personal entry points into baseball and hockey. However, I have yet to find my personal entry point into basketball. I have been to two basketball games in my life — three if you count the time I went to interview fans for The Dartmouth — though I was a little too preoccupied with interviews to focus on the game. Both professional games featured the Boston Celtics. I attended the first because my competitive dance team was asked to perform at TD Garden before the game. I’ll admit, my engagement was low. I was too busy focusing on not screwing up while dancing on the jumbotron. Besides, at the time, I could not fathom why people even liked sports.
I’ve heard lots of complaints about how hard hockey is to follow due to its fast pace. But that is exactly what makes it fun to watch. I am a fan of Boston teams, so my favorite hockey team is naturally the Boston Bruins. Recently, I went with a friend to a Bruins game. It was his first one, so throughout the evening he asked me numerous questions about the fast-paced game. I don’t think I gave him a single satisfactory answer by the standards of a true hockey fanatic, and yet we still had a fantastic time cheering the Bruins on to victory.
Sports can be polarizing. Either two people root for competing teams or enjoy completely different sports, while in other cases, one person is a fan, and another is not. There is also a perceived tension between those who like the arts and humanities versus those who like sports. While people can like both, examples of harmony between the two in popular media are rare. In high school, I was one of those people who participated in the arts and did not care about sports. I knew people who liked both or were high school athletes, but I never took any interest. More recently, however, I have discovered several entry points for the casual fan and have had a lot of interesting sports experiences along the way. This column will explore the position of casual fans as well as the complex culture surrounding sports.
When Dartmouth’s Triathlon Club was founded five years ago by Kendall Farnham ’14, Sara Heard ’15 and Nicolina Mascia ’15., the group of students wanted to fill the void for athletes who wish to expand to multiple sports.
Women's Track and Field: