The Fabric of Our Land: Salish Weaving at the MOA

Comments 26 by Rebecca Bollwitt

The Museum of Anthropology (“MOA”) along with the Musqueam Indian Band present the inspiring and interactive new exhibition The Fabric of Our Land: Salish Weaving, running from November 19, 2017 to April 15, 2018.

Curated by MOA Curator Susan Rowley, in collaboration with Salish weavers, the exhibition will feature the historically significant, but relatively unknown, loom-weaving tradition of Salish peoples, showcasing one of the world’s largest collections of intricately designed blankets on loan from contemporary weavers, as well as museums in Europe and the eastern United States.


Collection of the National Museum of Finland. Photo: Markku Haverinen.

The Fabric of Our Land: Salish Weaving

Where: Museum of Anthropology (UBC, 6393 NW Marine Drive)
When: November 19, 2017 to April 15, 2018

The exhibition is the result of a request from Musqueam Councillor and master weaver Wendy Grant John, who after viewing some of the weavings at the Smithsonian in Washington, DC was struck by their power to impart knowledge and inspiration to Salish weavers and the public. She has worked for more than 30 years to bring transformative change to Indigenous communities across the country and build stronger relationships between Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal people.

“The process of colonization took the same devastating toll on Salish weaving as it did on countless other Indigenous cultural practices,” said Rowley, MOA Curator. “Mass-produced Hudson Bay Company blankets replaced hand-woven creations, the reserve system constrained access to required resources, the Indian Act banned ceremonies where blankets played an integral role, and residential schools broke the intergenerational transmission of knowledge. The resilience and strength of amazing women have led to the revival of Salish weaving in different communities at different times.”

The Fabric of Our Land: Salish Weaving will take visitors on a journey through the past 200 years of Salish wool weaving from the early 1800s through to today’s vibrant Renaissance.

Ten of the earliest known Salish weavings are showcased in the exhibition on loan from the National Museum of Finland, the Perth Museum (Scotland), the Pitt-Rivers Museum (England), the Harvard Peabody Museum, and the Smithsonian Institution’s National Museum of Natural History. These institutions acquired these treasures from early traders and explorers who removed them from their traditional territories. Territories encompass the Lower Mainland of British Columbia, southeastern Vancouver Island, the Sunshine Coast, the Fraser Canyon, and Puget Sound.

These early works will be featured alongside five mountain goat wool blankets from MOA’s collection dating from the late 1800s and early 1900s. More than 20 weavings from the 1960s to present day – some from MOA’s collection and others on loan from contemporary weavers – will demonstrate the continuity of weaving despite colonization.

At various times throughout the run of the exhibition, Musqueam master weaver and educator Debra Sparrow will reactivate an old loom from MOA’s collection by weaving a new blanket. Visitors will also have the opportunity to further their understanding by learning through doing at several looms in the exhibition space.

Win Passes

I have a family 4-pack of tickets to give away for the opening day of this exhibition, on Sunday, November 19, 2017. Here’s how you can enter to win:

  • Leave a comment on this post (1 entry)
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I will draw one winner at random from all entries at 12:00pm on Thursday, November 16, 2017. Follow MOA on Twitter and Facebook for more information about this exhibition and more.

Update The winner is Nathalie Lopez!

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26 Comments  —  Comments Are Closed

  1. MichelleThursday, November 9th, 2017 — 4:01pm PST

    I would love to learn about Salish weaving techniques!

  2. Karen MillerThursday, November 9th, 2017 — 8:12pm PST

    Id love to attend this event. The MOA is my favourite museum in the Vancouver area.

  3. Cheri-Anne WatsonThursday, November 9th, 2017 — 8:26pm PST

    I would absolutely love to see this exhibit with my daughter

  4. HaroldThursday, November 9th, 2017 — 8:38pm PST

    Sounds awesome.

  5. FTThursday, November 9th, 2017 — 10:43pm PST

    Sounds interesting!

  6. daneFriday, November 10th, 2017 — 9:29am PST

    Fascination

  7. Jason BFriday, November 10th, 2017 — 9:51am PST

    Interesting exhibit.

  8. LindaFriday, November 10th, 2017 — 10:36am PST

    I love MOA. This looks like a great exhibit.

  9. ShelleyFriday, November 10th, 2017 — 11:17am PST

    I would love to see this exhibit!

  10. SusanFriday, November 10th, 2017 — 11:52am PST

    Planning a trip to MOA during the Xmas holidays to see this show. Beautiful and intricate design.

  11. Sylvia FergusonFriday, November 10th, 2017 — 1:15pm PST

    I have been wanting to get back to the Museum of Anthropology for years this would be amazing !

  12. TammyFriday, November 10th, 2017 — 5:58pm PST

    Wow.. Love it!

  13. EileenFriday, November 10th, 2017 — 7:46pm PST

    I love MoA!

  14. IanFriday, November 10th, 2017 — 8:33pm PST

    The MOA is great.

  15. WesSaturday, November 11th, 2017 — 8:47am PST

    Love the MOA!

  16. LuisaSunday, November 12th, 2017 — 9:11am PST

    I have no twitter but these can make it 😉

  17. KeithSunday, November 12th, 2017 — 9:11am PST

    MOA is a world class museum of its type, would love to see this
    exhibit by a master weaver.

  18. Nathalie LopezSunday, November 12th, 2017 — 9:27am PST

    I would love to take the family to the MOA!
    Me please 🙂

  19. AmSunday, November 12th, 2017 — 9:38am PST

    I would love to check this out!

  20. DBMonday, November 13th, 2017 — 9:10am PST

    Even if I don’t win the tickets I am going to see this! But winning would be very nice…..!

  21. Teresa KMonday, November 13th, 2017 — 11:07am PST

    I would love to win.

  22. CindyMonday, November 13th, 2017 — 7:46pm PST

    I love the moa…so important to learn about tgerich cultural history of Danish peoples

  23. Marissa PrestonMonday, November 13th, 2017 — 9:55pm PST

    This sounds like a cool experience.

  24. StephanieMonday, November 13th, 2017 — 10:22pm PST

    Super neat exhibition!

  25. Jessica TanWednesday, November 15th, 2017 — 6:10pm PST

    Sounds like something I’d be able to talk to my class about too!

  26. LindsayMonday, November 20th, 2017 — 9:25am PST

    This will be gorgeous I bet!

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