(Un)settling Mary Weekes: Collecting Indigenous Beadwork and Confronting Settler Identity in Twentieth-Century Saskatchewan

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Gaudet, Manon




This thesis examines the acquisition and exhibition history of a collection of Plains Indigenous beadwork donated to the Royal Saskatchewan Museum by the Regina-based author and collector Mary Weekes (1884-1980). Taking the rural cottage where she acquired her collection as a contact zone, this thesis considers how Weekes developed unusually intimate settler-Indigenous friendships that forced her to confront her complicity in colonial practices of dispossession and assimilation. It also interrogates how her dedication to Saskatchewan’s marginalized Indigenous peoples at times irreconcilably conflicted with her own marginalized status as a woman with unusual professional ambitions—the pursuit of which was aided by participation in the same colonial systems she critiqued. Consequentially, while collecting is typically understood as a settler’s attempt to invent a sense of belonging, I argue that the social circumstances of her collecting activities alternatively (un)settled Mary Weekes, as she both resisted and confirmed colonial hierarchies.


Art History
Literature - Canadian (English)




Carleton University

Thesis Degree Name: 

Master of Arts: 

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Thesis Degree Discipline: 

Art History

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Theses and Dissertations

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