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Episode 2: A Box of Treasures

Updated: Apr 13, 2023


The Great Box at the Pitt Rivers Museum, photo by Leah Binns


In 2015 carvers Gwaai and Jaalen Edenshaw travelled all the way to Oxford to carve a replica of a masterpiece of Haida art: a remarkable bentwood box that had been held in the Pitt Rivers Museum collection for over 130 years.

But why were Jaalen and Gwaai recreating the box in the first place? Why was having the original bentwood box return to Haida Gwaii not an option?  And how did the box end up all the way in England?

In this episode, Ry Moran talks with Gwaai and Jaalen Edenshaw, Marenka Thompson-Odlum, Heather Igloliorte, and Nika Collison about the way museums can at once obscure history or be powerful sites of truth-telling.


Gwaai Edenshaw: http://www.gwaai.com/


Jaalen Edenshaw: http://jaalen.net/


Haida Gwaai Museum SAAHLINDA NAAY: https://haidagwaiimuseum.ca/


More information Marenka Thompson-Odlum’s Labelling Matters Project: https://www.prm.ox.ac.uk/labelling-matters












The Star House Pole at the Pitt Rivers Museum, photo by Leah Binns

Episode Transcript



More information and Links:

The Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s Call to Action on Museums and Archives:

67. We call upon the federal government to provide funding to the Canadian Museums Association to undertake, in collaboration with Aboriginal peoples, a national review of museum policies and best practices to determine the level of compliance with the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples and to make recommendations.

68. We call upon the federal government, in collaboration with Aboriginal peoples, and the Canadian Museums Association to mark the 150th anniversary of Canadian Confederation in 2017 by establishing a dedicated national funding program for commemoration projects on the theme of reconciliation.

The United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples Article 15:

Indigenous peoples have the right to the dignity and diversity of their cultures, traditions, histories and aspirations which shall be appropriately reflected in education and public information.

United Nation’s Sustainable Development Goals: https://sdgs.un.org/goals



This podcast is created through direct work of an incredible group of people. It is produced and written by Karina Greenwood and Ry Moran, with editing and script support by Cassidy Villebrun-Buracas, mixing and mastering by Matheus Terra, with music by Ry Moran.


Special thanks to Christine Walde, Emily Garry, Kaelan Smith, Lisa Abram, Molly Hanley, Samantha McFarlane, and Sophie Beriault for all their work and support on this project.


Taapwaywin is made possible through the University of Victoria Strategic Framework Impact Fund and with support from the UVic Libraries and CFUV Radio. This podcast was created on unceded lək̓ʷəŋən and W̱SÁNEĆ territories.

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