Council for Museum Anthropology
Volunteered - Oral Presentation Session
Loo Taas, a famous cedar canoe created by Haida artist Bill Reid for Expo 86 in Vancouver, B.C., and paddled home to Haida Gwaii via an ancient trade route, is an object with a fascinating history in itself. However, A little-known fact about Loo Taas is that she had four offspring in the form of fiberglass replicas created in 1987 by Bill Reid and his friend and nautical engineer, Don Martin. Reid jokingly referred to the replica canoes as his “Tupperware fleet”. Although the history of Loo Taas is well known and well documented, very little is known about the vessels that comprise the Tupperware fleet, each of which have gone on to have interesting lives of their own. In this paper I focuses specifically on one of the fiberglass replicas, the Black Eagle canoe, and begin to trace a social life for this vessel paying attention to particular biographical moments in which Black Eagle was constructed as a museum interactive, a priceless piece art, and a symbol of truth and reconciliation. This paper advances a biographical trend in anthropology and museology toward a consideration of replica objects not as representations of the original, but as material expressions in their own right with active social lives and distinct biographies.