Symposium Participants

Dr. Linda Grimm, an Associate Professor of Anthropology at Oberlin College, teaches courses in archeology, physical anthropology, and museum studies.  Prof. Grimm is the project director and will serve as narrator of the symposium as well as primary adviser for the two exhibitions that accompany this project.  A social scientist by training, Prof. Grimm has been teaching courses and guiding student research in museum studies for the past five years.

Dr. Steven L. Grafe, is an expert in the history and arts of the Columbia River Plateau and a meticulous scholar whose knowledge and experience have been essential to the realization of the symposium and gallery exhibition.  His persistent efforts to locate material missing from the original Spalding inventory lie at the heart of this project.  He received his Ph.D. from the University of New Mexico in 1999 where his dissertation focused on the origins of floral-design beadwork in the southern Columbia River Plateau.  He has published numerous articles and exhibition reviews in such publications as the American Indian Art Magazine, Oregon Historical Quarterly, and Pioneer Trails as well as in edited collections.  


Mary Dodds Schlick holds a Masters of Science degree from Virginia Polytechnic University, and is a widely recognized scholar whose expertise resides in the area of basketry and weaving among native peoples of the Columbia Plateau.  She has many years experience living and working with native artists on the Colville (1950-56), Warm Springs (1960-64) and Yakama (1969-75) reservations. She has written the definitive book on the subject of Columbia Plateau basketry (Schlick 1994, 2002) and continues to publish and lecture regularly on this topic.  Mrs. Schlick is an adjunct curator of Native American Arts at the Maryhill Museum of Art in Goldendale WA, a consultant to numerous museums in the Northwest on Plateau native arts and curator of numerous exhibitions.  Her illustrated presentation will focus on the history and development of flat-twined bags on the Columbia River Plateau and constitutes a specific complement to the Allen Art Museum exhibition (see below).  In her talk she will show how changes in materials and designs reflect the changing circumstances of Native American life and will demonstrate the centrality of these crafts to Native American identity.   


Ms. Elizabeth Jane Atack graduated from Oberlin College in 2001 with majors in anthropology and archeological studies.  Her archival research made significant contributions to understanding the history of Oberlin’s flat-twined bag and achieved a precise understanding of how and when the bag became misplaced in the former Oberlin College Museum.  In addition to sharing some of the results of her research, she will talk about the educational value of the project for undergraduate students of anthropology, art history, and museum studies.  


Mr. Roland Baumann, Archivist at Oberlin College provides bibliographical instruction as well as direction on projects such as this one.  He has a Ph.D. in American History and has been archivist and adjunct professor of history at Oberlin for 15 years.  He will use the detective work required by this project to show how people are using archival records to make new discoveries and to use these materials in innovative ways.  

Prof. Joyce M. Szabo, Chair of the Dept. of Art and Art History at the University of New Mexico, is a widely recognized scholar in the field of Native American art.  She was the first specialist to examine our flat-twined bag and to provide an assessment of its authenticity.  Prof. Szabo is no stranger to Oberlin for she wrote her doctoral dissertation on the famous Howling Wolf ledger book that is owned by the Allen Memorial Art Museum.  Her study, Howling Wolf and the History of Ledger Art, was published by the University of New Mexico Press in 1994.  She is the editor and a contributing author for Painters, Patrons, and Identity: essays in Native American art to honor J. J. Brody, which was published by the University of New Mexico Press in 2001.  She is one of the top experts in the field of Native American art and culture and has numerous publications, catalogues and exhibitions to her credit.  She will chair the panel discussion on the repatriation of Native American art and material culture.  

Also joining us are two Nez Perce tribal members, Mr. Josiah Pinkham, the tribe’s ethnographer, and Ms. Lynette Pinkham, an expert weaver.  Ms. Pinkham will demonstrate and discuss flat twined weaving techniques in master classes for interested attendees.  Both Mr. Pinkham, and Ms. Pinkham will receive the bag and accompany it on its journey home.


External Reviewers

Dr. Sharon Dean is the head of the Cultural Anthropology and Visual Arts Department at the Cleveland Museum of Natural History and has had a long-term interest in the "social life" of objects.  She is also an expert on Native American basketry and is a co-author of a book just completed on Paiute and Shoshone baskets of the Owens Valley, California.

Dr. Joshua Piker (OC’89) is an Assistant Professor at the University of Oklahoma with a specialty in Native American and Colonial History.  His publications have appeared in Ethnohistory and Reviews in American  History,  and he is completing a book on the eighteenth century Creek Indian community of Oakfuskee.