IPinCH Fellow: April 2013-March 2015
PhD, University of British Columbia
Raised in the only Indian Reserve in Alaska, Mique’l Dangeli is of the Tsimshian Nation of Metlakatla Indian Community. She belongs to the Eagle Clan of the Gispaxlo’ots and holds the Tsimshian name Shu’goot Laxsgiik (Devoted Eagle) and Tlingit name Taakw Shaawát (Winter Woman). Her passion for engaging with critical issues surrounding First Nation art history has developed out of and continues to be informed by her hereditary rights and privileges in ceremony as well as her role as a teacher of her people’s language, song, dance, painting, carving, and design. The experience of carrying these responsibilities from a young age inspired Mique’l to study of Northwest Coast Native Art History at the University of Washington, where she graduated with her B.A. in 2002.
To refine and build upon her critical engagement with First Nations art history, Indigenous research methodologies, and cultural and intellectual property rights, Mique’l earned her Master’s Degree in art history from UBC in 2006. Her thesis focused on the work of B.A. Haldane, a 19th Century Tsimshian photographer who establihed a portrait studio in Metlakatla in 1899. Considered to be the first professional Native photographer on the Northwest Coast, Haldane’s photography documented the subversive means through which Tsimshian cultural practices continued during a time of intense colonial oppression. As his photographs were removed from Metlakatla to be absorbed into archives across North America, Mique’l approach to community-based research repatriated his images back to his family and community as well as significantly disrupted the dominate colonial narrative of Metlakatla’s history. Her M.A. research has been published widely and she has been invited to speak at conferences and University classes on it as well as other topics relating to First Nation art and performance.
Mique’l is currently a PhD Candidate specializing in Northwest Coast First Nations Art History at UBC. She and her husband Mike Dangeli share the leadership of internationally renowned Northwest Coast masks-dancing group, the Git Hayetsk Dancers (People of the Copper Shield) based in the unceded territories of the Coast Salish peoples. The Git Hayetsk share the songs and dances of their ancestors as well as compose and choreograph new ones to reflect the challenges and victories of their experiences as First Nations people today. Having danced in and led dance groups in Alaska, Washington, and BC through her life, Mique’l’s situated knowledge is the lens through which she approaches her doctoral research. Her thesis is the first art historical analysis to focus on the work Northwest Coast First Nations composers and choreographers whose work is vital to dance group performances. It specifically engages with issues around the local and global interpretations of culture, rights, knowledge, and sovereignty. Her research investigates the artistic processes through which composer and choreographers create new songs and dances within and as assertions of cultural protocols. She argues that these artistic processes are strategic acts of self-determination that are both deeply rooted in ancient practices and grounded in contemporary First Nations issues. A primary focus of her research is the tension between public performance of songs and dances and their ceremonial use, specifically around issues of Indigenous copyright. One of the main objectives of Mique’l’s doctoral research is to create a critical awareness around the issues of ownership and usage of song and dances among Northwest Coast First Nations peoples and how these systems of protection, maintenance, and Indigenous copyright interfaces with intercultural audiences both in live performance and through social media.
MIQUE'L'S BLOG POSTS
Making Tangible the Intangible: Tsleil-Waututh and Lummi Nations Raise a Totem Pole in Solidarity
Oct 18 2013 — “Warrior up!” This was the call to action declared by Ta’ah (Amy George), a highly respected Grandmother of the Tsleil-Waututh Nation, when she learned of Kinder-Morgan’s proposal to build pipelines carrying oil from the Tar Sands in Alberta through her people’s traditional and unceded territory. More »
Congratulations to IPinCH Fellow Mique’l Dangeli
Oct 21 2013 — Mique’l is the recipient of the Society of Dance History Scholars (SDHS) Selma Jeanne Cohen Award for excellence in dance scholarship. Mique’l was granted the award for her paper, “Dancing Our Politics: Contemporary Issues in Northwest Coast First Nations Dance.” More »