The Hilda Neatby Prize English Article
Cecilia Morgan. “Performing for ‘Imperial Eyes’: Bernice Loft and Ethel Brant Monture, Ontario, 1930s-1960s”, in/dans Katie Pickles and/et Myra Rutherdale, Contact Zones: Aboriginal and Settler Women in Canada’s Colonial Past, Vancouver: UBC Press, 2006.
Cecilia Morgan has produced an innovative and insightful study giving voice and agency to two twentieth century Native women performers of Iroquois identity. She makes sense of their experience and what it can reveal about the ways in which Native women were perceived and perceived themselves by situating them in the wider context of White-Native relations and by analyzing cultural practices inside their own communities. She provides a rigorous treatment of the limited sources at her disposal revealing how aware she is of the complexity of the historian’s task. Truly impressive is the way in which she applies the most recent feminist theoretical scholarship on imperialism and colonialism to read Loft and Monture’s initiatives and attitudes. Through these case studies she also demonstrates the extent to which “performance is not unidirectional” taking into account audience reactions. Indeed, her sophisticated and enlightening use of the literature surrounding performance further deepens our understanding of this conceptual tool and also reveals the promise it holds for other historians who chose to apply it in their own fields of expertise.