Potlatch Dollars

Neo-traditional Jewelry by Alison Bremner

The copper shield, or tináa, was an object of wealth and prestige among Northwest Coast First Nations people. It was brought out to display during the potlatch and represented more than just the value of the copper itself. It bestowed the owner with great respect and power.

'Potlatch Dollars' resulted from my consideration of the concept of money, as any self-employed artist will do. Tináa's once held a money-like value that today is held by dollar bills. Money is the object that contemporary society chooses to place value on.

As a child of two cultures, I view these works less as an appropriation from one culture or another but as a joining of the two. The Potlatch Dollar is a symbol of the past and present that all Northwest Coast residents now live in. 

- Alison Bremner, November 2013