Franz Boas’s 1897 monograph The Social Organization and the Secret Societies
of the Kwakiutl Indians was a landmark in anthropology for its integrative approach to
ethnography, the use of multiple media, and the collaborative role of Boas’s Indigenous
partner, George Hunt. Not only did the volume draw on existing museum collections
from around the world, but the two men also left behind a vast and now widely distributed
archive of unpublished materials relevant to the creation and afterlife of this
seminal text. This article discusses an international and intercultural project to create
a new, annotated critical edition of the book that reassembles the dispersed materials
and reembeds them within Kwakwaka’wakw ontologies of both persons and things.
The project mobilizes digital media to link together disparate collections, scholars, and
Indigenous communities in order to recuperate long-dormant ethnographic records for
use in current and future cultural revitalization.