This interdisciplinary and international collection of essays illuminates the importance and effects of Indigenous perspectives for museums. The contributors challenge and complicate the traditionally close colonialist connections between museums and nation-states and urge more activist and energized roles for museums in the decades ahead.
The essays in section 1 consider ethnography’s influence on how Europeans represent colonized peoples. Section 2 essays analyze curatorial practices, emphasizing how exhibitions must serve diverse masters rather than solely the curator’s own creativity and judgment, a dramatic departure from past museum culture and practice. Section 3 essays consider tribal museums that focus on contesting and critiquing colonial views of American and Canadian history while serving the varied needs of the indigenous communities.
The institutions examined in these pages range broadly from the National Museum of the American Indian in Washington DC; the Oneida Nation Museum in Oneida, Wisconsin; tribal museums in the Klamath River region in California; the tribal museum in Zuni, New Mexico; the Museum of the American Indian in New York City; and the District Six Museum in Cape Town, South Africa.