Decolonizing Both Anthropology and the Museum: Native American Practitioners’ Perspectives

CHAIR: FAYARD, Kelly (Poarch Band of Creek Indians/Yale U)


AGUILAR, Joseph (San Ildefonso Pueblo/UPenn) 

RYKER-CRAWFORD, Jessie (White Earth Chippewa/IAIA)

CHAVEZ-LAMAR, Cynthia (Hope-Tewa/Navajo/Nat’l Museum of the American Indian)

CHAVARRIA, Antonio (Santa Clara Pueblo/Museum of American Indian Arts and Culture)

Both anthropology and museum collecting share a colonial past with a power imbalance between exogenous ethnographers and curators on the one hand, and the communities they seek to represent, on the other.  Native American communities, in particular, have been the subject of extensive anthropological research and museum collections but rarely control the presentations and images of their own culture This session will discuss the transformations when Native American communities demand and achieve control of their own cultural property both in museums and via ethnographically collected materials such as language, oral narratives, and religious traditions.  Examples of these transformative narratives  will be presented by Native American representatives describing installations at the National Museum of the American Indian, the Institute of American Indian Arts, and the Museum of American Indian Arts and Culture.  This panel will be a roundtable style event, and we encourage participation from the audience!  A reception will follow.

Listen to the Plenary Session online