Native Americans Talk Back And Looking Towards The Future

923 Words Apr 28th, 2016 4 Pages
Native Americans Talk Back and Looking Towards the Future
The interpretation and appropriation of culture within museums came under attack starting in the 1960’s. Native American groups raised questions about the biases and agendas of curators and museums and demanded that their voices be heard in the political arena. Many Native American organizations argued that if Whites are the ones interpreting and appropriating other cultures, then it is actually their culture on exhibition.(King 1998: 96, Stocking Jr. 1985: 88, Patterson 2014: 52). Deidre Sklar, a researcher of Native American artifacts, stated that: “Time and space in a museum, are defined in terms of the confines of the collection, not of the context from which [the collection is] drawn. Visiting hours from ten to five and the glass exhibit case define EuroAmerican, not Native American time and space” (Weil 2004:3). In response to this outcry, the Museums of the American Indian Act was created and signed on November 28, 1989, enabling the creation of the National Museum of the American Indian (NMAI). The NMAI is arguably the most famous native-run institution and acts as a living memorial to Native Americans and their traditions (King 1998: 106). Before the establishment of the NMAI there had been no American or Canadian national institution strictly dedicated to native cultures. Native Americans from all the major tribes of North America collaborated with the museum community in building design, landscaping and…
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