Contesting Knowledge: Museums and Indigenous Perspectives

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Overview

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.
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Editorial Reviews

Western American Literature

"Regardless of one's ethnicity, affiliation or experience, museum professionals and public historians alike, especially those with little or no experience working with indigenous communities or other stakeholder audiences, will find this volume concerning an emerging aspect of museum practice valuable and worth exploring."—Kym S. Rice, Western American Literature

— Kym S. Rice

Ethnohistory

"Contesting Knowledge will likely remain relevant for many years as the issues the authors present are ongoing and applicable to any tribal-centered exhibition or public museum collaboration."—Charles D. Chamberlain III, Ethnohistory

— Charles D. Chamberlain III

Western Historical Quarterly

"These essays demonstrate that Native peoples across North America and Africa are using museums to rectify a legacy of conquest. As such, scholars and educators in the fields of anthropology, American Indian studies, and museum studies will find this collection of essays especially useful."
— Jennifer Fish Kashay

Studies in American Indian Literatures

"This collection is an important part of the conversations taking place in Indigenous studies and beyond."—Elizabeth Archuleta, Studies in American Indian Literatures

— Elizabeth Archuleta

Public Historian

"This book is valuable because it contains both external and internal synopses of cultural convictions, public history motivations, and organizational conventions which operate to situate an object in its "best position.""—Alphine W. Jefferson, Public Historian

— Alphine W. Jefferson

Ethnohistory - Charles D. Chamberlain III
"Contesting Knowledge will likely remain relevant for many years as the issues the authors present are ongoing and applicable to any tribal-centered exhibition or public museum collaboration."—Charles D. Chamberlain III, Ethnohistory
Western Historical Quarterly - Jennifer Fish Kashay
"These essays demonstrate that Native peoples across North America and Africa are using museums to rectify a legacy of conquest. As such, scholars and educators in the fields of anthropology, American Indian studies, and museum studies will find this collection of essays especially useful."—Jennifer Fish Kashay, Western Historical Quarterly
Western American Literature - Kym S. Rice
"Regardless of one's ethnicity, affiliation or experience, museum professionals and public historians alike, especially those with little or no experience working with indigenous communities or other stakeholder audiences, will find this volume concerning an emerging aspect of museum practice valuable and worth exploring."—Kym S. Rice, Western American Literature
Studies in American Indian Literatures - Elizabeth Archuleta
"This collection is an important part of the conversations taking place in Indigenous studies and beyond."—Elizabeth Archuleta, Studies in American Indian Literatures
Public Historian - Alphine W. Jefferson
"This book is valuable because it contains both external and internal synopses of cultural convictions, public history motivations, and organizational conventions which operate to situate an object in its "best position.""—Alphine W. Jefferson, Public Historian
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780803219489
  • Publisher: University of Nebraska Press
  • Publication date: 7/1/2009
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Pages: 374
  • Sales rank: 1,264,560
  • Product dimensions: 6.00 (w) x 8.90 (h) x 0.80 (d)

Meet the Author

Susan Sleeper-Smith is a professor of history at Michigan State University. She is the author of Indian Women and French Men: Rethinking Cultural Encounter in the Western Great Lakes and the coeditor of New Faces of the Fur Trade: Selected Proceedings of the Seventh North American Fur Trade Conference.
Contributors: Kristina Ackley, Miranda J. Brady, M. Teresa Carlson, Brenda J. Child, Brian Isaac Daniels, Gwyneira Isaac, Hal Langfur, Paul Liffman, Amy Lonetree, Brenda Macdougall, Zine Magubane, Ann McMullen, Ciraj Rassool, Jennifer Shannon, Ray Silverman, Susan Sleeper-Smith, and Jacki Thompson Rand
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Table of Contents

List of Illustrations ix

Contesting Knowledge: Museums and Indigenous Perspectives Susan Sleeper-Smith 1

Part 1 Ethnography and the Cultural Practices of Museums The Legacy of Ethnography Ray Silverman 9

1 Elite Ethnography and Cultural Eradication: Confronting the Cannibal in Early Nineteenth-Century Brazil Hal Langfur 15

2 Ethonographic Showcases as Sites of Knowledge Production and Indigenous Resistance Zine Magubane 45

3 Reinventing George Heye: Nationalizing the Museum of the American Indian and Its Collections Ann McMullen 65

4 Ethnographic Elaborations, Indigenous Contestations, and the Cultural Politics of Imagining Community: A View from the District Six Museum in South Africa Ciraj Rassool 106

Part 2 Curatorial Practices: Voices, Values, Languages, and Traditions: Museums and Indigenous Perspectives on Curatorial Practice Jacki Thompson Rand 129

5 A Dialogic Response to the Problematized Past: The National Museum of the American Indian Miranda J. Brady 133

6 West Side Stories: The Blending of Voice and Representation through a Shared Curatorial Practice Brenda Macdougall M. Teresa Carlson 156

7 Huichol Histories and Territorial Claims in Two National Anthropology Museums Paul Liffman 192

8 The Construction of Native Voice at the National Museum of the American Indian Jennifer Shannon 218

Part 3 Tribal Museums and the Heterogeneity of the Nation-State Creation of the Tribal Museum Brenda J. Child 251

9 Tsi<$$$>niyukwaliho<$$$>tΛ, the Oneida Nation Museum: Creating a Space for Haudenosaunee Kinship and Identity Kristina Ackley 257

10 Reimagining Tribal Sovereignty through Tribal History: Museums, Libraries,and Archives in the Klamath River Region Brian Isaac Daniels 283

11 Responsibilities toward Knowledge: The Zuni Museum and the Reconciling of Different Knowledge Systems Gwyneira Isaac 303

12 Museums as Sites of Decolonization: Truth Telling in National and Tribal Museums Amy Lonetree 322

Contributors 339

Index 345

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