Familiar in Many Shapes: A Historical (and Contemporary) Overview of Museums in Native American Country - HAL UNIV-PARIS8 - open access Access content directly
Journal Articles Bérose - Encyclopédie internationale des histoires de l'anthropologie Year : 2023

Familiar in Many Shapes: A Historical (and Contemporary) Overview of Museums in Native American Country

Thomas Grillot

Abstract

Discussions of the role of museums in Native lives and communities often overestimate their alienness in Native American country. This institution is instead, I propose, quietly familiar and should be studied as such. A view of the problem from a Dakota/Lakota reservation emphasizes the very diverse presence in Native lives of the museum as a means of producing culture and identities. It shows how networks of local actors developed museum-like forms of exhibition of Native cultural artifacts that irrigated reservation life. From the powwow to school outings, window cases in shops to exhibits inside Native homes, from employment in museums to the building of private collections by tribal members, museums inspired and sponsored myriads of practices, some intimate, others very much public-oriented. Familiar, even if regularly contested, museum-like practices have always been appropriated from within relationships that tied together craftspeople and artists and their families, on the one hand, and discrete institutions, rather than "museums" in general, on the other. I reconstitute this history through vignettes centered on the Standing Rock reservation that emphasize the importance of replacing museums in regional geographies, and the living tradition of creating local and community-oriented museal institutions in Native country.
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Dates and versions

hal-04294895 , version 1 (22-11-2023)

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  • HAL Id : hal-04294895 , version 1

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Thomas Grillot. Familiar in Many Shapes: A Historical (and Contemporary) Overview of Museums in Native American Country. Bérose - Encyclopédie internationale des histoires de l'anthropologie, 2023. ⟨hal-04294895⟩
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