Here is another example of cultural misappropriation by another museum in America. Anthropologists and many museums have spent many years building relationships with Indigenous peoples that can be quickly destroyed by ignorance. The Seattle Arts Museum placed a bet with their counterparts in Denver. The winner of the Superbowl would receive a piece of art work. Seattle would lend a mask (circa 1880) which resembles a hawk created by the Nuxalk First Nation (in Bella Coola, BC) to a Denver Arts Museum. Usually the origins of these masks are less than ethical. These artifacts often have religious significance and were often acquired in a less than honourable fashion. Seattle would receive a Frederic Remington (1895) bronze The Broncho.
|Nuxalk First Nation|
American museum have quite a bit they can learn from their Canadian neighbours. I conducted an interview with Dr Ruth Phillips about her book Museum Pieces: Toward the Indigenization of Canadian Museums and the controversies surrounding museums and their obligation to First Nations political and spiritual demands in North America. The ways in which Aboriginal people and museums work together have changed drastically in recent decades. This historic process of decolonization, including distinctive attempts to institutionalize multiculturalism, has pushed Canadian museums to pioneer new practices that can accommodate both difference and inclusivity. Drawing on forty years of experience as an art historian, curator, exhibition critic, and museum director, Ruth emphasizes the complex and situated nature of the problems that face museums, introducing new perspectives on controversial exhibitions (1967, 1988) and moments of contestation (1997).
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