Museum exhibitions focusing on Native American history have long
been curator controlled. However, a shift is occurring, giving
Indigenous people a larger role in determining exhibition content.
In Decolonizing Museums
, Amy Lonetree examines the
complexities of these new relationships with an eye toward
exploring how museums can grapple with centuries of unresolved
trauma as they tell the stories of Native peoples. She investigates
how museums can honor an Indigenous worldview and way of knowing,
challenge stereotypical representations, and speak the hard truths
of colonization within exhibition spaces to address the persistent
legacies of historical unresolved grief in Native communities.
Lonetree focuses on the representation of Native Americans in
exhibitions at the Smithsonian's National Museum of the American
Indian, the Mille Lacs Indian Museum in Minnesota, and the
Ziibiwing Center of Anishinabe Culture and Lifeways in Michigan.
Drawing on her experiences as an Indigenous scholar and museum
professional, Lonetree analyzes exhibition texts and images,
records of exhibition development, and interviews with staff
members. She addresses historical and contemporary museum practices
and charts possible paths for the future curation and presentation
of Native lifeways.