The Importance of Museums Embracing Their Commitments to Native American Voices

Two fellowships at the Heard Museum in Phoenix, Arizona, and the Peabody Essex Museum in Salem, Massachusetts, are among a group of grants supported by The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation that address the need for greater diversity in the museum world and work to provide more space to Native American professionals, a blog post states.

The blog explains that these programs, among others the foundation supports, share similar overarching and intertwined goals:

Diversify the pipeline of future cultural heritage and museum professionals; ensure that cultural heritage preservation is approached with care and expertise that increasingly centers Native communities and traditions; and ensure the passage of those traditions across generations.

Patsy Phillips, director of the Institute of American Indian Arts (IAIA) Museum of Contemporary Native Arts in Santa Fe, says that for the museum world to privilege the Native perspective means "attaining a critical mass of Native voices and professionals with relevant expertise inside major institutions, requiring more outreach and opportunities."

“Most institutions don’t ask for the Native perspective. In our history, non-Natives have felt that they know better and best,” she says. "We are seeing a shift, and more Native people are having their own voice. But there’s still a lot of work to be done.”

Read here the post.

Image: Heard Museum / Facebook