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As Museum Studies students, we are aware of our responsibility to challenge a neat and sanitized version of colonial history. Especially in the context of the Black Lives Matter movement and the effort to decolonise the UK’s education system.
The Indigenous communities of America have been marginalised. Their culture, beliefs, and more importantly their immense struggles too often erased from history. In museums, this is reflected in the way Native American objects and artworks are ‘collected’ and displayed without Native American collaboration. This only adds to the homogenisation of indigenous communities, which highlights past and current disenfranchisement of Native Americans . The Metropolitan Museum is complicit in this and have been criticized in past exhibitions, such as 'Native American Masterpieces' and 'Art of Native America: The Charles and Valerie Diker Collection'.
Our exhibition - drawing from The Metropolitan Museum- is an intervention. We recognise that we are also displaying objects without collaberation and to that extent are replicating the very actions for which we criticize the Metropolitan. We have acknowledged these critiques by choosing to specifically show contact between colonizers and Indigenous peoples and The Metropolitan Museum as a contact zone.