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 Indigenous worldviews and ways 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.
|"A forceful reassessment of museum and curatorial studies. Lonetree steers American art history away from its metropolitan and European underpinnings and encourages essential new directions in indigenous arts theory and practice."|
— Ned Blackhawk, Yale University
"Lonetree incorporates elements of memoir, interpretation, observation, and anthropology interspersed with theory and local history to make museums come alive for the reader. There are no other books like it in existence."
— Nancy Parezo, University of Arizona
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.
Amy Lonetree (Ho-Chunk) is associate professor of American studies at the University of California, Santa Cruz, and co-editor, with Amanda J. Cobb, of The National Museum of the American Indian: Critical Conversations. She is co-author of "People of the Big Voice: Photographs of Ho-Chunk Families by Charles Van Schaick, 1879-1942."
First Peoples books are part of a special publishing initiative among four scholarly presses, funded by the Andrew W. Mellon foundation. Books with the logo exemplify contemporary scholarship and research in Indigenous studies. The initiative supports this scholarship with unprecedented attention to the growing dialogue among scholars, communities, and publishers.