Tag: Native American Art

In the moments when I feel like I do not belong or that we are not doing enough to decolonize inherently colonial institutions such as museums and universities, I try to pause and think not only about the absurdity and seeming infeasibility of the project we have set for ourselves, but also these moments when the intangibility of our research materializes in practice.

Centering on T.C. Cannon as narrator of the exhibition, and decentralizing my curatorial voice as the authority, was an intentional strategy I employed to activate Cannon’s Native perspective and to build empathy with the audience.

Two of the most prominent Native-made objects in Jefferson’s original hall were a pair of male and female figures that Jefferson had received several years prior to Lewis and Clark’s shipments. Curiously, the figures had disappeared from the historical record with Jefferson’s death in 1826. It came as quite a surprise, then, that during my internship I reidentified two stone heads that today sit in the hall display cases and are what remain of Jefferson’s original statues.