Past Event

Resisting, Reclaiming, Reframing: Indigenous Communities of North America and Art Museum Collections

March 8, 2019
9:30 AM - 5:00 PM
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Watch videos, below. 

Museums across the continent are being called on to work with Indigenous communities to reframe installations, shift collecting practices, and recognize the vitality and diversity of contemporary Indigenous art. At this public forum, Indigenous cultural leaders discuss strategies for actively reshaping museum practice.

10:00 Welcoming Remarks

David Freedberg (Columbia University)

Sam Slater (Navajo; Columbia University)

10:10 Introduction

Elizabeth Hutchinson (Barnard College, Columbia University)

10:15 Panel I:  Curating against Colonialism

heather ahtone (Choctaw/Chickasaw; American Indian Cultural Center & Museum, Oklahoma City): “Shifting the Paradigm: Indigenous Perspectives on Researching and Exhibiting Our Cultures/Art”

Sherry Farrell Racette (Algonquin/Métis/Irish; University of Regina, Saskatchewan): “Red Dresses and Moccasin Vamps: Art, Community Engagement and Social Change”

Scott Stevens (Akwesasne Mohawk; Syracuse University): “Reclaiming and Re-inhabiting Indigenous Cultural Spaces” 

Wanda Nanibush (Anishinaabe of Beausoleil First Nation; Art Gallery of Ontario, Toronto): "Centering Indigenous art, ideas, audiences in the museum"

Moderator: Elizabeth Hutchinson (Barnard College, Columbia University)

12:30 Break

2:00 Panel II: Creating and Collections (Artists’ Panel)

Crystal Migwans (Anishinaabe of Wiikwemikoong Unceded Territory; Ottawa, Ontario; Columbia University): “Repatriating a Practice”

Teri Greeves (Kiowa; Santa Fe, New Mexico): “Bearing Witness”

Sonya Kelliher-Combs (Athabascan, Iñupiat; Anchorage, Alaska): “Museum Interventions”

Jason Lujan (Brooklyn, New York): “Against Contemporary Native Art Always Being Read as Social Realism”

Moderator: Hiʻilei Julia Hobart (Kanaka Maoli; Columbia University)

4:15 Open discussion

5:00 Reception

Organized by Elizabeth Hutchinson (Barnard College, Columbia University) with the Italian Academy’s International Observatory for Cultural Heritage. Co-sponsors: Department of Art History and Archaeology, Center for the Study of Ethnicity and Race, University Seminar in Indigenous Studies (all at Columbia). 

This conference is the second International Observatory for Cultural Heritage Symposium on Indigenous American cultural heritage and comes a year after “Threatened Heritage: Bears Ears, Chaco, and Beyond.” Like its predecessor, “Reclaiming” brings together Indigenous cultural leaders from around North America in an event focused on building connections and taking action. 

The event runs Fri, Mar 8, 9:30 am - 5:00 pm. Free and open to the public. 

See here for biographical notes on all speakers.

Photo credit: Walking with Our Sisters Installation in Shingwauk Auditorium, Algoma University. Photo by Melody McKiver/

Panel I: Curating against Colonialism

Panel II: Creating and Collections (Artists’ Panel)