I am reflecting upon an utmost transformative weekend at The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, New York where I had the immense privilege to participate in goddess Rosanna Raymond , current Chester Dale Fellow’s workshop “Museology and the Mused” #MetMused. Seated in a round circle amongst an ecosystem of museum curators, public programs builders, education warriors, Indigenous culture bearers (local, global and diasporic), provocative artists and advocates, we put heart, trust, knowledge, wisdom and faith into asking “What protocols, practices and actions/activations should museums and cultural institutions embrace to center indigeneity in its narrative and positioning?” (that is my attempt at summarizing the plethora of complex questions and perspectives that were raised).
It was a talk-fest animated by stickie notes, embodied poetry, field trips to visit cultural objects and contentious paintings, as well as learning from each other's case studies. We demanded recognition of the land we are on as uninvited guests. We asked how can we get institutions to become accountable and take leadership in the aforementioned matter. We wanted diversity initiatives to actively include the Indigenous in their mandates. How does tech support this direction we envision? And the tough question: How do we fund this (input welcome!)? And so, so, so much more!
Some keywords/concepts that reverberate 28 hours later:
“Man is a tree and tree is a man” - Maia Nuku, Curator
Guardianship and stewardship vs ownership
Cultural and environmental sustainability
Indigenous Futures and Digital Media
Porous and Malleable Institutions vs. Brick and Mortar Institutions
Building relationships with communities vs Treating communities as consultants and sources for information