Online Supplement to Museum Anthropology, the Journal of the Council for Museum Anthropology, a section of the American Anthropological Association
Friday, April 05, 2013
Lack of Tribal Consultation Leads to Conflict at a Denver Museum
When tribes, whose ancestors are the subject of a museum exhibit, are against that exhibit and ask for it to be closed pending further consultation, it’s obvious something is amiss.
Although reluctant in the past to close the exhibit, officials of a Denver museum are now considering it to repair a damaged partnership with the affected tribes.
The controversy focuses on History Colorado Center’s exhibit on the Sand Creek Massacre of 1864, when more than 150 Cheyenne and Arapaho people, mostly children, women and elders, were killed by U.S. Army volunteers in a southeast Colorado camp where they had been promised safety.
Past meetings with tribal representatives have led museum officials to correct some editorial errors in the exhibit, but that didn’t solve the deeper problem that the officials didn’t consult with tribes as much as they should have.