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Truth and Reconciliation in Museums – American Alliance of Museums

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How can museums take part in transitional justice, which seeks to deal with large human rights violations?  On this episode, Suse is joined by Omar Eaton-Martínez and Dr. Karine Duhamel to discover the implications of fact and reconciliation in museums. Dr. Duhamel has written that reconciliation “as a process based on hope, remains the core animating principle of a collection of stories that brings together the importance of Indigenous worldviews, the need to acknowledge violations as shared history, and the priority we place on empowering communities to share their stories.” In a time when fact has been enormously difficult by politics, there’s nonetheless vital worth in the act of truth-telling.


Headshot of a bald black man with beard and mustache smiling at the camera, shoulders tilted slightly to the left wearing a grey suit and purple tie. Omar Eaton-Martinez

Omar Eaton-Martínez leads the Prince George’s County Historic Assets and Historic Home Museums, which incorporates the programming of these websites with an emphasis positioned on preserving, sustaining and enhancing these assets in addition to partaking and constructing communities by way of schooling, outreach and innovation. Most just lately, he managed the interns and fellows program on the Smithsonian’s Nationwide Museum of American Historical past. He builds coalitions that help variety, fairness, accessibility and inclusion. Omar has labored on the Nationwide Park Service, the Workplace of the Nationwide Museum of the American Latino Fee, NASA and he additionally was a Okay-12 instructor in NYC and DC. His analysis pursuits are Afro Latinx id in museum exhibitions, Variety and Inclusion in museums and cultural establishments; and Hip Hop historical past, tradition and schooling. Omar holds a Bachelor of Arts in African-American Research, a Masters in Instructional Management, and is presently a PhD scholar in American Research at College of Maryland, School Park.

A white woman stands smiling at the camera with her dark brown hair in a ponytail hanging over her right shoulder. She is standing in front of a digital display with small squares in different colors. Dr. Karine Duhamel

Dr. Karine Duhamel is Anishinaabe and Metis and holds a Ph.D. in Historical past from the College of Manitoba. Dr. Duhamel was previously Adjunct Professor on the College of Winnipeg the place she developed and taught programs on the historical past and legacy of residential faculties and on Indigenous relationships with the state. She has additionally labored as Curator for Indigenous Rights on the Canadian Museum for Human Rights specializing in creating reveals and programming targeted on fact and reconciliation, in addition to the historical past and modern legacies of colonialism. She is chargeable for essential revisions in course of and in content material inside the establishment. Dr. Duhamel is at present on depart from the Museum working as Director of Analysis for the Nationwide Inquiry into Lacking and Murdered Indigenous Ladies and Women till the top of its mandate, in April 2019.

Present Notes

Museum 2040: A Museum journal particular version

Equal Justice Initiative

Museum Hue

Truth and Reconciliation: Canadian Museum of Human Rights

Contributing to reconciliation

Nationwide Middle for Truth and Reconciliation (Canada) – Stories

The nuts and bolts of reconciliation

Presenting Sponsor

Museopunks is introduced by the American Alliance of Museums.

Graphic Design of the Museopunks emblem is by Selena Robleto.

Web site:

Twitter: @museopunks


Suse Anderson (SA): Good day and welcome to Museopunks, the podcast for the Progressive Museum. My identify is Suse Anderson and I can be your host right now as we discover boundary pushing apply in museums in all its types. Because the early 1970s nations all over the world have held Truth and Reconciliation Commissions that are aimed toward unearthing official truths about vital and giant scale human rights violations.

These commissions fall underneath the banner of Transitional Justice, which seeks to deal with large or systematic human rights violations which might be so extreme they can’t be handled adequately by way of the traditional justice system. Commissions make suggestions for particular actions for justice, typically with a give attention to restorative justice, looking for to barter a decision that may fulfill all of these concerned.

In some instances these suggestions have particularly addressed nationwide museums and their position in bringing justice for the victims of battle or human rights violations. At the moment on Museopunks, we’re going to speak about fact and reconciliation. My first visitor, Omar Eaton Martinez, lately wrote a bit of speculative fiction which think about museums as advocates for human rights and therapeutic via the use of fact telling.

My second visitor, Karine Duhamel examined some of the work she was concerned with as curator of indigenous content material on the Canadian Museum of Human Rights, which was particularly targeted on fact and reconciliation. One fast word earlier than we begin, my interview with Dr. Duhamel confronted some fairly extreme technical difficulties and I used to be torn between leaving the interview off, or together with it regardless of these technical challenges we had in the recording.

Her solutions are so good that I’ve determined to share them, however it’s not the prettiest listening that you’ll ever encounter. I apologize for the sound high quality and for the abrupt finish to the interview, however I feel you’ll discover that what’s in there’s actually value listening to. Okay, catch you after the bounce.

Omar Eaton Martinez leads the Prince George’s County Historic Assets and Historic Home Museums, which incorporates the programming of these websites with an emphasis positioned on preserving, sustaining, and enhancing these assets in addition to partaking and constructing communities via schooling, outreach, and innovation. Most just lately he managed the interns and fellows program on the Smithsonian’s Nationwide Museum of American Historical past.

He builds coalitions that help variety, fairness, accessibility, and inclusion. Omar has labored on the Nationwide Park Service, the workplace of the Nationwide Museum of American Latino Fee, NASA, and he was additionally a Okay-12 instructor in NYC and DC. His analysis pursuits are Afro Latinx id in museum exhibitions, variety and inclusion in museums and cultural establishments and hip hop historical past, tradition and schooling.

Omar holds a Bachelor of Arts in African American Research, a Grasp’s in Instructional Management and is at present a PhD scholar in American Research at College of Maryland School Park. Omar, welcome to Museopunks.

OEM: Thanks a lot Suse for inviting me to talk with you immediately. I’m enthusiastic about our dialog.

SA: Oh, me too. I’m actually excited. I’ve been doing a bit bit of studying and analysis in preparation and that is such a meaty matter. To get into it, you latterly contributed an essay about fact and reconciliation in museums to Museum 2040, which was a particular future- targeted version of Museum Journal. Let’s kick it off by speaking about why you felt drawn to this matter and additionally what the argument was that you simply made in that essay.

Omar Eaton Martinez (OEM): Nicely, I feel what drew me to this matter was the thought of social justice in museum work. Centering my work as somebody who actually deeply cares about social justice, the place it interprets by way of the work of variety and inclusion and taking a look at accessibility and fairness points as nicely. However once I actually began fascinated with social justice the previous few years, I began considering that there’s a distinction between speaking about being an advocate for civil rights versus being an advocate for human rights.

I discovered a a lot deeper connection to be an advocate for human rights. I feel if we begin excited about the variations between simply civil liberties and issues which might be hampered by or influenced by coverage and authorized issues, then we expect deeper than that as a result of we all know that all of us say that we worth human life, that all of us say that we worth humanity. However then typically our actions, our insurance policies, our rhetoric have been just about present one thing totally different.

That’s what drew me to this concept of fact and reconciliation. I truly had met a lady final fall who had carried out a bit of. She was going by means of a management program in her sector. She’s in larger ed and she had executed some analysis about fact and reconciliation and she had heard me discuss some of my variety inclusion work. We began having a dialog round fact of reconciliation and how which may look in the museum sector.

Then on the similar time, Elizabeth Merritt had talked to me about writing one thing about social justice and variety inclusion for this 2040 concern and that’s once I began excited about let’s play with this concept of fact and reconciliation and stepping into the position of futurism, which was the very first time I ever even performed with futurism because the lens for this sort of work, which I discovered to be extremely helpful.

Then that’s how I began to use fact and reconciliation based mostly on some of the very elementary analysis that I did on fact and reconciliation fee primarily in South Africa, Canada and another locations.

SA: Yeah, it’s fascinating to truly hear you type of differentiate and speak about a civic rights versus human rights. I feel once we begin speaking about these ideas that we’ve fact and reconciliation, they’re extremely massive ideas, however they’ve pretty particular meanings in this context. Are you able to speak a bit of bit about what we imply by fact and what we imply by reconciliation once we’re speaking about human rights and once we’re speaking and enthusiastic about what meaning for museums?

OEM: Yeah, I feel how I take a look at fact and reconciliation is type of a coming collectively the place you perceive that there was these establishments that we name museums and different like-minded establishments have actually taken a stance on telling sure historic narratives or privileging sure varieties of artwork and tradition and even going off in the science museums and educating individuals about science in a sure sort of method.

Once I take into consideration fact and reconciliation, I feel there’s been lots of misinformation about sure demographics, whether or not we speak about ethno-racial demographics, gender, faith, geographic and even, sexuality or gender biases, gender id biases. There’s been quite a bit of misinformation. Now, as we proceed to progress in our understanding by means of scholarship and via different social engagement and social activism, we’re beginning to see that we’ve been treating sure individuals improper.

I feel the thought concerning the fact half of the reconciliation is the being trustworthy about what the issues that we’ve got found, being trustworthy that we’ve not handled a sure demographics as absolutely engaged human beings in our society. Once we’re capable of be trustworthy, we’re capable of come to some extent of our mea culpa, an concept that we’re capable of be trustworthy and apologize about these atrocities which have occurred in the previous and both trophies all have legacy.

It’s a spectrum of time that we’re fascinated with right here, that we’re not folklore sizing the thought of first nation genocide in our nation, that we’re not folklore sizing the enslavement of African individuals. That we’re not folklore sizing this lengthy, lengthy historical past of immigration in order that we perceive that each one of this stuff have legacies and they have an effect on how we work together with one another immediately and how we worth sure lives over others.

With fact we’re capable of be trustworthy about that. Then it places us in a place of humility and that places us in a place the place we truly may be reconciled with teams, whether or not what aspect of the aisle or what aspect of the Hajime that we’re speaking about, as a result of we all know that there’s individuals in energy. There are individuals and different not in energy. That’s type of the binary that we work from. We’re making an attempt to blur that line to divides that binary by being truthful and placing ourselves in the place we will reconcile collectively as a rustic and because the bigger international society.

SA: One of the issues that I feel is sort of fascinating in the Museum 2040 piece and you talked about, the Equal Justice Initiative, which was based by Bryan Stevenson. Now, one of the issues that Stevenson has spoken about is an concept that fact and reconciliation usually are not simultaneous, however fairly that they’re sequential. That fact telling has to return first. Do you agree with this concept that the reality needs to be the inspiration upon which any type of reconciliation is constructed?

OEM: I consider that entire heartedly and for me personally, I take a look at it from my religion perspective as a Christian that when you’re alleged to, when you’re saying sorry about one thing, you’re not simply saying sorry randomly like a robotic with no sort of understanding of what you’re saying sorry to. So as so that you can have an understanding of what you’re saying sorry, it’s a must to perceive what the reality is, in order that information and content material portion thatI consider Bryan Stevenson is referring to.

You’re educating individuals about this fact and then this fact are then pricking you to know that you simply’ve been fallacious. You then at the moment are repenting, you’re repenting and you’re turning away from these flawed concepts of dehumanization that you simply’ve had over sure populations and cultures. When you’ve turned away from that misunderstanding that miseducation, now you’re in a greater place to say, “I’m sorry,” and be reconciled.

SA: Yeah, that’s actually fascinating. I take into consideration museums and all of the heritage websites that perhaps skip by means of that troublesome work as a result of it looks like the type of fact telling requires so much of inner work. I ponder whether there are establishments that you simply’ve seen which might be looking for to maneuver to the offering reconciliation stage with out coping with their very own inner truths and what the impact of that’s.

OEM: Nicely, I don’t know if I’ve any concrete success tales proper now. I feel what’s occurred in the previous, in the histories of our establishments is that when with sure populations see that they’ve been marginalized and they’ve been dehumanized, they type of cope with these in energy.  Then they get rebuked by these in energy and then they construct their very own establishments, proper?

That’s what I feel has been occurring over the iterations of museums because the very starting, in all probability taking a look at what’s occurred most lately in the 60’s or 50 years in the past whenever you had this motion of so much of individuals advocating for poor individuals and for individuals of colour and different marginalized communities.

Then the end result of that in this nation the place issues just like the Studio Museum in Harlem, the Museo del Barrio or in Harlem in New York, The Anacostia Neighborhood Museum, which is now the Anaconda Group Museum in D.C. underneath the Smithsonian Establishment. These issues have been in consequence of individuals of advocates of activists who have been rebuking the facility construction, received annoyed with that energy construction and then constructed their very own establishment consequently of that. I feel that’s the closest instance I do know of the place you could have some individuals answering that.

SA: Yeah, it’s fascinating you speaking about individuals principally going off and creating their very own establishments when the establishments that exist don’t work for them. There are a selection of museums all over the world, together with inside the US that do memorialize these histories of genocide and of human rights abuses, whether or not we’re speaking concerning the Canadian Museum of Human Rights, the Apartheid Museum in South Africa, the Genocide Museum in Rwanda or one thing just like the Holocaust Memorial Museum in DC.

Is that this one thing that each one museums must be grappling with these concepts of fact and telling tales that haven’t but been advised in the tales of human rights abuses? Or is it sufficient that there are particular museums targeted on the tales which have fact and reconciliation on the core of what they’re doing?

OEM: Yeah, and I feel it actually needs to be carried out in each methods and probably a 3rd one which we aren’t interested by proper now. I feel that this can be a really systemic problem. Now, we’re coping with systemic points there’s no means that you would be able to deal with it by means of one conduit. If we’re taking a look at, we’re contemplating the conduits that you simply talked about, that are individuals constructing their very own establishments in a rebuke to the prevailing bigger sector, or in the event you’re speaking about people who find themselves coping with these bigger establishments that exist already in making an attempt to vary these issues.

I feel each of these issues needed to be carried out concurrently for systemic change to happen. As a result of then what you will have, in the event you simply do a method or one other is that you simply’ll have, in the event you’re simply doing it with the establishment constructing then these establishments can find yourself being marginalized in the most important sector and they have already got in some situations.

Or you may have some individuals simply making an attempt to construct the establishments or making an attempt to vary the bigger establishments which may take lots longer and not essentially uplift lots of the great work that the culturally particular museums or the opposite museums like that you simply talked about, just like the Holocaust Museum or The Museum of Tolerance and issues like that uplifting that work as properly is what’s additionally essential.

As a result of they’ve been capable of give attention to these communities and that narrative and do this troublesome work in a means that some of the predominantly, the normal establishments haven’t been capable of do. I actually really feel strongly that they need to occur each methods and hopefully in live performance with each other. As a result of then, you will have these bigger establishments they could haven’t had a lot success in coping with it.

Then you definitely get the privilege to work with some of these smaller or midsize establishments that had been very profitable in doing it and that approach each organizations are acknowledged for what they will convey to the desk.

SA: Once we take into consideration then how museums are working going ahead. Half of what we’re speaking about are a set of mechanisms for restorative justice. There are definitely, as you say, new establishments that may be constructed which have this at core however individuals in all types of establishments can actually bear witness. I feel that’s lots of what you’re speaking about is this concept of bearing witness as an element of therapeutic. Is that half of what’s so essential in this course of?

OEM: Yeah, I feel so. If I perceive what you’re saying in phrases of bearing witness is acknowledging the issues which are occurring round them. Clearly one of the most important I assume social actions, particularly by way of social media that affected our sector is issues like museums reply to Ferguson and with Adrianne Russell and Aleia Brown, bringing that consciousness to the sector in a brand new approach as a result of I undoubtedly am very cautious not.

I don’t need to make it look like that’s one thing new to the sector from individuals who have been doing this work for a really very long time and it’s not new, however it’s one thing. It was introduced with a brand new twist and a brand new taste and arguably a brand new set of a brand new era of professionals who actually care about this work.

I’m actually joyful that Aleia and Adrianne we’re capable of deliver that in such a strong approach to interact the sector in a approach they haven’t been engaged with from that era and simply extra in newer occasions. It actually brought on these apps to say, “Hey man, what are we doing when these police killings happen? Or what are we doing when these totally different atrocities are nonetheless occurring at the moment in 2018?

Do we’ve to attend 50 years to deal with this stuff if we’re historical past museums?” As a result of typically that’s type of the parameters that some museums have set for themselves in phrases of coping with public historical past, or can we make an exception for this as a result of it’s race it’s simply such a excessive degree in the media that we’ve got to deal with it in order to take care of relevancy.  For me it’s all of the above.

SA: Are there sure exhibitions or exhibitions on sure subjects that museums merely shouldn’t be doing any longer? Are there exhibitions that would exacerbate the continued human rights abuses or inequitable circumstances that folks of shade face in this nation or that in reality many individuals from traditionally excluded and underrepresented teams face?

OEM: Good query, the most important factor in public historical past, that I assume touches that query you’re posing is the thought of accomplice memorials and ought to they proceed to be up and if they’re why and how. There’s been lots of motion clearly to take them down.  I feel the motion has been since then has been pretty profitable with perhaps a number of exceptions, however then what can we do with these monuments ought to they be destroyed?

Ought to they be studied or contextualized? For me, I feel it undoubtedly needs to be contextualized. I’m not too positive if they should exist in one other area. I do know some individuals take into consideration perhaps they need to be put in a museum. The museum can body it in a means the place individuals can interact in dialog. I’m not too positive about that solely as a result of these statues are likely to trigger lots of trauma for individuals.

I feel that’s the place the reality and reconciliation piece actually performs an enormous position as a result of I consider of the society as a collective, understood the trauma that causes individuals. And we have been capable of create an intimate area of dialog and dialogue round that trauma, that I don’t assume individuals can be so fast to need to proceed to show these statues in any approach. That’s simply my hypothesis based mostly on the conversations and the analysis that I’ve accomplished.

I’m undoubtedly not making an attempt to espouse that utterly or proper about that in any respect. I feel that’s one thing that we’re going to nonetheless should proceed to work out and dialogue and attempt new issues with. However I’m actually desperate to see how the general public historical past, the museum sector handle it as a result of it must be addressed. I feel we have to attempt some issues and see the way it goes and play shut consideration to guage the responses of the guests and consider the curatorial practices round these new points and how they interact with these statutes?

SA: Yeah, once you speak about one thing just like the accomplice monuments have been speaking about taking issues down, taking them off of view, determining the place they stay. One other half of this then turns into a query of reparations and the place the reparations must be half of this dialogue in a way and what that appears like for museums as properly.

OEM: Sure, I’ll inform you one of the issues I feel I’ve talked a bit bit with Beth Merritt and another individuals concerning the essay I used to be capable of write was I had an opportunity to do it over once more or to perhaps create a more moderen model of it. I might have favored to spend some extra time on making use of the futurism lens on what reparations might appear to be.

I actually assume once I studied extra about fact and reconciliation, particularly the Fee of South Africa, it appears to me the most important rivalry on shortcoming of the fee was the reparation piece. How can we study from these classes, these onerous lesson that South Africa has discovered from and they’re nonetheless studying from about that shortcoming? I feel one of the issues for me is how can we educate individuals about this fact? How can we take a look at the Truth and Reconciliation Fee in museums?

As an alternative of like excited about a private payout to a demographic of individuals, how can we take a look at taking some monies and making use of them to museums and different instructional establishments who’re grabbing the reality about issues just like the enslavement of Africans, the genocide on first nations, the racialization of immigration insurance policies and how they differ relying on the place individuals are coming from and shedding extra mild upon that by means of Okay via 12 schooling, but in addition casual schooling and hopefully a very organized marriage between the 2.

SA: Yeah, I feel one of the opposite issues that’s fairly fascinating or that I’ve been enthusiastic about so much is we’re dwelling in this time the place the time period submit fact has began to return up and it’s getting used to actually point out circumstances when public opinion is formed by appeals to emotion and to perception relatively than to information, the place fact is type of virtually outmoded in search of an emotional hook.

Now, that is fairly difficult for museums who swim in the language of fact and details. But we’re additionally having these conversations in the sector concerning the significance of acknowledging a scarcity of neutrality in museums. How can we stability this want for fact telling and the emotional gravity of telling truths which might be both unheard beforehand or perhaps unpopular?

If museums are interested by these concepts of fact and reconciliation, how do they in reality, I assume reconcile their very own truths and come to an trustworthy area for coping with that?

OEM: It’s an excellent factor to think about Suse, as a result of I feel there definitely have been occasions the place feelings can start to skew sure narratives, however I feel we additionally need to take a step again and perceive what precisely is being skewed. As a result of I feel if we’re speaking about an interpreter, a docent telling a gaggle that, I don’t know, 15 million Africans have been enslaved when the numbers actually present 10 million.

That isn’t an embellishment meant by definition, however I feel on the finish of the day we understanding is that they have been method too many human lives kidnapped and introduced over the Atlantic for no good function for them and lives and the legacy of that transatlantic slave commerce impacts us at present, 200, 300, 400 years later. Properly, I do assume that the emotional and the details can work collectively. I haven’t been to the location, however what I’ve seen on tv and what I’ve examine it, the Equal Justice Initiative is a superb instance.

You’ve gotten the memorial to the lynchings that are rooted in scholarship and you could have a presentation of that achieved in a method the place it’s going to emotionally interact you. You will perceive this in a means that’s going to maneuver your feelings, however you then’re going to have factual info to again that narrative up in a means you could contextualize and construct which means for your self.

One other instance can be there was an exhibition that existed in New York again in 2015 that I did some analysis on which was referred to as Presente, The Younger Lords in New York. Now, the Younger Lords have been type of the place most individuals would describe best because the Puerto Rican model of the Black Panther Social gathering. They really labored in coalition with the Black Panther Celebration amongst different like minded organizations round poverty and oppression of individuals of colour.

They did a 3 half exhibition in the Bronx Museum of Artwork at El Museo del Barrio and the Decrease Eastside Cultural Middle in decrease eastside in Manhattan, and which have been all three places the place that they had chapter workplaces for the Younger Lords.  They did a fantastic job in speaking concerning the battle that that they had towards police brutality, the battle that that they had towards poor public housing, the battle that that they had towards poor public well being for Puerto Rican individuals and different individuals of colour in these areas.

It was an emotional time, however it was rooted in reality, and in scholarship when it was … And what I really like about it was, it was the curators that have been concerned have been from totally different disciplines, like Johanna Fernandez, who was an historian and she was the lead curator and did so much of the work in the Bronx Museum of Artwork. Then you could have individuals like Yasmin Ramírez who’s an artwork historian who labored on an element of what was in Del Barrio.

Then you could have any person like Wilson Valentin Escobar who has taught historical past, however he’s an Americanist, he’s an American research scholar, American civilization scholar, a Latino research scholar was in a position to make use of an interdisciplinary strategy for the curation he did on the Decrease Eastside Cultural Middle. I feel that there’s methods the place you’ll be able to have totally different ranges of scholarship even for various disciplines rooted in fact, by means of the analysis, but in addition creating that emotional tug so that you can perceive and actually make which means for your self as you undergo these exhibitions and study from them.

SA: Yeah, that’s nice. Omar, you serve on the board of museums which provides museum professionals of shade a chance to be seen and heard in a paradigm that’s designed to maintain them invisible and unvoiced. I feel there are rather a lot of museum professionals, many museum professionals who do want to assist make sure that professionals and guests who’ve historically been excluded from conversations, have a voice and are seen.

However what are some efficient ways in which cultural staff can do this, will help help their friends increase the visibility of museum professionals of shade?

OEM: Nicely, definitely because you provided a free plug turn into a member of Museum Hue at the moment are a non-based group and I feel actually it’s utilizing, partnering and attending to know the work of organizations like Museum Hue, understanding the work of sure initiatives and actions like Museums and Race.

Additionally tasks like Mass Motion, which has been funded very nicely by Minneapolis Institute of Artwork and in actually understanding what the issues are and to perform a little fantasy breaking round issues like, I can’t discover a expertise in sure particular and even not so particular careers inside the museum sector.

I’ve sat on a pair of panels with one of the Museum Hue founders, Monica Montgomery on the American Alliance and Exams and even on the Affiliation of African American Museums the place there’s this fable that, individuals of shade aren’t or are straightforward to seek out in this business and I simply actually, I query that and I query that as a result of there’s a pair of causes.

One, rather a lot of people who find themselves making these claims are working from a biased lens. All of us have them. I’ve biased lens everyone has it, proper? However if you speak about working from biased lens, what you’re actually saying is you have got some blind spots. In an effort to handle a blind spot, and the most effective analogy I can provide you with is, if whenever you’re driving a automotive, which I do know everyone isn’t capable of drive, so it is probably not absolutely inclusive analogy.

However for those who’re driving a automotive, even in case you’re driving a motorcycle and even in case you are strolling down otherwise you’re wheelchair sure and you’re taking place the sidewalk. If you’ll change lanes or should you’re going to lean to the left or lean to the correct, there’s going to be a sure spot in your peripheral imaginative and prescient that isn’t going to help you interact with, which suggests, you’re going to need to make some effort to show to the left or flip the proper to see that space that you simply can’t see naturally in your peripheral.

That’s what’s not occurring in our subject. Our subject is just not making that additional flip to the left, that additional flip to the appropriate to see that there are individuals prepared and in a position and some very properly educated and educated already to do that work. That’s the place organizations like Museum Hue come in the place they’ve created this  fantastic Fb web page.

They’ve allowed individuals to seek out out about internships, to seek out out about fellowships and apprenticeships the place you possibly can interact individuals of colour who’ve actually proven a robust curiosity. Some of them have already got unimaginable resumes and some of them are rising or are newer to the sector, however nonetheless have nice aptitude to do that work.

I feel it’s simply actually about studying about all these totally different organizations which have actually been foregrounding individuals of shade from the very starting. One of the good organizations that all the time actually, I’m in awe of, once I see once I all the time meet someone who both used to work there or perhaps nonetheless work now’s The Studio Museum.

Many museum educators, museum directors, museum curators have come from that and it’s as a result of you will have leaders like Thelma Golden who’re intentional about coaching up the present and subsequent era of museum professionals. I feel if we’re extra critical concerning the secession planning welfare, which I feel is sector large and actually an issue throughout race in the cross gender.

As a result of I feel everyone suffers from poor succession planning, however whereas we’re addressing what we’re perceive is poor succession planning, let’s middle, let’s take this chance to deal with that difficulty by centering a museum for individuals of colour. Giving the chance to arising with a unique constructs in totally different conduits and totally different pathways to permit individuals to develop in this subject in a method that may change the entire subject throughout the board.

SA: Yeah, and that may take us hopefully take us additional alongside the trail of telling fact occasion histories which might be perhaps not informed in the intervening time. I feel it’s, you speak about, type of illustration and making individuals seen and giving them voice. I feel it’d be half of altering any sector is simply illustration.

OEM: Completely, the previous adage is, everyone need to see the guests, the audiences, the stakeholders need to see themselves in a museum not simply in the content material however in the people who find themselves stewarding the content material. It’s throughout sectors that’s why I feel it’s actually essential for us who’re coping with this work systemically that we’re additionally partnering with different organizations that is probably not “museums or public history sites or science centers or galleries or even libraries.”

I feel we have to transcend that. The closest one I feel for lots of us is schooling whether or not that’s Okay by way of 12 or larger Ed. However I might additionally argue different group based mostly organizations which might be doing social advocacy for all these demographics which were marginalized for therefore many generations. We have to lock arms with them as nicely as a result of this can be a systemic challenge and it won’t be resolved by anybody sector.

SA: Omar, if individuals need to get in contact with you to speak extra about these concepts or to seek out out extra nearly your work in basic. What’s the easiest way for them to take action?

OEM: I’m glad to obtain any direct messages on my twitter account. That is perhaps the easiest way. That’s @OEatonMartinez, so it’s all one phrase @ OEA T as in Thomas, O, N as in Nancy, M as in Mary, AR, T as in Thomas, I, N as in Nancy,  E, Z as in Zebra. I feel in the event that they direct message me there, that’ll be an awesome begin.

SA: Omar, that’s unbelievable. I’ll put a hyperlink to that in addition to to many or all in reality of the teams that you simply’ve talked about like Museum Hue in the present notes. Thanks for coming onto Museopunks and speaking about this matter with me. It’s been enlightening and tremendous fascinating.

OEM: Thanks, and I loved it a lot and thanks Suse for inviting me.

SA: It’s such a pleasure. All proper, speak to you once more quickly Omar.

OEM: All proper, Suse.

SA: Dr. Karine Duhamel is a missionary in Métis and holds a PhD in Historical past from the College of Manitoba. Dr. Duhamel was formally adjunct professor on the College of Winnipeg the place she developed and taught programs on the historical past and legacy of residential faculties and on indigenous relationships with the state. She’s labored because the curator for indigenous rights on the Canadian Museum for Human Rights, specializing in creating reveals and programming targeted on fact and reconciliation in addition to the historical past and modern legacies of colonialism.

She’s answerable for essential revisions in the method and content material inside the establishment. Dr. Duhamel is presently on depart from the museum, working as director of analysis for the nationwide inquiry into lacking and murdered indigenous ladies and women till the top of its mandate in April of 2019. Karine, welcome to Museopunks.

Dr. Karine Duhamel (KD): Thanks a lot.

SA: It’s so pretty to have you ever right here. As I used to be mentioning to you simply once we have been briefing, that is an episode the place we’re actually speaking about fact and reconciliation in museums. My first visitor on the podcast is Omar Eaton Martinez who was actually speaking about his imaginative and prescient for fact and reconciliation in American museums, however in Canada there was a proper fact and reconciliation course of which included a Truth and Reconciliation Fee shaped in 2008.

This can be a absolutely formalized state led dialogue. Are you able to inform us a bit bit concerning the historical past and the legacy of the Truth and Reconciliation Fee and how these conversations obtained began in a proper approach in Canada?

KD: Yeah, I’m joyful to try this. I feel it’s actually necessary everybody appears on the Truth and Reconciliation Fee of Canada as a state led initiative, however essential to notice that really it was shaped consequently of the most important class motion settlement in Canadian historical past whereby survivors of the residential faculty system and relations of people who didn’t survive truly lead a lawsuit towards the Canadian authorities.

As half of the settlement which included monetary compensation on a person foundation, in addition to monies for commemoration and for legacy tasks. One of the settlement’s phrases was the inspiration of the Truth and Reconciliation Fee of Canada. Nicely, the fee itself might have been state-led.

Definitely its formation was led by individuals who survived this genocidal system that existed in Canada for over 100 years, via which hundreds and hundreds of indigenous youngsters have been stripped from their households ripped from their communities pressured to assimilate Euro Canadian Tradition. The fee heard from survivors everywhere in the nation have held nationwide occasions and heard testimony.

In the long run produced a substantive report that detailed the historical past and the legacy of the system. Then additionally made a collection of suggestions that it referred to as Calls to Motion. That’s necessary as a result of they didn’t simply need to make suggestions they needed to name individuals to motion. Based mostly on the premise that earlier than we begin the method of reconciliation, we first have to interact as a society with the reality.

It set out a imaginative and prescient for how you can construct a brand new relationship based mostly on an acceptance and a wider societal understanding of what truly occurred to communities, to households and to youngsters in these histories. As half of its Calls to Motion, they have been directed at type of all segments of society. The Calls to Motion of the Truth and Reconciliation Fee of Canada have had for instance, actually essential impacts in the sector of schooling and curriculum in this nation.

But in addition it has particular directives for nationwide museums in addition to archives. In its 94 Calls to Motion it referred to as on museums to interact in fact telling. It type of positioned and it stated and that is its personal phrases, that museums had an moral duty to foster the reality. That is from the place the context of fact and reconciliation no less than as we speak about it right now comes from.

However in reality, of course in Canada, as in different locations in the world, there have been individuals calling for dramatic revisions to how museums did their work lengthy earlier than then. In Canada that was largely the outcome of an exhibit referred to as The Spirit Sings, which was held through the Calgary Olympics in 1988. Actually fascinating exhibition and one which’s nonetheless examined so much as we speak for the best way that it depicted indigenous cultures and nations and prompted additionally a collection of actually necessary requires modifications in museums.

SA: You talked about this concept that there was a selected name to motion and there have been steps inside that decision to motion. However one of the primary steps in the direction of reconciliation is clearly creating a shared understanding of what has occurred and of course in what is occurring going ahead. However the particular language, I feel that the Truth and Reconciliation Fee of Canada had was that the museums shouldn’t merely inform one social gathering’s model of the previous.

However as an alternative that the museum or the Canadian Museum of Human Rights ought to inform the historical past of residential faculties and aboriginal peoples in ways in which invite a number of, typically conflicting views, but finally facilitate empathy, mutual respect as a want for reconciliation that’s rooted in justice.

This feels like an extremely complicated course of and even for museums which were occupied with these points, as you say, since a minimum of the 1980s. How do you begin discussions or in reality, the place do you even decide up as a strategy to begin coping with conflicting views and coping with making an attempt to facilitate empathy and respect?

KD: That’s a very good query. I feel definitely one of the issues that’s actually essential in my group, however that’s additionally actually some extent that TRC remaining report makes is the concept reconciliation, fact and reconciliation are based mostly in relationships. If you strategy museum follow from the attitude of relationships, what’s a really complicated query that you simply set out and that the TRC laid out truly turns into actually easy.

If I take into consideration what it means to interact in a superb relationship with somebody, with you. When you and I are going to be buddies, we’re going to have an excellent relationship and I’m going to deal with you with respect. I’m not going to return to your property and let myself in and perhaps sit in your sofa and throw my ft up in your desk and truly kick you out, eat all of the meals in your fridge and assume that we’re okay, proper?

I feel from a museum level of view, one of the tales or one of the ideas that I most love that’s truly not based mostly in Métis tradition in any respect however is predicated in creations historical past of the thought of The Two Row Wampum. The Two Row Wampum Belt being an settlement that was first made, at the least with Europeans, between the Haudenosaunee and the Dutch.

The belt was made of Wampum shells and chances are you’ll already comprehend it, however it has three, sorry, two purple rows of beads separated by three white rows. It goes white, purple, white, purple, white. The 2 purple rows symbolize two ships or two vessels crusing down the river and neither one interfering with its course. It represents relationship. The best way that I been taught is that the white items of that belt the white sections, symbolize the values of fact, friendship and respect.

From a museum standpoint, if I take into consideration once we’re creating tales, once we’re making an attempt to interact individuals in empathy, I take into consideration partaking them in a brand new relationship and a relationship that’s based on these rules. Indigenous nations don’t have tons of and a whole lot of treaties, however there’s a very good cause. It’s not as a result of they didn’t make these treaties, however it’s as a result of many of these early agreements, notably between first nations have been agreements that have been based mostly on rules.

You don’t have to renegotiate a precept. It simply is. It might look totally different in a special time, however the principal all the time stays, proper? Once I take into consideration doing issues in the museum in a unique approach, that basically complicated concept of empathy and respect and conflicting views, you’ll be able to type of deliver it right down to a extra micro degree and take into consideration what does that seem like between two individuals.

Then what does that seem like between a curator and the group that she or he is working with. What does that seem like between the establishment and the primary nation or its companions? There are so much of actually like, I actually like to consider the nuts and bolts of this in a very grounded method. There are a selection of issues that we’ve tried and that we’re persevering with to attempt.

It’s not a static concept or idea that basically tried to interact this notion of good relationships, open communication and true friendship and respect. How can we do issues in a greater approach retaining these concepts in thoughts? Actually I feel that’s too how one can join issues which will appear to non-indigenous individuals to be actually summary concepts, concepts like self-determination, concepts like reconciliation into one thing that’s significant and that they will truly really feel empowered to interact in in their on a regular basis lives.

That’s finally what we would like guests to do. We would like them to stroll away from our museum with a larger understanding, but in addition with higher instruments with which to come across the world, whether or not that’s an openness of spirit or a brand new strategy to converse to any person that they might usually interact with or a brand new means to consider an concept. That’s what fact and reconciliation is about on the Canadian Museum for Human Rights. I feel too, at many different establishments in this nation who’re coping with the identical concepts.

SA: I feel that means of serious about it’s actually lovely. However you talked about that you’ve this curiosity in the nuts and bolts of how this stuff manifest. Are you able to speak about some of the precise methods that you simply championed on the museum and some of the revisions in course of and in content material that you simply truly caused and how the museum is now coping with indigenous content material?

KD: Yeah, it begins with for positive serious about what place in museums assist historically occupied in indigenous communities and they haven’t essentially been pals of each communities. For me, it actually meant like taking a step again. I’m a historian by coaching and so I actually wish to look again on issues to see type of the place they began and how they obtained to be the best way that they’re.

I additionally query issues which are identical to when individuals say it’s simply the best way it’s. I all the time say, “Oh really?” However anyway, so one of the issues, one of probably the most basic items that museums do do is that they acquire and exhibit. For those who take a look at these two concepts, let’s begin with concept of assortment. In lots of first nations it’s not, I can’t simply take one thing from you. We will share possession for it.

We’d present authority for it, you may present it to me and for those who present it to me then I can do with it what I would like, however it will all the time be inside the context of our relationship, proper? Similar with exhibiting, you may give to me a narrative otherwise you may give to me one thing, however I might by no means present it in a means that’s disrespectful. Basically, one of the issues that we revise, one of the very concrete issues that we initially revised was our oral historical past settlement.

The Canadian Museum for Human Rights has an oral historical past program and we attempt to interview totally different individuals to get their views and their tales and some could be type of on a regular basis individuals that you simply’d run into at any time. Some may be individuals who can be thought-about actually outstanding or activists or type of change makers. However both approach, we’re recording oral histories. We frequently speak about accumulating oral histories.

Our assortment is our oral histories, and I labored with anyone on a current exhibit who’s actually uncomfortable with the concept we might document her story and then we might get to determine what occurs to it, proper? That we might primarily personal it. Now, the problem is Canadian copyright regulation says precisely that. It says, “The person that records the story owns the story, right?”

It’s a problem as a result of we’re truly working additionally in a very colonized legislative context, however one of the issues that we have been capable of do with that exact particular person was to switch our oral historical past settlement to make it extra relationship based mostly. As an alternative of saying we’re recording your story and we now personal it, we’ll do such and such and such with, as we see match.

We each soften the language of that settlement, however we have been additionally capable of insert type of an ethical rights clause into that that stated, “If you disagree with something that we’re doing, this is forever your story. We’re not taking it from you. This remains your story. You’re allowing us to use it. You’re allowing us to record it right now for this specific purpose that you have agreed to, but you continue to have authority over the story and we’re not taking it from you.”

As a result of that was like a kind of a very, it looks like a very easy factor, nevertheless it was one thing that took months and months to succeed in as a result of of grappling with like primarily Canadian copyright regulation, which is absolutely difficult. One of the opposite issues that we did that was actually type of concrete is like museums typically borrow from archives, or different collections who might not essentially know the provenance of an merchandise, or the place it comes from, or it might not have an excellent historical past in that establishment.

It might have been taken from the group at one level the place the group might not even remember of that the museum or the establishment has that merchandise. One of the issues, and I imply it’s neat to work in a museum that offers with such modern material as a result of in some methods this can be a lot simpler for me than it might be for somebody who’s simply engaged on historic stuff.

Is that I used to be capable of supply the exhibit’s artifacts completely from the lenders who additionally recorded oral histories with us. In that method the oral historical past and the belief that they’ve positioned in me and in us in lending us these artifacts have been all symbolic of this relationship that we’re in. All of the choices made with respect to the show and how we have been going to make use of these objects type of remained with these individuals. I do know quite a bit of museums have actually nice methods of taking a look at and working with totally different communities.

That is undoubtedly not taking away from that, nevertheless it’s only a totally different option to go for and saying, “Based on our relationship, this relationship that we’ve developed over many, many months.” The person would say, “I would like to lend you this. I would like to show this with my story and I’m giving you from my personal belongings.”

Some of this stuff have been so vital to the people who they might by no means get replaced. You might by no means substitute them and they stated, “I’m placing my trust in you and I’m giving you this and I’m trusting that you’re going to care for it.” Caring for it typically in false ceremony, so I’m trusting that you simply’re going to if it wants a ceremony, you’re going to conduct a ceremony.

If this object must be smudged you’re going to get a feather and you’re going to smudge it. You’re going to do these issues. For example, one of the contributors to our most up-to-date exhibit, or one of our most up-to-date exhibit, I assume not the newest now. It’s referred to as Rites of Passage and it’s an exhibit that offers with human rights historical past in Canada, however of course, like actually problematic as a result of it solely offers with 150 years of Canada as human rights historical past, which was meant.

It was an exhibit that got here out throughout Canada sesquicentennial or Canada’s 150th anniversary of confederation. One of the tales we labored on was a gentleman whose group had been forcefully relocated in the Arctic 5 separate occasions and in the 1980s. This occurred in the 1950s and ‘60s and in the 1980s he was capable of arrange a visit for the elders again to his residence group.

Within the course of that journey, he discovered some previous toys. He discovered a toy kayak on his household, his previous tenting website and he introduced that again with him. However that is an merchandise that can’t be changed. It was an merchandise that sat there for 30 one thing years whereas the group was relocated, however he discovered 35 years later or 30 years later, proper? He very generously introduced it in his backpack to Winnipeg to point out me.

He was very excited and confirmed me this factor and stated he would lend it to me and he additionally lent to the museum some carvings that’s now deceased mother and father had made to commerce for meals rations. He had acquired these carvings again from one of the people with whom that they had traded rations. That individual in the spirit of reconciliation had in the 1990s written to him and stated, “I took these from your parents, in exchange for rations and I want to give them back to you.”

These are issues that you simply couldn’t have changed and as a result of they got here from him, they have been a lot extra significant than borrowing them from one other establishment, proper? All of the issues that we borrowed for that exhibit for that exhibition have been borrowed from the contributors themselves and in that approach they actually felt like they have been in a relationship with me.

They have been in a relationship with the museum and I truly had an individual stroll into typically to the exhibition after it opened and it’s an individual who had by no means been in the museum as a result of that they had some actually critical issues. The younger indigenous activist as a result of she had some actually critical issues with the best way in which the museum had handled the historical past of residential faculties. She walked into the area and she began crying. She stated, “I’ve never walked into this place and felt respected and today I feel respected.”

SA: Like one of the issues that you simply’re speaking about is a course of of both constructing belief the place belief has by no means been or rebuilding belief the place belief has been broken or injured. I feel that’s what you’re speaking about with relationships, however it’s acknowledging in a relationship that there’s a previous and there’s a historical past that the establishment has, even when it doesn’t all the time give it some thought.

Prior to now and that what we’re needing to do is definitely take into consideration then the way you construct these belief relationships once more. Now in your case, it feels like rather a lot of this was by way of one to at least one relationships as nicely. Is that, would you say that’s a good statement?

SA: Yeah, that’s undoubtedly a good statement. I feel that’s one of the modifications that establishments might have to think about as capability for that as a result of it’s tiring. I used to be for over a yr, I used to be on the telephone day by day with eight totally different individuals making an attempt to construct relationships and ensure that we have been doing issues as we are saying, in a very great way. However constructing this belief requires vital funding.

It requires an funding of time, it requires an funding of human assets and it for positive requires an funding of cash as a result of it’s a must to go see individuals. You need to do some issues nose to nose. Some issues you’ll be able to’t do. The fashionable world is fantastic, however you possibly can’t all the time do this stuff over the web or over the telephone. Constructing these relationships one-on-one or as individuals wanted them was actually necessary.

The factor is like once we take into consideration in many indigenous communities and definitely in my very own Anishnawbe world view, I’ve positioned myself in relation to the world round me and in relation to different individuals. The relationships that I’ve are literally an important. That’s the factor that makes me. It’s the factor that makes us as Anishnawbe and Métis individuals. It’s the factor that ties us to our land and to our territories. Our relationships are probably the most foundational.

However constructing belief or rebuilding belief with communities who’ve historically not been very revered by establishment requires like rather a lot of boots on the bottom in boots on the bottom I feel and additionally like consistency. You need to actually commit prefer it’s like several relationship you must decide to your relationship and for seeing it via.

SA: You possibly can’t simply do one thing for one exhibition.

KD: Yeah, it’s not a one off and even now, I’m not proper now, I turned museum for Human Rights. I’m on depart proper now however all of these individuals are like I’m nonetheless speaking to them perhaps not daily, however we contact base. In the event that they’re in city we’ll go for espresso or if I’m touring we’ll go go to. You by no means know whenever you keep these relationships and once you construct that belief to a different degree, you’ll by no means know what you’ll get out of it.

The elders that advise me now are people who I truly received to know via the method of doing museum work and they’re the people who now type of advise me every day about what I’m doing proper or what I’m doing flawed or what I have to do higher in my relationships and in my work. That’s type of been a very essential consequence for me personally as nicely.

SA: Yeah, one of the issues I feel is actually fascinating is you’ve written about approaching reconciliation via a framework of hope quite than a framework of guilt.  I feel hope is a very highly effective approach of framing these conversations, however it’s fascinating even listening to that kind of juxtaposition of guilt and hope has these two concepts with which we frequently come to this dialog. Are you able to speak slightly bit about why hope, why guilt, why these are such formative concepts in this dialogue area?

KD: Yeah, completely. I feel that like so much of this considering comes each from the museum in addition to from my expertise educating. Lots of perceptions that I feel that notably non-indigenous Canadians convey to those conversations, as a result of of the main target that we’ve had on fact and reconciliation because the publication of the TRC’s ultimate report in the final, nicely, I assume a couple of years now, time has flown.

Many individuals, many settlers, many non-indigenous Canadians come to the dialog enthusiastic about guilt as a sense that they need to really feel once they hear about this factor or these occasions. They arrive to the dialog and they are saying, “Oh, you know, I just don’t want to feel guilty anymore.” They keep away from the conversations as a result of they’ve an expectation that that is the indigenous expectation of them.

They don’t need to come right into a dialog that’s based mostly on them feeling responsible. Basically, I don’t assume that the majority indigenous individuals are considering, “Geez, I really hope that this person feels terrible.” I feel that what many of us are considering are, “I hope that this person understands the context and some of our truths about our experiences in this country and with colonization.” That’s essential for them to know who we now have turn out to be as individuals and who we’re as nations.

I’m making an attempt to regain our power and our energy and our place. In lots of instances that’s nicely underway. However anyway, so when individuals come to the dialog enthusiastic about how they don’t need to really feel responsible anymore, it actually narrows the scope of engagement and motion and closes off an element of individuals. I see this in guests too, it closes off an element of them and as an alternative of forming relationships or as an alternative of making connections perhaps between some of their experiences or engagements with totally different communities.

The experiences of indigenous peoples, what they’re actually considering is, “These feelings are yucky and I don’t want to feel them.” They’ll shortly stroll away. I feel the facility in eager about fact and reconciliation by way of the spectrum of hope is that it actually does reframe the dialog in the direction of the longer term. It says, what can we do at this time to proceed to construct hope and proceed to construct momentum in fact and reconciliation for the longer term.

Sadly, as occurs so much with rather a lot of these concepts, reconciliation has been utilized in many instances in a very restricted method and it hasn’t been utilized in fascinated by find out how to reframe relationships. When it’s utilized in such a restricted means, it good points a nasty rap. I don’t understand how else to say that, it good points a nasty fame in first nations communities, native communities, Inuit communities as a result of it appears void. It appears meaningless.

Approaching with hope as an alternative of guilt, hope doesn’t imply that you simply’re taking a look at every part by means of type of rose-colored glasses. You’ll be able to strategy one thing with hope based mostly on an understanding and recognition of the previous, but in addition based mostly on an orientation in the direction of the longer term. I feel the method of constructing relationships is based on this concept that you simply’re going to be hopeful that it’s going to end up properly, proper?

When museums strategy the conversations about fact and reconciliation from a spot of hope, from a spot of risk, it actually widens the spectrum for motion each for people and for establishments.

SA: Sadly, the remaining of Karine’s interview dropped out right here. Know-how is simply the worst, however I’d wish to thank Karine and Omar for his or her considerate views. I’ll be sure that to drop some hyperlinks to some of each their work to their considering and their writing in the present notes.  You possibly can comply with up with each of them and study extra about what they’re doing and what they’re considering. It was so fantastic to listen to from each of them and to actually take into consideration this matter of fact and reconciliation.

There’s a lot right here, however as we transfer ahead, as we do take into consideration the position of museums in coping with systematic and systemic human rights violations and by means of therapeutic and what our position is in that. That is undoubtedly an space for future work. Museopunks is introduced each month by the American Alliance of Museums. You’ll be able to join with me on twitter @Museopunks or take a look at the prolonged present notes at

In fact, you’ll be able to subscribe anytime at iTunes or Stitcher. One ultimate plug earlier than I log off. On October eight, I might be giving the keynote at The Customer Expertise Convention in San Antonio, Texas. When you’re in the world or in the event you’re going to be on the convention, let me know. I might like to get in contact, say hello, and hear extra about what you’ve been interested by in phrases of progressive museum follow in your world. Till subsequent time, have an incredible month.