“Over six years, they led the examination of the Indian residential school system, combing through myriad documents and witnessing the courage of survivors who shared their stories. Their final report invites all Canadians to confront the inequities of the past, and calls on governments and individuals alike to move forward, with greater understanding, towards reconciliation.”
Actor Tom Jackson, a past recipient of the Order of Canada, brought Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and his wife, Sophie Grégoire Trudeau, to tears after the formal ceremony with a moving call to action to improve the standing of the country’s Indigenous people.
[In 1893 a group of indigenous Aymara Bolivian men traveled to the United States so that they could be put on display at the 1893 Chicago World’s Fair Columbian Exposition, which celebrated the 400th anniversary of Columbus’s arrival in the Americas. While researching their story, Nancy Egan, a doctoral student in Latin American history at the University of California, San Diego, delved into the history of indigenous people brought to the United States and Europe and put on display in what she calls “human zoos.”
Because the rationale behind these exhibits was so closely tied to the logics of empire, or the exhibition of empire, many of these exhibits began to disappear when the European empires began to decline, but they also began to change form before then. In a historical study of these events, titled Human Zoos, several historians propose that these exhibitions began to emphasize showing cultural differences instead of racial ones by the 1920s. However, some forms of these exhibits continued well into the 20th century, and certainly, using the logic of cultural difference to justify political, economic and military domination has not disappeared.] Read the full article here | INDIAN COUNTRY TODAY
Sitting Bull and Buffalo Bill (William Cody) posing for the Wild West Show
Visitors and museum staff say that by displaying American Indian cultures alongside dinosaur fossils, gemstones and animals, dioramas make their subjects seem less than fully human. And because they depict a culture in a freeze-frame moment in time—often during the seventeenth century, around when many tribes first contacted Europeans—they make children think that all the American Indians are dead.
These disagreements arise because dioramas aren’t the soul of the problem. The problem is the culture that put American Indians in dioramas in the first place—in natural history museums, alongside the dinosaurs, in these sometimes-beautiful, contained worlds meant to record what the assumed viewer’s ancestors had wiped out. Different museums and cultural centers try to move away and move on from that history in different ways.