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Coming Soon: The Future is Indigenous

Stories from the new Native North America Hall at the Field Museum

Alaka Wali and Tom Skwerski
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In 2018, the Field Museum embarked on a four-year renovation of its Native North American Hall. Partnership with the Native American community was a central focus of this project, culminating in the new permanent exhibition, Native Truths: Our Voices, Our Stories. This edited volume delves into the collaborative journey of the exhibition, presenting perspectives on its major themes and the processes by which it was created. The contributors, including members of the exhibition’s Native American Advisory Committee, offer a transformative perspective on museum curation, highlighting the shift towards practice which involves and honors
Indigenous communities. They explore the intersection of contemporary Indigenous theory and museum practice, weaving together the fundamental concepts underpinning Native American worldviews and contemporary concerns, and the challenges faced in bringing about a major exhibition that centers Native American collaboration. The text is enriched by personal accounts from Indigenous artists
and community members, and showcases visual highlights from the exhibition installations.

This will be an open access title available under the terms of a CC BY-NC-ND 4.0 License.


Alaka Wali is Curator Emerita of North American Anthropology within the Science and Education Division at the Field Museum. She curated the North American collection and led the team that renovated the Native North American Hall

Tom Skwerski serves as the Exhibitions Operations Director at the Field Museum of Natural History. He has managed a diverse range of
exhibitions, including the Cyrus Tang Hall of China, Terracotta Warriors, Mammoths and Mastodons, Darwin, and Antarctic Dinosaurs.

Contributors: Stephanie Black, Michelle Brownlee, June Carpenter, Robert Keith Collins, Mackenzie Fairchild, Susan Golland, J. Kae Good Bear, Katie Hillson, Jaap Hoogstraten, Drew Jepson, Ellen Jordan, Doug Kiel, Rosalyn LaPier, Cynthia Chavez Lamar, Tori Lee, Katie Linder, Patty Loew, Matt Matcuk, Teresa Montoya, Blaire Morseau, Erin E. Murphy, Nicole Passerotti, Joseph “Matt” Reed, Helen Robbins, Nicole Schmidt, Tom Skwerski, Joe Stahlman, Emily Starck, Eli Suzukovich III, Elizabeth Vasquez, Alaka Wali, W. Richard West, Jr.

Changing Stories content contributors: Johnathan Buffalo, Shelley Buffalo, Tony Chavarria, Luke Kapayou, Stewart Koyiyumptewa, Meranda Roberts, Lorene Sisquoc, Brian Vallo, Frank Waln

“This volume is a major contribution to the fields of anthropology, Indigenous archaeology, museology, and community-based participatory research. It forces the reader to tackle the colonial and imperial history of museums as connected to tribal communities. It asks museums to grapple with their fraught history and give up their power so they may center, elevate, and celebrate Indigenous culture, histories, and knowledge.“ Assistant Professor Emily C. Van Alst, Washington State University

“I believe this is going to be a highly influential text for the Indigenous community, museum industry, and the broader public. It will help people understand the land they are on, the diverse range of people and cultures connected to that land, and the impact and effects of the history therein.“ Dr Mariko Smith (Manager, First Nations Collections & Engagement), Australian Museum