Appropriation and Appreciation
We are near completion of our appreciation and appropriation exhibit in our rotating gallery! The
main focus of this exhibit is to distinguish the variations in which both non-indigenous and indigenous people express their ideologies of what it means to be "indigenous". On one hand we have the concepts of cultural appropriation, which has been politically loaded over the last few decades, and cultural appreciation.
Although cultural appropriate was intended to be a neutral term, the definition can be described as "the adoption of use of elements of one culture by member of another culture". In a modern sense that neutral position no longer stands; when we talk about cultural appropriation, it is always acquitted with the negative and nothing else. It can be considered neutral because it can have both positive and negative effects on the culture it is representing.
A positive example can be found with the Oliver Jackson collection. As mentioned before in a previous blog, Oliver's work, albeit it misunderstood, helped educate non-indigenous people during a time when practicing indigenous culture was deemed illegal. Oliver's work provided education and awareness during extremely harsh times for indigenous people. Despite his work somewhat supporting the idea of pan-indigeneity, Oliver wanted to make work to show how much he truly adored all aspects of indigenous culture.
Negative examples can be found almost anywhere you look. Ranging from iconic and slightly racist sports teams across the world to the misappropriation of different indigenous cultures within local communities. With the upcoming exhibit, we hope to further educate people about the differences between the idealized version of what indigenous people are supposed to be and what the syilx people are. Prime examples: we did not wear headdresses, carry around tepees, craft dream catchers, or have pow wows. Shocking, I know.
So from here I would like to introduce our new mannequins! We currently have a family of four and we have named them Hank, Peggy, Bobby, and Luanne. They are now part of the Museum Family and will be helping us in our future exhibits.