83. Chris Newell Forges The Snowshoe Path as the First Wabanaki Leader of the Abbe Museum


Welcome to museum archipelago. I'm Ian Elsner. Museum archipelago guides you through the rocky landscape of museums. Each episode is never longer than fifteen minutes. So let's get started. Chris Newell Remembers Visiting the Abbey Museum in Bar Harbor. Maine as a kid, his father was hired to put on educational performances to perform songs about their past Mikati language, history and culture at the need of market and the native American Festival hosted by the museum. So every summer, the family would drive the two and a half hours from their home in MMG, Look Newell, look forward to it year after year with an almost giddy level of excitement, but even as a young person, Newell could clearly see the difference between the surrounding events like the native market and the festival, which will run by members of the WAB, Inaki nations and the museum. which was not back then the Abbey Museum was more traditional ethnographic collection, a lot of weddings and things like that, so when it came to the museum itself, and did feel very much like inclined museum was Barbara Institution not necessarily allow mackey institution, so I definitely felt a lot more connection to things like the vessel, native American festival in those, because those were neater run and be supporting them, although I knew what. I knew the special collection I knew the shredder, and they have as far as the history of mind. People's by able as well as I keep. People's in general, always been attracted to wise available in the Abbey. mcdonagh's as a child I felt it was different spaces today, Chris Crystal, a possible quality citizen is the first member of the watanake nations to lead the Abbey. Museum high money. My name is Chris Lual and I am the director of Education for the. Educational Initiative also CO founder and I'm also the executive director and senior partner. Donations for the Abbey Museum in Bar Harbor. Chris! Co founded the ADAMO. Educational Initiative in two thousand, eighteen with Donna Spears DNA ob joy, chickasaw Choctaw and Dr Jason Man Cheney Agamal is a pass quality word for the snowshoe path at the beginning of winter. The snowshoe path is hard to find, but the more people pass along and carve out this path through the snow during the season. The easier it becomes for everyone to walk together on episode sixty eight of this show we interviewed spears about how the initiative was born out of their experiences seen colonial museum practices across present New England. So, what do we mean when we say colonial museum outside the context of Colonial Williamsburg of course, this kind goes off of my colleague Don from. Who was on the museum archipelago before museums are colonial artifacts. The idea of a museum comes with colonization and tribal museums, even in their own right are using that colonial artifacts. As a way to present her native histories, only doing different in tribal museum in a non tribal museum, largely consists of the American conservation movement which started in the nineteenth century, and when came to museums, and especially the way museum content was created colonial museums would oftentimes focus on tribes that they felt at the time were less impacted, which would have been Western plains tribes in South Western tribes so if you go into a non-tribal museum that. That has native content Colonia Museum. Then what you typically see is a presentation of native cultures through the Lens of anthropology and archaeology and a lot of those voices, ninety nine percent of those voices, especially in the past were non native voices that were framing that lends and hot of you are cultures, and so it's not uncommon to see things that out place, so to go to northeastern museum that has a collection and to see only planes. Or only question. Pari and no Wolpe Martino. Ashland basket is really kind of an old fashioned way of presenting things that goes back to a motive, thinking really originated in the idea that native people were going to vanish at one point and that we needed our history saves by an outside force, and that's literally well. The Columbia Museum represents is that mindset and the Abbey Museum is rooted in that. Mindset opened in nineteen, twenty eight. It housed the collection of native American. Objects gathered by radiologists Robert Abbey in a purpose built building. Newell was hired to lead the Abbey Museum in February twenty twenty. Four lockdowns due to cove nineteen began, but the decolonization process had been going on at the museum for the past five years. The Abbey Museum has gone through the fast five years under the previous executive director. The President CEO at the time cinnamon. Caitlyn the good I the colonization, process and car that. Not just in the content of the museum, which centers need voices now, but also in the structure of the way the museum is run in the has overtime restructured as board to become a majority Ebina Keyboard so Columbia Museum that Presents Lab Aki history. We are probably the only museum that has a structure where the voice of the people that we are representing is now centered, and is also governing the institution itself when the change of directorship happened, the museum changed the title from President and CEO to executive, director and senior partner to the watanake nations as part of this decolonisation process and the shift of power the. Tribes today are five times asking. Scott. Avenue tribes in the history. There was over twenty drives at one point, but currently there are five tribes. Nike is an over arching for the cosmetology of the peoples. Tribes in the beliefs and stories. Of Being Liska created on people from Yash reason gave us the name weapon. Aki, which is the anglicized version of impassioned twelve naccache wish would translate to the people of the dawn collectively. That's how we see ourselves. We we understand that we are the easternmost tribes on the consummate, and

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