Decolonization and the Road to Indigenization Resource Kit

In the past few years, the public history field has shifted its focus towards Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Access (DEIA) initiatives, from implementing more inclusive hiring practices to expanding stories told in museum interpretation. While this DEIA work is a significant step in the right direction, the field will never truly advance in becoming more diverse, equitable, inclusive, or accessible until we acknowledge the inequitable structures of power and privilege our institutions benefit from as a lasting consequence of colonization and commit to decolonizing our institutions and museum practice. This Decolonization and the Road to Indigenization Resource Kit is intended to assist public history practitioners in the decolonization process. The AASLH conference sessions, webinars, History News articles, and books in the kit provide insight into a breadth of topics relating to the central decolonization theme, such as how museums have contributed to the settler colonial project, Native American history and culture from an Indigenous perspective, and best practices for forming Native partnerships built on trust and collaboration. Select AASLH award winners show decolonization in publications, exhibits, and various other projects. Included at the end of the kit are three outside resources for creating a meaningful land acknowledgment that honors Indigenous people, past and present, and works to undo the harmful legacies of colonization by acknowledging that institutions occupy stolen land.

A full annotated guide to these resources, including details and summaries, can be found here.

Past Conference Sessions

History News Articles

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Leadership in History Award Winners

2022

Publication Award: Daybreak Woman: An Anglo-Dakota Life by Jane Lamm Carroll

History in Progress Award and Award of Excellence: Friends of Wood Memorial Library & Museum for Nowashe Village 

Award of Excellence: Shiloh Museum of Ozark History Education and Arkansas Archeological Survey for Native American Days Program and Resources

Award of Excellence: Barona Cultural Center & Museum for Peyii ‘Enyeway ‘Esekaayches! We Are Still Here!

Award of Excellence: Historical and Cultural Society of Clay County and Native American Advisory Group for Ihdago Manipi: Clay County at 150

Award of Excellence: Mandan, Hidatsa and Arikara Nation for the MHA Interpretive Center

Award of Excellence: The Waccamaw Indian People and Coastal Carolina University for Waccamaw Indian People: Past, Present, Future

2021

Award of Excellence: The Library Company of Philadelphia for Ghost River: The Fall and Rise of the Conestoga

2020 

Award of Excellence: Heard Museum for the exhibit Away from Home: American Indian Boarding School Stories

Award of Excellence: Hawaiian Mission Houses Historic Site and Archives for the publication Kōkua Aku, Kōkua Mai: Chiefs, Missionaries, and Five Transformations of the Hawaiian Kingdom

Award of Excellence: Shakopee Mdewakanton Sioux Community for the exhibit Mdewakanton: Dwellers of the Spirit Lake

Award of Excellence: National Cowboy and Western Heritage Museum for the exhibit Caballeros y Vaqueros: The Origin of Western Horse Cultures

2019

Award of Excellence: Sheila Goff for a distinguished career nurturing intercultural partnerships and championing the rights of Native Americans in museums

Award of Excellence: Museum of Indian Arts and Culture for the exhibit Lifeways of the Southern Athabaskans

2018

History in Progress Award & Award of Merit: Atwood Resource Center at the Anchorage Museum for the AFN Photo Identification Project

Award of Merit: Marcia G. Anderson for the publication A Bag Worth a Pony: The Art of the Ojibwe Bandolier Bag

Award of Merit: Coronado Historic Site and the Friends of Coronado Historic Site for the public program Dig Kuaua

Award of Merit: Oshkosh Public Museum for the exhibit People of the Waters

2017

Award of Merit: Hawaiian Mission Houses Historic Site and Archives and Awaiaulu Inc. for the project Letters from the Ali`i

Award of Merit: Michigan History Center for the public program Rock Your Mocs

2016

Award of Merit: Oakland Museum of California for the exhibit Pacific Worlds

Award of Merit: Cahokia Mounds State Historic Site for the project Wetlands & Waterways: The Key to Cahokia

Award of Merit: Brenda J. Child (Red Lake Ojibwe) for the publication My Grandfather’s Knocking Sticks: Ojibwe Family Life and Labor

Award of Merit: Anton Treuer (Ojibwe) for the publication Warrior Nation: A History of the Red Lake Ojibwe

Webinars

Books

Bench, Raney. Interpreting Native American History and Culture at Museums and Historic Sites. Lanham, MD: Rowman and Littlefield, 2014.

Land Acknowledgements

Land Acknowledgments

U.S. Department of Arts and Culture - The Honor Native Land Guide and The Honor Native Land Virtual Resource Pack

About the guide from USDAC: Created in partnership with Native allies and organizations, the Guide offers context about the practice of acknowledgment, gives step-by-step instructions for how to begin wherever you are, and provides tips for moving beyond acknowledgment into action.

Acknowledgment by itself is a small gesture. It becomes meaningful when coupled with authentic relationships and informed action. But this beginning can be an opening to greater public consciousness of Native sovereignty and cultural rights, a step toward equitable relationship and reconciliation.

About the pack from USDAC: We are eager to share this #HonorNativeLand Virtual Acknowledgement Pack as an effort to renew our commitment to acknowledging place and the ancestral and contemporary stewards of these irreplaceable resources of land, air, water and cosmos.

With this release of these digital tools, we encourage folks to find creative ways to weave in acknowledgment as they host events and staff meetings in the digital space.

In this pack you will find: a series of virtual backgrounds to upload to your online meeting platform. To use we encourage you to navigate your platform’s settings to upload; a series of images formatted to share as a series on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter or elsewhere, which reinforce why it is important to continue the practice of acknowledging space, even in the digital world; and our #HonorNativeLand poster series.


Native Governance Center - A Guide to Indigenous Land Acknowledgment [2019]

About the guide from NGC: Native Governance Center co-hosted an Indigenous land acknowledgment event with the Lower Phalen Creek Project on Indigenous Peoples’ Day 2019 (October 14). The event featured the following talented panelists: Dr. Kate Beane (Flandreau Santee Dakota and Muskogee Creek), Mary Lyons (Leech Lake Band of Ojibwe), Rose Whipple (Isanti Dakota and Ho-Chunk), Rhiana Yazzie (Diné), and Cantemaza (Neil) McKay (Spirit Lake Dakota). We’ve created this handy guide to Indigenous land acknowledgment based on our panelists’ responses.


Tomaquag Museum - A Guide for Land Acknowledgments by Lorén Spears (Narragansett Niantic) [2020]

Introduction to the guide from the Tomaquag Museum: Land Acknowledgements (LA) are complex, location specific, yet there is no distinct formula for the creation of a LA. Land Acknowledgements are different if presented by Indigenous people versus non-Native people. If presented by Indigenous people, they often will do it as a welcome to their homelands and if by non-Native people it is done to acknowledge the traditional land stewardship, contributions and continuation of the First Peoples. Creating a land acknowledgement can be difficult to fulfill all needs or goals. However, it is important to start somewhere and refine as needed. It is also important to know a Land Acknowledgement is the beginning of the inclusion of Indigenous voice, diversity exploration, incorporation in all fields, supporting Indigenous nations and organizations, empowering Indigenous peoples (economic justice), supporting Indigenous-led grassroots campaigns, environmental justice, land and water rights, and ultimately land return to Indigenous nations.