The American Museum of Natural History to Close Exhibits Displaying Native American Belongings (ProPublica)

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    The American Museum of Natural History to Close Exhibits Displaying Native American Belongings – By Logan Jaffe and Mary Hudetz (ProPublica) / Jan 26 2024

    The change is in response to new federal regulations that went into effect this month following reporting by ProPublica on institutional failures to return Native American remains and sacred objects to tribes.

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    The American Museum of Natural History, one of the country’s largest museums whose prestige was built in part on excavating Native American gravesites, is shuttering some of its longtime exhibits that display cultural materials that could be subject to return to tribal nations.

    The move comes as the New York City museum and many others, including the Field Museum of Natural History in Chicago, consult with tribes and evaluate their compliance with new federal regulations intended to speed up the process of returning ancestral remains and sacred items under the Native American Graves Protection and Repatriation Act. ProPublica published a series of articles last year, called “The Repatriation Project,” about the failures of museums to comply with the law in the past three decades.

    Sean Decatur, president of the American Museum of Natural History, told staff in a letter on Friday that the “Eastern Woodlands and Great Plains Halls” will be closed to the public starting Saturday. The letter, provided to ProPublica, was first reported by The New York Times. Both exhibit halls, which contain numerous items from tribes in Montana, the Dakotas, Wisconsin and other states, are “severely outdated,” Decatur said.

    CONTINUE > https://www.propublica.org/article/american-museum-natural-history-to-close-native-american-exhibits

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