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Mark Trahant: NMAI must change the story

"At their best, museums tell stories. They show an artifact, a piece of jewelry or photograph. Those images, items and people are frozen in time. They represent a past, perhaps something forgotten. But the challenge of an American Indian museum is to do more. It must change the story, not just reflect the past.

Sen. Daniel Inouye, D-Hawaii, said he first understood the importance of the native story when he read about the Smithsonian's collection of some 18,000 Native American skulls and other human remains. 'I went to see it for myself,' he recalled. 'There in neatly arranged green boxes were the remains.' These remains were collected on battlefields or from desecrated graves.

'How would Irish Americans or Japanese Americans react if their ancestors were in green boxes?' Inouye asked. 'Long after the Indian wars, Indian people were still arranged in green boxes.'"

Get the Story:
Mark Trahant: Indian museum is alive -- and working toward a brighter future (The Seattle Post-Intelligencer 9/26)

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