from Gwyneira Isaac, Ingrid Ahlgren, Alan Ojiig Corbiere, and Judith Andrews
At a time when museums are expected to address access issues that are the explicit and implicit products of their colonial histories, the Recovering Voices initiative at the Smithsonian Institution has focused on on-site and in-person community-led research. In particular, the Community Research Program (CRP) supports projects designed and implemented by Indigenous communities and according to their values and priorities. Through interviews with previous CRP participants, we explore how this approach employs a model where research is conducted in Indigenous languages and methods, and according to community-driven agendas.
As a result, this assessment revealed the value of physically ‘being present’ with and in collections as an unrivaled and integral means for producing, re-producing, and re-activating Indigenous knowledge, as well as ‘bearing witness’ to the historic traumas presented by these objects and, therefore, the power and affect they still hold in the present.