Abbe Museum President and CEO Cinnamon Catlin-Legukto will give a talk around the Museum's decolonizing museum practices at the Seaside United Church of Christ in Northeast Harbor. As part of their Soup with Substance Lecture Series, a simple soup and salad meal will be included free of charge.
Traditional museum practices of exhibiting, collecting, and programming have informed the collective memories of museum-goers while dehumanizing Native history and creating colonizing museum spaces. Emotional, spiritual, and physical harm is done when these colonized spaces and practices are not acknowledged and addressed. As explained by Ho-Chunk scholar Amy Lonetree, “Museums can be very painful sites for Native peoples, as they are intimately tied to the colonization process.” The Abbe Museum is developing strategies to address and acknowledge this harm and to support other museums that are ready to start the process of decolonization.
Decolonization means, at a minimum, sharing governance and authority for the documentation and interpretation of Native culture. Decolonizing practices at the Abbe are collaborative with tribal communities, privilege Native perspective and voice, and include the full measure of history, ensuring truth-telling. You can read more about our progress and plans on our Strategic Plan blog.
Cinnamon has been the driving force behind the Abbe Museum’s decolonization initiative, working with the Native communities in Maine to develop policies and protocols to ensure collaboration and cooperation with Wabanaki people. In 2016 she gave her first TEDx talk, We Must Decolonize Our Museums.