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Native American group denounces Met’s exhibition of indigenous objects

The Association on American Indian Affairs says the "first mistake was to call these objects art" and that tribal representatives should have been consulted.

A Native American advocacy group is sharply criticising an exhibition of indigenous objects at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, contending that it violates ethical practices. Shannon O'Loughlin, the executive director of the Association on American Indian Affairs (AAIA), argues that curators “did not consult with affiliated tribal representatives to perform their due diligence, but their first mistake was to call these objects art”.

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The exhibition, Art of Native America: the Charles and Valerie Diker Collection, is assembled from more than 100 promised gifts and loans, as well as some items that have entered the museum’s permanent collection, from the collection of the two New York philanthropists. Mounted in the American wing of the museum at Charles Diker’s request, it is the first show of Native American works to be presented as “American art rather than tribal art”, as he said in a recent interview with The Art Newspaper.

In a press release, the AAIA urges the museum to “remove items of Native American cultural heritage, including sacred items, cultural patrimony and funerary objects from its exhibition” until “affiliated tribal government representatives are consulted”.

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Tags: #art, #indigenouspeoples
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