The Texas Department of Transportation, the Texas Historical Commission, the Bullock Texas State History Museum, and our Tribal Advisory Committee collaborated on a series of workshops that offered around the state in Spring 2023. Locations included Austin, Edinburg, Victoria, Longview, Abilene, El Paso, and Canyon.
Workshop participants learned the importance of and how to build lasting relationships with federally recognized American Indian tribes in Texas, or ancestral to Texas, as well as how to integrate tribal history and culture into state and local interpretation. Examples of how American Indians have been represented in museums in the past were contrasted with how they are represented in collaborative or Indigenous-led exhibits.
Topics discussed included identifying culturally insensitive interpretation and practices in your own institution and when and why it's necessary to work with tribes when making those assessments. Participants learned who to contact within tribes, how to contact them, how to cultivate that two-way relationship, and how to be respectful of their knowledge and artifacts.
Monday, February 27
Austin: Bullock Texas State History Museum
Tuesday, March 28
Edinburg: Museum of South Texas History
Thursday, March 30
Victoria: Museum of the Coastal Bend
Tuesday, April 18
Longview: Gregg County Historical Museum
Thursday, April 20
Abilene: The Grace Museum
Tuesday, May 2
El Paso: Centennial Museum and Chihuahuan Gardens
Thursday, May 4
Canyon: Palo Duro Canyon State Park
Workshop Materials and Resources
Workshop Presentation Slides
Texas and Tribes: Shared Traditions
Texas and Tribes: Shared Traditions, Activity Guide
Museum Services Information Sheet
Artifact Collecting in Texas
Destruction of Archeological Sites in Texas
A Property Owner's Guide to Archeological Sites
Additional Archeology Resources
TxDOT Archeology and History
Standards for Museums with Native American Collections
Tribal Information Sheets
Collaboration Between Museums and Indigenous Partners
Thursday, June 22, 10:00 a.m. CT
Kate McElvaney, Gabriel Truly, Dirk Van Tuerenhout, Houston Museum of Natural Science
The Houston Museum of Natural Science opened the new Hall of the Americas in September 2022 after extensive collaborative work with an Indigenous Advisory Group composed of artists, teachers, and educators from Canada to Guatemala. This is a long-term relationship that extends beyond the preparations to open the new hall. Meeting and collaborating virtually, the Indigenous Advisory Group provided advice on which objects, narratives, images, and digital media would be displayed as well as any and all concepts and ideas included in the Hall. The Group also edited all text panels and labels. The review process succeeded in bringing everyone involved into a true partnership, ensuring that the Hall itself has an authentic Indigenous voice proclaiming the very important message: WE ARE STILL HERE.
Tribal Collaboration, Sovereignty, and Methodology: An Ndee (Apache) Perspective
Thursday, June 29, 2:00 p.m. CT
Nicholas Laluk, University of California, Berkeley
The evolution of the disciplines of anthropology and archaeology in the U.S. is ongoing. Current collaborative projects are challenging past methods and practices to be more comprehensive and to emphasize Tribal wants, interests, and overall goals. However, many of the legacies of early interpretations and understandings of Indigenous cultures in the U.S. remain. Understanding Federal Indian Law, what terms like “sovereignty” mean to Tribal Nations, and how Tribes are asserting their own forms of sovereignty in cultural heritage resource management leads to better understandings of Indigenous pasts, present, and futures.
Consultation and Collaboration: A Starting Point for Museums and Indigenous Tribes is a collaboration between the Bullock Texas State History Museum, the Texas Historical Commission, and the Texas Department of Transportation.