Consultation and Collaboration: A Starting Point for Museums and Indigenous Tribes

An image showing a museum exhibit on the left and a member of a tribe dancing to the right
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.

Workshop Sessions

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

Tribal Information Sheets


Collaboration Between Museums and Indigenous Partners
June 22, 2023
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
June 29, 2023
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.


An image showing the logos of THC and other partner organizations

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.