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A new way of thinking about museum pieces: decolonizing them

Generations of people walked through museums--and still do--looking at items used by the people who used to live on the land around us. But their descendants are still around, and the items may still have uses. You might not want to use a basket from hundreds of years ago, but similar baskets are still made and used by Native American people. And indigenous people are talking to museums about "decolonizing" their collections, to think of items as "belongings" instead of "artifacts."

Grand Ronde Tribal Member and traditional basket weaver, Stephanie Craig.
Brian Bull
Grand Ronde Tribal Member and traditional basket weaver, Stephanie Craig

We explore the concept further in the latest edition of our Underground History podcast, a joint project with the Southern Oregon University Laboratory of Anthropology. Chelsea Rose of SOULA talks to Grand Ronde Tribal Member Stephanie Craig, who teaches basket weaving skills. She explains the evolving thinking about what physical items represent, and how and even if they should be displayed.

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The Jefferson Exchange is Jefferson Public Radio's daily news program focused on issues, people and events across Southern Oregon and Northern California. Angela Decker is the program's senior producer, Charlie Zimmermann is the assistant producer, and Geoffrey Riley hosts the show.