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Deana Dartt


Anne Ray Fellow

Affiliation at time of award:
Department of Museum Studies,
University of Oregon

Negotiating the Master Narrative: Museums and the Indian/Californio Community of California’s Central Coast

Dr. Dartt’s goal for the fellowship period is to revise her dissertation manuscript for publication with the University of Nebraska Press. The manuscript examines museum representations in California and addresses incongruities between the stories museums tell and those that are held within Native communities themselves. The most problematic of these misrepresentations, is the racialization that occurs through exhibition practices and educational tours that underscore oversimplified definitions of Native and settlement communities. The book will contribute to the body of literature aimed at decolonizing practices in academia and public history, as well as situate itself in the dialogue around incursions into mainstream museums practice. From a practical museum field standpoint, the book also proposes several ways to engage Native people in public history work as well as offer some direction for more relevant, sophisticated and culturally appropriate models.

Generous funding for this Fellowship provided by the Anne Ray Foundation.



Mapping the Camino Indigenous: Reclaiming the Road on Our Terms

Wednesday, October 11, 2017, 12:00–1:00 pm, Free

The California Missions Foundation, a group of historians and Mission supporters seek UNESCO World Heritage designation for the “Royal Road,” which connected the Baja and Alta California Missions and allowed for Spain’s domination of the region. Supplanting the emphasis on Spain, Tribal leaders along the greater California coast are currently exploring possible interventions to either counter the UNESCO designation or co-opt it—reasserting a strong visual presence that underscores an ancient, powerful, indigenous narrative. This lecture explores some of the efforts underway, which include a variety of expressions including a film and a major traveling exhibition organized by Tribal leaders, artists and scholars from the greater California coast. Ultimately, the goal is to reclaim the road that facilitated migration and movement among indigenous people; one that emphasizes connections and privileging relationships, social alliances and the realities of interdependence along the Pacific Coast, pre-California, pre-border and long before—and despite—the Mission system.

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Videography by McCall Sides.