Representing an indigeneity that does not officially exist: A. K. Sartor, Artifacts of Representation: The Makings of Indigeneity in Argentine Museums, MA Dissertation, University of New Mexico, 2016
Abstract: Museums are an integral part of a nation’s identity formation – showcasing to national and international visitors what it means to be part of that nation. In Argentina, where national identity is tied to deep colonial roots, indigenous contributions in museums are often essentialized into a form that can easily be absorbed and appropriated by non-indigenous Argentines, as part of a legacy of an ethnic past. For my research, I visited museums in Argentina and cataloged how indigenous people were represented in order to analyze Argentina’s interactions with the indigenous people that are often believed not to exist. My thesis aims to engage with these representations of indigeneity in order to better understand and explain the role of the museum in a nation’s educational and political systems and how various methods of showcasing cultures marked as other can lead to lack of knowledge and support for the complicated histories and present day issues of ethnic minorities. I use this information to discuss how relationships between indigenous and non-indigenous people are affected by museum representations of indigeneity and how that leads to political and structural action or inaction.
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