The New Museology : Indigenous Appropriation and Decolonial Possibilities
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The museum in the community of San Francisco is a first step towards this idea of recuperation. As outlined in the previous chapter, the museum gives space to members of the community to analyze and remember their history, and the space to shake their epistemological foundations that may not allow them to be attuned to the forces acting around them, or that take away their hope to defeat them. Though the museum provides this space for analysis and thought, it is not just the physical space of the museum that provides a chance for the community to engage in a decolonial project. To move towards a vision of decolonization, the museum and its methodologies must be constantly reproduced in the minds of community members to continue in its mandate. One way that the community of San Francisco Cajonos allows the museum to transcend its physical space for the purpose of decolonizing the spirits and minds of its members is through the initiation of workshops hosted for members of the community. These workshops work in a variety of ways to fully embody a decolonial ideal. Firstly, the ability for the community member to gain useful skills through the workshops is a way to support a vision for decolonization. Once indigenous people have access to the knowledges and spheres that they have been long excluded from, they can begin the process. Another way that the methodologies of the museum also embody decolonial understandings is through the purposeful integration of Comunalidad into the workshop's structure. By continually teaching and reteaching the importance oft he tenants of Comunalidad, participants in those workshops are able to remember and give value to systems of thought that have existed since time immemorial. Finally, the workshop's impact of helping reproduce the culture and values of the community is another way that the methodologies are used to keep people connected to the museum become or maintain their decolonial nature. This workshop was done with the knowledge that indigenous peoples are not static, that these traditional knowledges also change based on the context they are applied in. In the workshop that I helped host, the radio was not a traditional medium to tell stories, but the idea, its foundation, was embedded in the traditions of oral history. That is one way that it became relevant to the decolonizing mission of the workshops. overstating it if I said that it could solve our problems. The museum addresses and attempts to resolve many facets of colonization, but it is not a whole solution to the problem. It takes much more than just remembering for us to be able to decolonize our minds and homes, but that we must do something with it. That the museum isn't just a place to hold objects, but that it provides a place for the community to reflect on their stories and that the museum doesn't just stop at the door but continues outward and envelopes the community that it is an appendage of it. The community is the motor of the museum in more ways than just creating it but maintaining it and engaging it is what allows it to implant the ideals of the community. The community museum is a possibility to create an entirely new understanding of the self that is not predicated on the logics of the colonizer, and for this, holds so much potential as a way for communities across the globe to decolonize their communities. As seen from the discussion above, this is already happening in locales across the Americas, from Michigan to Oaxaca. To understand the museum as having transcendent properties that also have decolonial implications is to also embrace the notion that this work takes on different lenses of understanding that propel us into a vision of the future.