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Brett Graham, Maungārongo ki te Whenua Maungārongo ki te Tangata, Gallery 4, Installation image. Govett-Brewster Art Gallery. Image: Hayley Bethell.
Brett Graham, Maungārongo ki te Whenua Maungārongo ki te Tangata, Gallery 4, Installation image. Govett-Brewster Art Gallery. Image: Hayley Bethell.

November 15, 2021, 6:00 pm

Recent developments in preparation for this evening’s planned panel have broadened the potential significance and impact of our discussion on Sovereignty and Indigenous Curation.

In response to these developments and with an interest in maintaining an open and respectful forum for educational exchange, the ACT Program at MIT and the IAIA have decided to postpone and re-schedule this discussion until Spring 2022.

We look forward to involving our planned panel and possibly a wider group of speakers, participants, and audiences in an open conversation regarding these evolving and complex subjects in the coming months. With this in mind, we encourage potential listeners and participants to share their concerns and perspectives on issues of Sovereignty and Indigenous Curation at act@mit.edu or mfasa@iaia.edu.


Monday, November 15 at 6pm
Virtual Event
Watch Here

Dr. heather ahtone (Choctaw/Chickasaw Nation)

Senior Curator at the First Americans Museum in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma

Dr. Patricia Marroquin Norby (Purépecha)

Associate Curator of Native American art at the Metropolitan Museum of Art

Dr. Anna-Marie White (Te Ātiawa)

Tātai Taura | Principal Advisor at Toi Māori Aotearoa – Māori Arts New Zealand

Our panel discussion will consider ways in which the practice of Indigenous curation enacts sovereignty. We will address the various challenges of doing Indigenous curation within and, at times, against art institutions. Our discussion will take into account the difficulties of collaborating across various differences—cultural, disciplinary, educational, etc.—that are specific to exhibiting Indigenous arts. In these instances, Indigenous curators rely on diplomatic strategies based on Indigenous protocols of engagement. These protocols also guide an approach to their research that rigorously attends to the genealogy of Indigenous knowledge production, a higher standard of citation than that followed in the West. Ultimately, the conversation will highlight the necessity of Indigenous curators for curating Indigenous arts.

Erin Genia (Sisseton-Wahpeton Oyate/Odawa), a multidisciplinary artist, educator, community organizer, and ACT alumna, will be the respondent for our session.

This panel discussion will include short presentations followed by a moderated discussion with ACT Lecturer Mario Caro, and an open Q+A.

About the Panelists:

heather ahtone

heather ahtone is Senior Curator at First Americans Museum (FAM) in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. She and her team are currently developing the inaugural exhibitions for the 175,000 sq. ft. facility addressing the histories, cultures, and arts of the 39 Tribes of Oklahoma. She has worked in the Native arts community since 1993, and is recognized as a curator, arts writer, and researcher. ahtone has worked at the Institute of American Indian Arts Museum (now MoCNA), the Southwestern Association of Indian Arts ( both in Santa Fe, New Mexico), with Ralph Appelbaum Associates (New York), and in several positions at the University of Oklahoma. She has undergraduate degrees in Creative Writing and Printmaking and completed her education with a doctoral degree in Interdisciplinary Studies (Art History, Anthropology, Native American Studies). She is a citizen of the Chickasaw Nation and descendant of strong Choctaw women.

Patricia Norby

Patricia Marroquin Norby is an art curator and historian of Purépecha descent. She earned her Ph.D. in American Studies from the University of Minnesota-Twin Cities. Her thesis explored the involvement of Pueblo Indians in fine art production, industrial agriculture, and nuclear power production, highlighting interconnections between these three industries that are visually and materially present in American Indian and American art of this region and time period. She also completed an MFA in printmaking and photography from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Last year, she was appointed as the first-ever Associate Curator of Native American Art at the Metropolitan Museum.

Anna-Marie White

Anna-Marie White is a researcher, writer, curator and Strategic Advisor to Toi Māori Aotearoa: Māori Arts New Zealand.



Urgent, Critical, and Experimental Explorations Across Art-Culture-Technology

The Fall 2021 programming aims to revisit the foundational parameters of the Art, Culture, and Technology Program, positioning ACT within the context of a changing world and its future challenges. By articulating key thematic avenues and methodological approaches that intersect the work of invited artists and ACT faculty members, we link these inquiries to concerns of other researchers at MIT and beyond. The programming falls into two categories: artist talks and panels.