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Biden’s Policies Force Museum to Shutter Native American Exhibits!

The American Museum of Natural History is facing new federal regulations that will require the closure of two of its halls showcasing Native American cultural artifacts. The Hall of Eastern Woodlands and Hall of the Great Plains, which house thousands of items related to Native American tribes, will be shut down immediately. Additionally, smaller objects across other galleries will be removed from public view.

The museum is taking these steps in order to comply with the updated Native American Graves Protection and Repatriation Act, which President Biden signed into law in December. The law aims to give tribes the ability to reclaim ancestral remains and cultural artifacts that were removed from their lands. Under the revised rules, museums and federal agencies must obtain tribal consent before displaying Native American human remains and sacred objects.

The museums have a five-year deadline to return all Native American remains in their collections and must rely on tribes’ oral histories to determine which groups should receive sacred cultural patrimony items. The American Museum of Natural History is not the only institution making these changes; other cultural institutions such as Harvard University’s Peabody Museum of Archaeology and Ethnology and the Cleveland Museum of Art are taking similar actions.

While returning human remains may be an important step, it is worth considering the loss of educational opportunities for future generations. These artifacts could have served as teaching tools to help people understand and appreciate the Native American cultures that once thrived on this land. Instead, they will likely be stored away for years while tribes decide their fate. The closure of these exhibits and removal of artifacts takes away an opportunity for visitors to learn and undermines the role of museums as keepers of history.

Written by Staff Reports

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