Tribal peoples are portrayed as backward and primitive simply because their communal ways are different. Industrialized societies subject them to genocidal violence, slavery and racism so they can steal their lands, resources and labor in the name of “progress” and “civilization.”
Survival’s Director Stephen Corry said: “The sort of views on display among this year’s nominees would not have been out of place in the colonial era. The idea that entire peoples are “backwards,” “miserable” or “morally degenerate” has always been used as an excuse for stealing their land and forcing them into the mainstream against their will.”
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It’s the most expensive, biggest museum devoted to people of African descent anywhere in the world, and that makes things complicated. — Samuel Black, past president of the Association of African American Museums
In surveys conducted during its planning, the Smithsonian found that Americans gave conflicting responses on slavery. It was the issue that potential visitors said was most important to explore — but the one they were the least eager to learn about. Pictured: A statue of Thomas Jefferson (left) standing in front of a stack of bricks with the names of his slaves is displayed next to the exhibition on how slaves fought on the front lines of the American Revolution. — Link in bio to our preview of the National Museum of African American History and Culture.