American Studies ETDs


Laura Elliff

Publication Date



Over the past three decades and in a significant shift, museum professionals have been collaborating with tribal communities by incorporating their voices into the daily tasks of exhibition design, education, and programs, as well as collections care and storage. This study will examine the Indian Arts Research Center's history and identity by highlighting collaborative projects that have resulted in the inclusion of Native voices and in some cases a joint decision-making process, which I argue has shifted the IARC's institutional identity. In the past, the IARC collection has mostly been managed and created by non-Native people, and Native input was not always consistently included. This shift to collaboration is significant in that it has created partnerships with tribal communities no longer is the relationship between institutions and communities a one-way street. This study will also bring voices of IARC staff, Native artists, and cultural advisers to the forefront.




inclusion of Native voice, collaboration, Indian Arts Research Center

Document Type


Degree Name

American Studies

Level of Degree


Department Name

American Studies

First Committee Member (Chair)

Jennifer Nez Denetdale

Second Committee Member

A. Gabriel Meléndez

Third Committee Member

Gerald Vizenor