Museums and indigenous memory: the Katxuyana’s collections and the contemporaneity of musealized material culture

Adriana Russi, Astrid Kieffer-Døssing


Currently, ethnographic collections are at the center of a debate about the new meaning of museum collections, which questions the actuality of the preserved material culture. These issues also refer to the promotion of otherness and protagonism of the ‘collected people’ in museums, which trigger the interest of both researchers and indigenous people. The same is happening with the collections of the Amerindian Katxuyana. These collections count more than 700 objects collected by different expeditions at different moments in time and the collections have been preserved for more than 50 years in European and Brazilian museums. Despite this long timespan the objects are material records from everyday life, rituals and festive moments, and they reveal a little about the life of this people in the first half of the twentieth century. Some parts of these collections have been the source of dialogical experiences between researchers and Katxuyana in order to evoke memories and knowledge. This paper describe a bit about this course of approximation between Katxuyana and the collections.


Indigenous people; ethnographic collections; museum; social memory

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Museum and Society

ISSN 1479-8360

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