Where is the world-famous Metropolitan Museum of Art located? Google Maps shows: in New York, in Manhattan. To be more precise, it’s in Central Park, Fifth Avenue. But as of last week, the 1872 museum building features a plaque that tells visitors that “The Metropolitan Museum of Art is in Lenapehoking.”
Lenapehoking refers to the Lenape area, an indigenous people who lived on the east coast of the United States, between Connecticut and Delaware. In the eighteenth century, Lenape was forcibly expelled from this region, as the cities of Philadelphia and New York were founded.
The American Museum now wants to do justice to that history. The painting states, “We value and honor all indigenous communities – past, present and future – for their continuing and essential relationship with the region.”
These types of disclosures are called “land recognitions” (Adoption of the lands), have long been popular in museums in Australia and New Zealand. The fact that the Metropolitan Museum now contains a painting is a continuation of another historic step. Last year, the museum appointed a full-time curator for the first time Native American art On. When she took office, Patricia Marroquin Norby promised that she would work with Aboriginal communities to bring about “meaningful systemic change”. She and two of her colleagues put the memorial plaque on the façade.
The gallery is currently in the building on Fifth Avenue Native American Art: The Charles and Valerie Decker Collection To see. He donated over a hundred artifacts from fifty different indigenous cultures in North America. Work is now underway on a land recognition board for the Upper Manhattan branch. Incidentally, the word “Manhattan” comes from the Linabe language.