If you want to talk about decolonizing museums and other knowledge institutions in this world then you need to speak with those who preserve, produce, and pass on culture. In the fascinating and complex case of the Maasai and their engagement with museums in the UK, it is women who play an essential role in knowing about what an artifact is, how it is made, and why it is important. Despite this fact, in this growing global conversation, the voices we more often hear are male.
Today on the program we hear from two women of the Maasai, to learn about their role within communities as well as in the process of decolonizing the museums.
Jay Dedman joins me on the podcast today from his home in Western Virginia, where land is plentiful and incomes are on average a bit lower than in the big city. What is happening in rural America during this global emegency, what does he see and what can we decipher when comparing countries, cities, counties, leaders, culture… any and all of it. Also zombies.
As someone living with terminal cancer, Matthew Dons is not one who would panic in the face of a global pandemic. From his home in Tokyo he joins us on the podcast today to talk about what is happening in Japan, but also what it is like to be a person with a compromised immune system in the midst of the international corona virus crisis. Listen and enjoy and then go support his GoFundMe to help him continue to live.
Almost three years ago Samwel Nangiria paid a visit the Pitt Rivers Museum in Oxford. While there he was presented with objects gathered from his culture around 100 years ago. To his shock the collection included items that should never be in the possession of a museum or out of the hands of specific members of the Maasai community. He would eventually express his feelings to the museum, and what follows has become a fascinating and at times emotional engagement to de-colonize museums and empower the Maasai to tell their own story of who they are as a living culture today.
Still retracing my audio steps from the recent United States visit, this time on the Garden State Parkway, looking out at all the cars and development and whathaveyou. Listen in as I simultaneously dodge dead deer while giving a socio-political analysis on the state of the states.
The Maasai people of Kenya and Tanzania have a long tradition of living in harmony with nature. However, for the past century they have also seen their land and way of life targetted by encroaching intiatives related to nation-building, development, tourism, mining, etc. As a new decade begins the Maasai are once again being pushed off their lands and told their way of life must end in the name of “progress” or “development”. Today on the podcast, we hear from three members of that community who explain their way of life and the reality they face on the ground today. It’s the story of the Maasai and their struggle to survive.