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The Preoccupied: Indigenizing the Museum initiative at the Baltimore Museum of Art includes a publication that centers Native artist voices and challenges collective understandings of Native peoples’ pivotal role in North American history. The written and visual contributions address and refute the oppressive and pervasive hierarchies of colonialism upon which museums are based. The book features essays by heather ahtone (Chickasaw / Choctaw), Paul Chaat Smith (Comanche), and John Lukavic; newly commissioned poetry by Heid E. Erdrich (Ojibwe); a comic conceived, written, and illustrated by Weyodi Old Bear (Comanche), Dale Deforest (Diné), and Lee Francis IV (Pueblo of Laguna); and transcripts of roundtable discussions with contemporary Native artists.

Fifty plates spanning a range of media from monographic and thematic exhibitions showcase both historically significant works from the BMA’s collection and the works of living artists, many of whom offer their perspectives in the catalog, including Julie Buffalohead (Ponca Tribe of Oklahoma), Dana Claxton (Lakota First Nations-Wood Mountain), Nicholas Galanin (Tlingit and Unangax̂), Duane Linklater (Omaskêko Ininiwak), Cannupa Hanska Luger (Mandan, Hidatsa, Arikara, and Lakota / Three Affiliated Tribes of Fort Berthold), Alan Michelson (Mohawk / Six Nations of the Grand River), Caroline Monnet (Anishinaabe/French), Laura Ortman (White Mountain Apache), Kevin Pourier (Oglala Sioux), Rose B. Simpson (Santa Clara Pueblo), Kay WalkingStick (Cherokee Indian), and Dyani White Hawk (Sičáŋǧu Lakota). The work offers an important contribution to current global conversations around the decolonization of museums.