A year after the Native American dioramas were removed from the U-M Museum of Natural History, it looks like homo sapiens won’t be back. Though children were fascinated by the miniature scenes of Indian life, “We were finding that kids were coming to the museum, looking at the dinosaurs, the fossils, the stuffed animals, the endangered species, then arriving at the dioramas–and forming an impression that Native Americans were extinct,” museum director Amy Harris told the Observer back in 2009. Today, the museum’s only Native American exhibit is a planetarium show of Anishinaabe (Ojibwe) star stories–and it’s shown only to school groups, and only by request.
That’s fine with Ypsilanti resident Terri Holland, a retired Army sergeant and unaffiliated member of the Tennessee Cherokee tribe. Native history, she says, belongs in “a cultural arts museum, where exhibits of all the cultures both past and present can be seen.” U-M spokesperson Rick Fitzgerald says no one’s requested a new Native American exhibit at the museum on North U. “This is a natural history museum,” he stresses–its big news at the moment is the opening of an updated exhibit on whale evolution.