Decolonize SAM is an anonymous collective of Seattle Art Museum workers and community allies. We are demanding transparency, accountability, and decolonization.

Workers began organizing in June 2021 as a response to new policies recognized as acts of militarization and continuation of settler-colonialism that disproportionately affects poor, disabled, and racially marginalized people. Museum leadership responded to this by reaffirming their commitment to colonial power structures and control of public spaces.

Disregard for community wellbeing and Indigenous sovereignty contradicts SAM stated community values, but is typical of SAM policies. It is our intent for SAM to be an institution that is run by and for the community — emphasizing global majority voices and leadership; to challenge the museum’s presumption of entitlement to objects from colonized cultures; and to affirm the right of Indigenous people to control their homelands.

land acknowledgement
The Seattle Art Museum was built on land taken from the Duwamish People. As residents of Duwamish, suq̀ʷabš (Suquamish - “People of Clear Salt Water”), and (the Tribes collectively recognized as) Muckleshoot land, those of our collective who are descended from invaders and were raised on unceded homelands of various Tribes recognize we have no right to this land.

It is our express purpose to return Turtle Island to her people, who know how to care for her and appreciate her gifts. We are honored to offer ourselves to be of service to the First People of this land, and all peoples victimized by colonization and imperialism.

For transparency, we do use settler names for cities and states throughout this website; however, we welcome feedback on this practice.
take action today
Join us in demanding that the Seattle Art Museum reverses installation of hostile architecture and hiring of private security, and commits to creating an accessible, beneficial experience for all visitors — regardless of housing and socioeconomic status, or mental and physical ability. 
Take action today to help us hold SAM accountable.


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