Re: Repatriation

sgf (
24 Sep 1996 06:06:38 GMT

In article <>,
Susan S. Chin <> wrote:
>It's been 6 years since the passage of the Repatriation Act, whereby
>Native American remains and artifacts held by federally funded
>institutions must be made available for reburial or return to Native
>American groups.
>I'm curious what the effect this has had on anthropologists and
>archaeologists specialising in the study of Native American prehistory.
>Overall, has this hindered/helped Anthropological studies? Has the NAGPRA
>increased dialogue between Native Americans and Anthropologists?

I'm in a grad school that has a museum associated with its ANthro
department, and has had some dealings with NAGPRA. As far as I can tell,
there has not been much dialogue with the anthropologists, but plenty
with the museum professionals. Basically, if an institution holding NA
remains/artifacts does *not* have federal funding, then they do not have
to do anything (according to the law). I suspect anthropologists with
access to private collections (or private universities with collections)
have seen little to no impact from the legislation. Also, some
universities may not realize they have to comply: it took our museum
director over a year of arguing before the university here realized that
yes, we do have some federal funding for our collection and yes, we do
have to comply.

To my knowledge, there has been little to no dialogue between Native
Americans and the Anthro/Arch faculty as a result of NAGPRA, but there's
been plenty with the museum staff: our collections manager was invited
to speak at a Native American conference (I want to say it was the
Apache, but I'm probably wrong) and was the first non-Native to be asked
to do so. Our director is pleased with the responses and dialogue we've
been getting, and we periodically have Native groups come through to see
if anything needs to be done about our collections.


( Thomas said:
> (oh, REMIND ME FREQUENTLY about your exhibit, as the days go by, please.)
so this is for him (everyone else can ignore at will):
Opening Reception: Friday, Sept 27, DUMA Gallery, 5:00--7:00