Re: Rights & Access II

Claire Farrer (Claire_Farrer@MACGATE.CSUCHICO.EDU)
Thu, 12 May 1994 09:27:27 -0800

Mea culpa! Thanks for the respones, most of which have indicated that I did
not bespeak myself clearly enough. So: background-b. New York City
12/26/36; educated-UCBerkeley (entered 1953 finally graduated w BA in anthro.
in 1970, the year of no exercises because of Free Speech Movement, Kent
State, etc.); hiatus-Stepford-type wife for 16 years also volunteer with
occasional flashes of community organization; ed. again-1974 MA UTAustin
(anthro/folklore) and 1977 PhD UtAustin (anthro/folklore);
fieldwork-serendipitous (lived next door to Mescalero Apache Reservation for
10 years) at Mescalero 1964-1974 with formal (tribal approval and funding,
depending upon make-up of council) 1974-present; publications-3 sole-authored
books on Mescalero plus one edited book (women's folklore) plus two co-edited
bks (one ethnoastronomy and one NAm play) plus scores of articles and book
chapters in this country, Canada, England, and continental Europe;
career-NtlEndowment for Arts, U of Il-Urbana, Cal State Chico.

The specific situation: I am part of the reconsideration of the berdache
phenomenon conference that first presented at last year's AAA meeting. Our
follow-up conference (Wenner-Gren funded) is being hosted by the Field
Museum, a staff member of which wrote each of the 26 of us to ask what
collections we would like to see during our time in Chicago. Roughly 1/2 of
us responded with requests and were given pre-conference times to view.
These times and access were rescinded.

I did NOT ask to see anything covered by NAGPRA; I am not interested in
bones, funerary objects, or ceremonial objects. I wanted to continue
research with Apachean basketry (two pubs: one in book, Living Life's
Circle, and one in Pitt Rivers Museum, Oxford, exhibit
catalog)--specifically the iconography and narrative qualities of baskets.
While I am Anglo, some of the others involved in the berdache conference are
Native and are also researching their own and other tribes' stuff (meaning, I
am not interested in being specific about who wanted to see what). Natives,
too, are being denied access unless they are interested in seeing only their
own tribe's items.

I believe that, while Natives should have had their NAGPRA covered items
returned and certainly have the right to limit access to items not
repatriated, the limiting of ALL material only to people of the proper
ethnicity is a mistake with serious consequences and further that the
practice of research limitation is not logically justifiable--despite PC.