A coordination day. Arranging to meet museums, when and where. When is a good time to call, when can we discuss this repatriation issue. All these little steps are necessary and require a good amount of patience. I wish I could call a museum once and get a confirmation they want to return remains/items. Multiple calls are necessary, hopefully, leading up to a face to face meeting. Information is given, examples of what we have done before with other museums. Consultation is talked about over and over, but it really is that important. And it’s a continuing activity, always changing, bringing in new people and new ideas. Presenting your ideas and information is crucial. More then a few times, upon an initial meeting with a museum, I thought for sure they would not want to work with the tribes. But I kept my game face and kept positive. A few months later these same museums requested more information and shortly after, they agreed to return remains through a disposition.
Ideally I like to line up a few museums in one trip. Living in Northern Michigan is beautiful and rewarding but we are isolated a bit. Most of the museums we work with in Michigan are in the southern part of the state, usually 200+ miles from us. In Sept. I travel to Kalamazoo for consultation, then Grand Rapids, after GR it’s onto Lansing and back home. One right after the other, a total of 5 days on the road. These trips can be long but usually are productive. Two of these locations are for our documentation grant we were awarded. We at LTBB are compiling various success stories and personal experiences related to NAGPRA and repatriation for a repatriation manual. One is a museum we have worked with an the other is a historian who has worked with tribes, in particular Great Lakes Indians, for 30+yrs. I am excited to get their feelings and thoughts.