Today was truly a research day. I went through many of the old museum files, comprised of notes, old emails and most importantly, inventories. My predecessor contacted many museums and collected a large number of inventories. I have requested updated versions and new inventories but the originals were a great start. When I first started here at LTBB, I went through and marked what files had potential items for repatriation. Since then, things have gone from busy to super busy, and I have not been able to write claims for all the items. Some I have, others have been waiting. Human remains are priority, but we try to get at least a few claims for affiliated items/remains to LTBB out a year. Last year was productive, with 5 claims being approved, totaling 11 objects and 3 individuals. Most of the items were funerary objects. In 2007 we had 2 repatriation claims approved, all for sacred objects. So far, 2009 is shaping up to be good, with 4 claims out as of now (1-3 later this year), one of which was published today in the Federal Register (having something published in the Federal Register is always a mini celebration in my office, I have a wall that I tack up every notice). This is for remains affiliated to LTBB. The others are for sacred items/objects of cultural patrimony. There are a few really significant items on my radar now, some of them being from my home village. These claims will be worked on this winter once this fall is done.
While doing research, if an item or set of remains comes to my attention as possibly being affiliated to another tribe in Michigan, I jot down the info and send it to that tribe. This isn’t much of a chore while I am in the middle of researching. In addition, other departments for LTBB periodically come in and ask questions. I try to provide the most accurate information and if I don’t know, I simply say I don’t know, but I will try to find out more and pass the info on later.