After reexamining the CUI inventories again, two museums in Michigan, I feel, have remains affiliated to LTBB. Luckily these remains are from the same location, cutting down on my research and writing. I have written reports for dispositions from this area before, so most of the research is already done. But with each repatriation claim, I try to add more then the previous. With a repatriation claim, more information is defiantly better.
Spoke with staff at National NAGPRA about a project for next year, a retrospective of NAGPRA at 20yrs. Something that usually goes undetected is what happens AFTER remains/object are returned to a tribal community. So much emphasis is put on the law itself, definitions and how it effects museums. These all have merit but to me, the bigger picture is when tribes finally get their ancestors and items backs. What repercussions does this have on a tribal community? Are they positive or negative? What are the feelings of the people who do NAGPRA day to day for a tribe? How does the average tribal member feel about a completed repatriation? How do the elders feel? What good comes out of it? These are all questions that need to be raised more often. Personally, I feel all my work is sacred, because it deals with our ancestors. BUT, when it comes time to physically rebury the remains, it goes to another level. It’s hard to describe in words. The conversation was very productive. All of the staff I have worked with at National NAGPRA have been helpful and great to work with since I started my job.
I always give a museum heads up before I send a claim. The two previously mentioned museums will now know to look for something from LTBB in the next few weeks. The one museum is leaning towards a disposition, the other is not. Even with the one that is, I try to affiliate and repatriate remains. An affiliation claim is quicker and easier. It gives the museum some experience with NAGPRA also. For me, if we can get a few old Anishnaabe back earlier, then we go for it.
All the books I have ordered are almost in, which will dictate my reading for the remainder of the fall and winter. Some are huge 800 page monsters, others only a few hundred pages. Helped coordinate with a museum that has grant funds to bring some Michigan tribal reps to the RC meeting this October. I know all the tribes, so it’s easier for me to try and square away a few details. I can still remember distinctly my first meeting with this museum, two years ago. Now we are on the verge of completing what we’ve talked about. No matter what, you have keep working away, keep focused and positive, others are counting on it.