Large chunk of the day spent responding to emails. One email in particular is from a national park, wanting more information about a disposition. I am always happy to provide information. I don’t know why I haven’t contacted these parks earlier, but I am glad I contacted them now. For every museum, every park I contact I keep a running log of what I have done with them. Who I talked to, what date, what did I send them, when did I send it, when did they reply to me, or have they replied to me. Each step of each repatriation or disposition gets logged, or I loose track of what is going on, especially with multiple museums in the works. Sometimes I see it’s been months since I talked with a museum, that warrants a phone call. Or after further research, a new set of remains or objects will come to light, that needs a phone call also. As I learn more about NAGPRA and repatriation, I am able to go back and work with collections I couldn’t before, because I didn’t have enough knowledge on the process. That why the work log helps so much, I can see what I need to go back to and work on. Also, some repatriation/disposition cases are similar to others, and I can compare notes to make the work go faster. For a repatriation claim I just started today, I am using other notes, reports and repatriations to LTBB to get a jump start. The area these remains are from, the Straits of Mackinac, has a really detailed history, making the research easier. Plus we have done previous repatriations from this area. There is a weird, almost spooky feeling to see where the remains are from on an inventory and know that area.
So sometime I just go over my notes, and see the reminders I wrote to myself and take off from there. We have a bunch of grant stuff that needs attention also, mainly travel. I have to travel to the southern end of Michigan for a repatriation of remains to our tribe the end of September.
Sometimes it’s impossible not to mix work with my personal life. In this line of work, you simply can’t leave work at the office. Work is always with you. You get remains back, you rebury immediately, everything else that day is secondary. You plan trips around repatriations. In everyday conversations you tell people why you do this and the fact that we are Anishnaabe people and it’s our belief we have been here for a long time and these are our ancestors. Most of these conversations take place out side of work and I hope whom ever I am talking to has a better awareness of the indigenous people of Michigan.