I know I am in the middle of writing a repatriation claim, my desk is littered with books, pages marked for certain sources. The primary source now is putting the Odawa at a certain place at a certain time. Another specific citations is what an item was used for. Since this is a claim for remains, the emphasis is on time and location. A few well places references make a big difference.
This is one of the reasons for being on the constant look out for books. We may have a decent amount of sources for a particular time period, like the 1700s, but when it come to late 1800s, early 1900s, we could use a few more credible sources.
While typing this, another museum called wanting information about the disposition process. No problem. This will make 4 letters regarding dispositions sent out in the last two weeks. Hopefully these will turn into requests for dispositions in the next year. It’s been quite hectic lately, with planning travel for repatriations, travel for our documentation grant, writing repatriation claims and working on future dispositions. But I have to keep working with the museums who are interested in working with the tribes on their CUI collections. So many times this type of work looses momentum, it’s imperative to keep moving forward, no matter how small the steps may be.
One step that has been gradually getting more complicated with one museum is who has the legal possession of the remains? Sometimes remains get loaned, are taken from an area without permission(I feel all remains are taken without permission, but in the legal sense) or generally lost within a museum. It’s not uncommon for faculty at a museum to have never set eyes on the museum’s collection of CUI. All of these are preliminary issues that need to be addressed right away.