This is the wall I mentioned in previous posts. It’s all the Federal Register Notices I have been involved with. There are 18 on there right now, ranging from CUI dispositions, repatriation claims for remains, sacred items/objects of cultural patrimony and helping a museum when the museum is affiliating remains to us. This has happened twice since I have been here. It took me off guard, a museum was actually contacting my office! I helped these museum with family names associated with the remains, the location, the history of the Odawas to that area and if the items buried with the remains were consistent with Odawa burials. I have to thank Jaime Lavallee at National NAGPRA for all the assistance with these. The first two claims I worked on and sent out in 2007 got denied. That was pretty disheartening but it was a good learning experience. It gave me a better insight on how museums examine claims. That’s when we decided we needed more sources; books, articles, reports, etc. I don’t‘ agree with having to prove everything with a written source, but I agree with having remains/items returned. So, I revamped our approach and now we have a balanced claim, mixing cultural and written information to give the most strength to our argument.
I would like to have this entire wall filled with notices. That’s my goal. When that happens almost all the CUI from Michigan will have been returned back to the ground, along with a large chunk of the items from LTBB in museums. From time to time I am finding new objects, many of them in art books. Or I see an item, I know for a fact it’s sacred, but how do I present it in a claim? How do I explain how this item is alive and a relationship has been made with this item and my tribe? Museums many times want very specific information on how the item was used, who used it, when, where, etc. The museum wants us to go beyond the requirements of NAGPRA. It makes me angry but getting angry wont’ make progress.