Put the finishing touches on our repatriation claim for a set of remains from a museum in Michigan. Making sure my sources are correct, typos, spelling, etc. My director will look it over again before it gets sent out. Had a meeting with our accounting department regarding our documentation grant. Coordinated with a Michigan tribe on a pick up for remains from a disposition last year. Keeping lots of projects moving forward. The afternoon had an interesting conversation with a museum that possibly will do a disposition next year. It’s unclear who has legal possession of the remains. The museum loaned the remains to a independent research group and now the group says they legally own them. Definitive paperwork is going to be needed for this, something in writing saying the remains were loaned out. Word of mouth is not going to work and just because this group has physical possession of the remains, it does not give them the right to own them. This cuts to the heart of the matter, who has the right to Indian remains? Some of the old school archaeologist are much more difficult to work with on these issues. Hopefully the new regs for CUI will be published soon, then there will be a process which will force these hardline archaeologists to act. So many times I hear the argument from a museum “we think it’s premature to act before the regs are published” or “it’s unethical to return these remains to anybody” In some people’s eyes it’s not unethical to dig up graves. It’s not grave robbing, it’s research. These are not people, they are specimens. I come to accept the fact that I will never see eye to eye with some of these individuals and I can live with that. On the other hand, I have made some really meaningful relationships with museum staff over the last three years working on repatriations. Years down the road, we can remember sharing in an experience that was unique and genuinely good.

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