For our repatriation manual, I am interviewing half a dozen tribes, but also a museum and a historian. The museum and historian will be the first people I interview, both are in Michigan. This morning I worked on the questions I will be asking them, and it turned out to be a little tougher then I anticipated. I want to get the right questions to address the issues that pertain to this project. Some were easy but I wanted answers that were a little deeper and concentrated on how the effects of NAGPRA were felt. I am glad I have worked with both of the historian and museum before, the interview should go very naturally. The historian I am working with has 30+yrs experience with Indians tribes, most of them in Michigan. Constructing the questions for him was more difficult then that of the museum, because the museum has had direct dealings with NAGPRA, while the historian has not. But the historian’s knowledge and experiences are excellent, I had to include him in the project. I know he will add some very interesting points to the manual.
I have a couple of significant meetings coming up this month, so while the thoughts were in my head, I jotted down key points I want to address at these meetings. I’m getting into the habit of capturing thoughts, instead of relying on my memory to retrieve them later. One meeting will deal with the different perspectives, history, goals, success and experiences of NAGRPA. I have to make sure the Indian point of view is heard. And the Indian view differs quite differently in many cases.
The first tribe I will visit for our documentation grant/repatriation manual will be in Wisconsin, in November. Sorting out the details for this. Since my travel is going crazy this fall, I have to really keep my trips in order and coordinate with our accounting department closely. Some trips are from LTBB funds, some from grant funds and left over grant funds. We try to get the majority of our travel done before winter strikes here, because once it does, cancelled flights are a reality, as well as getting stuck in blizzards on the way to the airport(this happened to me last year, it was really scary). Weather plays a big factor in repatriation work here in Michigan, the actual travel and being able to break ground for a reburial are something always in consideration. Most museums are sensitive to this, as well as the National NAGRPA Program.