Officially have the first interview done for our repatriation manual. The museum was very happy to work with us and add to our project. It was very interesting to know one member of the museum staff has been at the museum since the beginning of NAGPRA, she has seen a wide range of issues at her museum, from how prior staff interpreted and implemented NAGPRA to the recent decisions and actions that led to the museum engaging in a disposition this October. This museum has always been great to work with and having these good experiences encourages me to work with other museums. One point she made was how one individual can influence a great deal in a museum. I run into this many times, luckily the individuals I have contacted have wanted to go forward. One of the big steps for going forward is providing information. Correct information. There seems to be a great deal of misinformation with NAGPRA, especially when it come to the issue of CUI. I distinctly remember going to conferences when I first started my job and having museum staff tell us, the tribal rep at the conference, it was impossible for CUI to be returned and basically to not even bother with them. There wasn’t even a mention of the regs being worked on. I don’t know if this was intentional or not, but it was daunting none the less to hear this from institutions who house large collections of CUI. Good thing we didn’t rely solely on these museums.
I am off to another interview for our repatriation manual. This is with the historian. After this is done, it’s back on the road to get home, a 3hr drive back to Emmet County. I’ve been gone since Tuesday and I look forward to being home. But the time home will be short, I drive right back down state next Wednesday, 4.5hrs to southern Michigan, to retrieve remains from a repatriation claim we submitted this spring.