Made some headway on the repatriation claim I wanted to get out sometime next month. These remains are from an area not that well documented in historical records, so I had to dig a little deeper to piece together the picture of Odawa and Ojibwa living in this area during the historical period. The Ojibway are very closely related to us Odawas, and we all fee we are one tribe, the Anishnaabek. Aside from researching and writing, coordinating dispositions is an on going job, different museums are at different stages of their work. Some are just starting, others are finding the necessary information to go forward and some are working on their NIC (Notice of Inventory Completion), this is the Federal Register Notice that I so eagerly await for. Once this is posted, it’s only a matter of time before we can physically take possession and rebury the remains, barring any counter claims of course. Of the 10 I have worked on so far, no other tribes have made a counter-claim. We in Michigan try to avoid this dilemma by working together, the tribes in Michigan, before we even approach a museum. There is no exclusion. We even contact tribes outside of Michigan who have had historical presence in Michigan.
When a museum is gathering it’s information for a disposition, there is a template on the National NAGPRA website that they must fill out. It’s called a “Request by a Museum or Federal Agency that the Review Committee Act on an Agreement Concerning the Disposition of Human Remains and Associated Funerary Objects Determined to Be Culturally Unidentifiable”. It essentially ask the major questions concerning the remains, and helps streamline the process. Three of the big questions a museum has to answer are 1. are the remains Indian 2. Where are they from 3. What tribes have historical ties to that area. There is a multitude of ways to answer these questions, and we have found the museums have been more than willing to ask a tribe/tribes for guidance on these. This is where meaningful consultation really helps.