The whole morning was spent in meetings with my boss. We have a very cool project in the works with the GIS department here at the tribe and that means I have to get out of the office and into the field more, which is always a good thing. There are times I spend days on end in the office, having very little interaction with other people, being imersed in a repatriation claim or disposition. One of the other functions of my department is to provide cultural information to other departments and tribal members. Local schools also request the occasional presentation from us. Matter of fact a class from the local community college just went past my office on a tour of our government center.
The afternoon I had to go out and gather the old wreaths or crowns as we call them, from some of the grave sites within our reservation. Each fall community members make these wreaths out of paper mache and decorate the graves. It’s another old Odawa tradition of care taking for the dead. Families usually take care of their own but the community comes together and makes wreaths for the unknown Odawa deceased. It’s a way of showing we still think about the ones who passed on and respect them. As a caretaker for cemeteries, I have to collect the old wreaths and make room for the new ones. These activities help keep me grounded and remind me why I do this work. The work can be so complicated under NAGRPA, with interpretation of the law, different archelogical phases used by museums, the right of possession, different jargon, compliance, CUI, affiliated, etc. etc. Being right here, working hands on with the Anishnaabe, my tribe, keeps me moving in the right direction.