Today was for the most part researching our next repatriation claim. It’s hard sometimes reading the academic interpretation of my people’s history. Everything is based on patterns on pottery, what level of earth the remains were “discovered” in and what type of arrow head was found at the site. The remains are never mentioned as people, but as “skeletal collections”. These remains are not seen as people at all and it’s hard to read through some of the material, but it’s necessary, because in the midst of these writings, a key piece of information could be waiting to affiliate these remains and prompt a repatriation. Some of the older books, from the 60s, have actual photos of the remains. I can’t stomach looking at pictures of excavated Anishnaabek remains. Those chapters get skipped.
Looking back at the these older books, it’s no wonder NAGPRA was needed. These people had free reign to all types of Indians burials, with no regard to the local Indian communities or their beliefs. I’ve come to accept some times you just can’t agree with some people. For example, a certain photo is a certain book show a group of archeologist in a burial pit, digging up Indian people and the archeologist are all happy, with real genuine smiles. In their minds, they probably think they are doing something to benefit others, while I am horrified and thinking their actions are detrimental to my community. Some interpretations vary so much, it’s almost impossible to relate to the other side.