I received a letter in the mail today from a museum we have been in contact for over a year now, about their collection of culturally unidentifiable individuals (the scientific term) or remains of our ancestors (Indian term). The letter came from the director of the museum at this university, stating the university is waiting for the new regulations regarding CUI to be be published. This is a polite way of backing out of a disposition and trying to hang onto the remains a little bit longer. It was disappointing receiving this letter, especially after so much contact and sharing of information with the museum. But, when push comes to shove, many museums insist it’s “premature” to make any decisions until the new regulations are official. I don’t agree with this stance what so ever, so it’s onto the next museum, one that will hopefully do the right thing and start the process of returning remains. Besides, who else would these old remains from Michigan go to but the present-day tribes in Michigan?
After getting this letter, I spent the rest of the day writing the report for the one disposition we have lined up for the spring 2010 review committee meeting. The remains are from the Upper Peninsula of Michigan and we, the tribes, have yet to bring a disposition before the review committee concerning remains from this area. All of our previous 11 dispositions are for remains from the Lower Peninsula. It has been refreshing doing research on a different area, but it’s the same tribe, the Anishnaabek. But if it’s Michigan, it’s Anishnaabe.