After a little break, it feels good to be back in the office, ready to get back at it. As soon as I got back home, I had a one day conference at Michigan State University. The indigenous law center there hosted a NAGPRA conference, with a variety of speakers. Sherry Hutt, program director for the National NAGPRA Program was there, along a grad student from the University of Michigan, a lawyer from the Saginaw Chippewa Indian tribe and myself. We all brought different perspectives to the conference, and it was good to show the different perspectives, because NAGPRA covers so much ground. It goes from a very intimate level of an individual reburying remains alone in the woods to having Congress hear and read about why NAGPRA is important and what can be done to improve it. In between are the many Indians, lawyers, professors, academics, federal employees, etc. who have to deal with how NAGPRA effects not only their lives, but their respective communities as well.
Since I have been back, one of our claims for remains has taken a different turn. In the beginning of our claim, the information was very scarce, and we at LTBB Odawa decided it would be best to utilize a joint claim with the surrounding tribes for the remains. Now, after much consultation and hard work from the museum, it appears the remains can be affiliated to one of the supporting tribes. I didn’t think this would happen when I first wrote this claim, due to such little information, but now, the museum can affiliate to a specific tribe. As long as the remains go back, back into the ground, I am not partial how they get there.