After transcribing interviews for the majority of the day, I had to switch to researching our next claim, the unassociated funerary object claim. All these silver objects are from a very small area that is well documented as being an Indian burial ground. I think it’s a pretty clear case these items are from Indian burials, but we will have to wait and see, once we submit our claim, if the museum concurs. I now look at jewelry at museums in a whole different light, wondering if it was taken on of somebody’s grave. After working in NAGPRA the last few years, I see museums differently, not all together negative, but more apprehensive. I think to myself “just what do they have behind closed doors”. I think many times, the museums would rather have it kept secret from the public what their entire collections hold.
There are more writing projects in the works for this upcoming year. I never would have thought I would actually be writing down what I do in my job and how it affects my community, but it’s happening. It’s great to be able to share with other Indians and non-natives the importance of having remains and items returned, how rare it is to correct a historical injustice committed upon your tribe. But while I am busy with other projects, it’s always important to get claims out.