I think I finished a claim in record time but it’s easy to write about something you’ve already written about a half a dozen times before. The straits of Mackinac, part of our aboriginal homelands, has been the location for numerous reparations and dispositions for us. Most of these claims and all the dispositions, have been for remains and/or funerary objects. It never ceases to sadden and anger me to think of my tribe’s area being treated as a archeological free for all, both by professional and ameutar alike. To this very day, we still have problems with “treasure hunters” at Mackinac, digging around for whatever they can find, even when they have been told by the county it’ illegal for them to be out poking around.
We are using prior claims to help substantiate new claims, showing precedence has already been set on similar claims, some repatriations occuring over 10yrs ago. One repatriation took place in 1998, from the straits of Mackinac. It was a big one, 137 individuals. The museum who performed this work published a book about it, which I have. The property owner of this mass burial discovered the remains during home renovations and immediately contacted a university within Michigan and authorized the excavation and removal of any and all remains and funerary objects. Everything went to this university. It’s not even mentioned if the local tribes are contacted, and there were plenty of Indians around when this happened in the 60s. I’m positive other tribes have the same tragic history surrounding certain areas of their homelands, I’m just grateful something like NAGPRA is in place to right these wrongs.