In the last few years, other projects have been the result of doing work in NAGPRA. We are in the middle of collaborating with Fort Necessity on an exhibit to highlight our tribe during the French/Indian war. As a result of this project, a civil war battlefield found out about our tribe and low and behold, Odawa servicemen are buried at this cemetery. We will make the journey as soon as possible to visit our ancestors who fought in the civil war and pay our respects.
Another activity that has picked up recently for me is public presentations. People are really interested in why I do my job and why the tribe here dedicates so much time and energy into repatriation. NAGPRA and repatriation are things most people never gave much thought to, but when you relate NAGPRA to your family, your tribe and religious beliefs, the whole idea of items and remains in museums takes on a whole different meaning. Remains are no longer seen as “specimens” but people. Items are no long “ethnographic material” but are part of a community, one that is still in existence and in it’s homeland. So it’s been great to teach people about our tribe, but the facts are not always nice and flowery. Explaining how remains and items got into museums in the first place is not pretty, but hey, it’s better to know than not to know.