I never would have thought people from other countries would read my blog about repatriation, but it appears some have! Two people from two vastly different countries contacted me via this blog about repatriation issues going on in their respective homes. One country is England, the other South Africa. I will offer any assistance I can to both of these individuals in the near future, because I feel all the dead should be honored, it just happens the indigenous people here in America have a law that helps them fulfill their obligations to their ancestors. I would like to see NAGPRA as a model for other countries who are seeking to work their aboriginal communities on righting some past wrongs.
For anybody starting out in repatriation, I stress that persistence is the most valued tool to have. Whether it’s lobbying your government to develop federal laws or working with you local museum, one must constantly be moving forward to achieve success, no matter how small. The simple task of getting a inventory of human remains can sometimes be the most arduous task but it’s necessary. I go through my list of museums once a week and see where I am at with each one, making calls to push things along, letting museums know they are officially out of compliance with a federal law and setting up times to retrieve remains. It all takes persistence, and a good dose of patience as well. It gets very frustrating but it pays off when the actual reburial occurs and I know I did something positive.