Today was more consultation, it’s been very intense the last two days, but it’s been a good intense. The staff I have been working with have been very polite and just as important, they have a good working knowledge of NAGPRA. While it seemed we merely talked shop, we were going over many different scenarios, steps that need to be taken and what are the obligations both the tribe and museum must meet. Prior claims were discussed, future requests under 10.11, along with definitions. It’s critical that both tribe and museum have the same understanding of some key terms and phrases, like; what is an AFO, what exactly is a burial, what is a sacred object and what exactly falls under affiliation. Each of these topics can take hours of discussion, which is why this consultation trip was planned for 3 days. It’s exhausting, but I feel some real progress has been made.
This is the leg work, the grunt work that results in repatriation. I would rather be back home, getting ready for hunting season but I could never let the opportunity slip to make some progress. As another tribal repatriation officer recently told me “its our inherit responsibility to take care of our ancestors”. She summed it up perfectly and this statement is something I think of everytime I feel like taking a break. There are no breaks, it’s time to make this happen, get these ancestors in the ground, ASAP.