Most of the day was spent writing for our repatriation manual, a chapter on CUI and how to get them back. After writing for some time, I pulled up all the museums who yet have CUI from Michigan, and the total is 18 museums. 12 museums have already turned over CUI to the tribes in Michigan, totaling 30 museums who at one point had old Anishnaabe remains. I am really happy the 12 museums decided to work with the tribes to return these remains, because we have our work cut out with the other 18. It’s almost overwhelming to think of 18 requests going out at once, but that’s what is going to happen this winter. 30 requests would be nuts.
The large research institutes have remains from Michigan, the smaller museums were the ones who stepped forward and worked with the tribes on returning their CUI collections. I applaud the museums who acted on their own accord, did what they felt was the most ethical decision and repatriated. But some museums feel keeping remains is the most ethical decision, their argument being the science to be gained from studying remains outweighs the concerns of any tribe. I see this argument, but can’t agree to it, nor begin to understand it.