Just got back from an overnight trip down state. I was asked to welcome a group whose mission is to promote understanding and love. Since the group was meeting in Michigan, they wanted an Anishnaabe to welcome them and say a few words. Love and understanding are two things that directly affect what I do with work, so I spoke on how understanding has resulted in the repatriations I have been a part of. Museums were willing to understand why we needed our ancestors back. And part of that reason is because we love them, even though we don’t know who they are. With all the negative bullshit happening, it was ironic I was approached by such a group.
Surprise trips are part of the work, being flexible helps in the ability to build these bridges. There has been so many projects that have resulted from repatriation work. It really helps to have these other projects, because a repatriation can take months on end to complete. I just spoke with one museum this week about a claim we are working on. Now the museum’s lawyers are getting involved. Once the lawyers get in the mix, you can tack on a few extra months, at least.