There are more and more opportunities coming up to present at schools and universities. I have some local presentations for high schools coming up here this spring, and maybe another speaking engagement for a university down in Indiana. After my first few runs of public speaking, I realized I have to come out of the gate and grab the attention of the audience right away, or a great opportunity has been missed. I feel, people don’t want to hear about how old something is, or which era it come from, they want to know why it is important beyond the science. Why do these Indians want this stuff back? Why do they want these bones back? The reason why doesn’t reside in a text book or report, it resides in the people themselves.
Indians have been defined by others for centuries, and this continues to this day. I see it everyday working with museums, especially at the university level. This old colonial attitude is hard to break, but it is breaking, and this is encouraging. Sometimes I feel like the group I am presenting before has had very limited contact with Indians. and than, all of sudden, this Indian is telling them “yes, we are different, yes, we are still here and yes, we want our ancestors back”. To my surprise, the reception to this has been mostly positive.