Hello. My name is Eric Hemenway and I am an Anishnaabe/Odawa from Cross Village, Michigan. I work in the Cultural Preservation Department for the Little Traverse Bay Bands of Odawa Indians in Northern Michigan. The majority of my work centers around retrieving human remains and sacred objects under NAGPRA. The purpose of this blog is to show the day-to-day activities of a tribal cultural preservation program and how returned remains and items effect the Indian community as well as the museum.
I started working for LTBB Odawa in the winter of 2006. Since that time I have worked with the tribes in Michigan on 11 successful recommendations for disposition of culturally unidentifiable human remains from the NAGPRA Review Committee. Also since that time we at LTBB have had 11 repatriation claims for human remains, sacred objects, funerary objects and objects of cultural patrimony go through successfully. I hope I have to update these numbers in the near future! I currenly sit on the NAGPRA Review Committee, Emmet County Historical Commission and LTBB Youth Cultural Advisory Committee.
Work many times crosses over into my personal life, but that is fine with me. I make time for ceremonies, working out, visiting family and friends, being outdoors and reading.
I feel very blessed and fortunate to work for my tribe in a unique and productive way. We, the Anishnaabek, are still in our home, the Great Lakes. We still practice our traditional ways of life and honor our ancestors. Working in NAGPRA has given me a greater ability to do work for my people, both living and the dead.