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NAGPRA: introductions

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1 NAGPRA: introductions
The history of NAGPRA is a social as well as a legal story, spanning centuries and bound with identities of nation, ethnicity, and race. The success of European colonization of the Americas (and elsewhere) depended on the displacement and disempowerment of Native peoples. Part of global dialogue/issue Outgrowth of particular history of USA Ishi (c ) was the name given to the last member of the Yana people of California. Ishi is believed to be the last Native American in Northern California to have lived the bulk of his life completely outside the European American culture. In 1865, Ishi and his family were victims of the Three Knolls Massacre, which approximately 15 Yahi survived. The remaining Yahi escaped but went into hiding for the next 40 years. Eventually Ishi's mother and other companions died, and he was noticed by townspeople in 1911. Ishi was moved to the Museum of Anthropology at the University of California, San Francisco where he lived the remainder of his life in evident contentment, until his death from tuberculosis in While at the Museum Ishi was studied/befriended by the anthropologists Alfred L. Kroeber and Thomas Talbot Waterman, helping them reconstruct and understand Yahi culture and language. There was an autopsy to determine exactly how his Ishi died, and his brain was “preserved for science,” contrary to Kroeber’s wishes. The remains were then lost within the Smithsonian’s collections. Duke University anthropologist Orin Starn undertook a search for the remains Officials at the Smithsonian Institution returned Ishi remains to the two surviving Indian tribes most closely related to him. In 2000, All of Ishi’s physical remains were buried in the Ishi Wilderness in a privately conducted Native American ceremony. History of dislocation, oppression, violence, and appropriation. The removal of material culture from Native American communities and the collecting of Native American dead has compromised indigenous identity, traditions, and history in a variety of ways. Repatriation under NAGPRA seeks to redress this: "Ishi has become an icon of our guilt and regret about past mistreatment of Native Americans," says Nancy Rockafellar, a medical historian at the University of California, San Francisco (UCSF). "He's been admired for his resilience and heroism, and now he's a symbol of the repatriation struggle. There are many Ishis.“ ( /bob8.asp) COURSE THEME: "multicultural issues in cultural ownership" Stresses of applying legal framework to multi-cultural ownership Will discuss some history Framework of the law, which is very revealing Then impacts: on museums and tribal groups, and museology and anthropology at large Guest lecturer: Christina J. Hodge

2 “The Roots of NAGPRA” Hirst: What do you see as the best possible outcome from the repatriation movement? And, what is the biggest stumbling block toward getting there? Russell: The best possible outcomes would be that arches [archaeologists] recognize the right of Indians to tell their own stories in their own ways, that Indian dead are treated with the same respect as Invader dead, and Indians understand the necessity for and usefulness of the scientific method. The biggest obstacle is history. excerpt of an 1997 interview between Steve Russell, member of the Cherokee Nation of Oklahoma and then Assistant Professor of Social and Policy Sciences at University of Texas San Antonio and, and K. Kris Hirst, archaeologist and freelance reporter for (

3 mid-later 20th c. Civil Rights Movement
Pan-Indian and Red Power Movements, 1960s Custer Died for Your Sins: an Indian Manifesto (Vine Deloria, Jr., 1969) American Indian Religious Freedom Act (1978) Repatriation Movement 1970s on Long history of Native/white relations in what became the US includes the death of 90%+ of many tribal peoples, forced dislocations of whole tribes, wars, forced assimilation programs, loss of millions of acres of tribal lands, broken treaties, repression of beliefs, etc. This, and the paired history of persistence, resistance, creativity, and shared cultural contributions. (We shall Remain in April on PBS), not separate from but fundamental to and enmeshed in US history. US Indian policy re-emphasized assimilation and dislocation beginning in the in the 1940s. There were several tribal terminations, where the federal government ceased to recognize tribes’ sovereignty, and Natives were still widely dis-empowered. During the later 20th century, Native American and other minority self-determination movements gained force and voice within broader American culture. There had always been such movements, but never on a national scale. Particularly visible during the rise of Civil Rights Movement in the 1960s. The intellectual and social legacy of that period informs subsequent cultural laws, including the ground-breaking NAGPRA legislation. Repatriation – control over human remains and cultural objects – began as an outgrowth of fights for human rights, and civil rights. Graves were treated differentially, access was granted differentially, authority was differential; power was not equitable. Yakima Reservation border (U. of Washington Archives)

4 Pre-NAGPRA case study: Zuni Ahayu:da (began 1978)
Basic principles: Communal ownership Ongoing religious role Historical continuity of these understandings Animate objects, not art COMPLEX MULTIVOCAL LONG-TERM Zuni reading Repatriation didn’t start with NAGPRA Zuni Ahayu:da were carved by priests and placed in secret shrines on the reservation, the wooden figures are not considered art. To the Zuni people, Ahayu:da are living deities who, when disturbed, have the power to upset the world's balance. War gods are owned communally by the tribe and are never sold. If one appears in an art collection or museum, it has been stolen. War Gods are ritually retired, laid to rest in a specific location and allowed to pass away.This is not the same as being discarded or thrown away. It is the actual process of disintegration that is crucial for the gods to perform their protective work for the tribe. In 1978, Zuni tribe of New Mexico began systematic effort to recover war gods from museums and private collections by explaining their significance and role, and that they were initially stolen from the tribe. By 2007, all such cultural items from US museum were repatriated. There are others held privately and internationally. Denver Art Museum returned 3 in 1980. The NMNH repatriated two Ahayu:da (twin gods or war gods) to the Zuni of western New Mexico in The Zuni had initiated discussions with the NMNH in 1978 regarding the return of religious objects in its collections. After extensive negotiations, the NMNH agreed to repatriate the war gods because they had been taken from their shrines improperly, and because they are communally owned by the Zuni people and no one could have conveyed title to the Smithsonian Institution. For more information about this repatriation, see "The Return of the Ayhu:da : Lessons for Repatriation from Zuni Pueblo and the Smithsonian Institution," by William L. Merrill, Edmund J. Ladd and T.J. Ferguson ( Current Anthropology 35:5:523-67, 1993). PMAE returned 1 in 1993 Key ideas of NAGPRA worked through in this effort, in a way that was compelling and convincing and WORKED. Southwestern tribes and their experiences and activism spurred legislative action in 1980s. NAGPRA proposed by Senator John McCain of AZ and signed by Bush in 1990.

5 Legislative history “I believe this legislation effectively balances the interest of Native Americans in the rightful and respectful return of their ancestors with the interest of our Nation's museums in maintaining our rich cultural heritage, the heritage of all American peoples. Above all, I believe this legislation establishes a process that provides the dignity and respect that our Nation's first citizens deserve.” — Senator John McCain, one of the law’s principal sponsors, noted during Senate consideration of the NAGPRA bill (10/26/1990) Rhetorical themes: - Ancestors Restitution Human rights/respect Shared US history/nationalism Object and human biographies inseparable. Repatriation: To restore/return to the country of birth, citizenship, or origin

6 NAGPRA basics NAGPRA = Native American Graves Protection & Repatriation Act What 1990 Federal Legislation Administered by Department of the Interior (DoI) and the National Park Service (NPS) Overseen by Review Committee of 7 tribal and non-tribal members (meets 2-3 times/year) Who Federal agencies Federal monies Federally recognized tribal, Native Alaskan, Native Hawaiian groups The Native American Graves Protection and Repatriation Act is a Federal law passed in NAGPRA provides a process for museums and Federal agencies to return certain Native American cultural items -- human remains, funerary objects, sacred objects, or objects of cultural patrimony -- to lineal descendants, and culturally affiliated Indian tribes and Native Hawaiian organizations. NAGPRA includes provisions for unclaimed and culturally unidentifiable Native American cultural items, intentional and inadvertent discovery of Native American cultural items on Federal and tribal lands, and penalties for noncompliance and illegal trafficking. In addition, NAGPRA authorizes Federal grants to Indian tribes, Native Hawaiian organizations, and museums to assist with the documentation and repatriation of Native American cultural items, and establishes the Native American Graves Protection and Repatriation Review Committee to monitor the NAGPRA process and facilitate the resolution of disputes that may arise concerning repatriation under NAGPRA. Focus on righting colonial and post-colonial wrongs. RC found legislative intent of NAGPRA is stated by the statute's title, the ``Native American Graves Protection and Repatriation Act''. A fundamental tension exists within the statute between the legitimate and long denied need to return control over ancestral remains and funerary objects to Native people, and the legitimate public interest in the educational, historical and scientific information conveyed by those remains and objects. (25 U.S.C (c); 25 U.S.C (b)) The Review Committee was established under NAGPRA law "to monitor and review the implementation of the inventory and identification process and repatriation activities." They request information on compliance with the law and they make annual reports to Congress. They also hear disputes on factual matters to resolve repatriation issues between Indian tribes, Alaska Native villages and corporations, and Native Hawaiian organizations with museums and Federal agencies. The Review Committee is an advisory body under the Federal Advisory Committee Act (FACA). 7 member committee with terms of 2-4 years. NAGPRA “changed the underlying structures upon which the relationships between archaeologists and American Indians were based” (Watkins 2004) Covers Inadvertent discovery Planned excavation Existing collections Found/new collections

7 Act & regulations Act & Regulations: Passed Still Reserved
Native American Graves Protection and Repatriation Act, 25 U.S.C et seq [Nov. 16, 1990] Final Regulations, 43 CFR 10 [Dec. 04, 1995] 43 CFR 10 – Updated [Oct. 01, 2003] 43 CFR 10, Final Rule, Technical Amendment [Sep. 30, 2005] 43 CFR 10.13, Future applicability Final Rule [Mar. 21, 2007] – first reporting deadline April 20th 2009 Still Reserved 43 CFR 10.7 Disposition of unclaimed human remains, funerary objects, sacred objects, or objects of cultural patrimony 43 CFR Disposition of culturally unidentifiable human remains CURRENTLY IN DRAFT 43 CFR 10.15(b) Failure to claim where no repatriation or disposition has occurred 1990 Act What the Law is and intends to achieve. Regulations: how to fulfill it, what to do, clarification of definitions, etc. Supplementary Reg’s: 1993 Final Rule 2006 Final Rule amended 2007 Future Applicability Reserved sections Still TBD: disposition of culturally unidentifiable human remains (CUID HR): WILL HAVE HUGE IMPACT Law is a legal, intellectual, and ethical framework and structure. It governs how we think about collections and what becomes important about them.

8 NAGPRA: what — Human Remains
Cultural Items: Human remains, associated funerary objects, unassociated funerary objects, sacred objects, cultural patrimony [25 USC 3001 (3)] Human Remains: The physical remains of the body of a person of Native American ancestry. The term does not include remains or portions of remains that may reasonably be determined to have been freely given or naturally shed by the individual from whose body they were obtained, such as hair made into ropes or nets. For the purposes of determining cultural affiliation, human remains incorporated into a funerary object, sacred object, or object of cultural patrimony must be considered as part of that item. [43 CFR 10.2 (d)(1)] Many believe that NAGPRA is essentially human rights legislation, rather than property legislation, and that it is aimed at providing equal treatment to all human remains without consideration of race or ethnic background; that is, Native American dead get the same treatment as the dead of other groups. IS it Human rights legislation? When so much language relates to possession and control of cultural items, which include human remains KEY IDEAS

9 NAGPRA: what — Funerary Objects
Associated Funerary Objects: Objects that, as a part of the death rite or ceremony of a culture, are reasonably believed to have been placed with individual human remains either at the time of death or later, and both the human remains and associated funerary objects are presently in the possession or control of a Federal agency or museum, except that other items exclusively made for burial purposes or to contain human remains shall be considered as associated funerary objects. [25 USC 3001 (3)(A)] Unassociated Funerary Objects: Objects that, as a part of the death rite or ceremony of a culture, are reasonably believed to have been placed with individual human remains either at the time of death or later, where the remains are not in the possession or control of the Federal agency or museum [25 USC 3001 (3)(B)] Those funerary objects for which the human remains with which they were placed intentionally are not in the possession or control of a museum or Federal agency. [43 CFR 10.2 (d)(2)(ii)]

10 NAGPRA: what — Sacred Objects & Objects of Cultural Patrimony
Sacred Objects: Specific ceremonial objects which are needed by traditional Native American religious leaders for the practice of traditional Native American religions by their present day adherents. [25 USC 3001 (3)(C)] KEY IDEAS Zuni War Gods Cultural Patrimony: An object having ongoing historical, traditional, or cultural importance central to the Native American group or culture itself, rather than property owned by an individual Native American, and which, therefore, cannot be alienated, appropriated, or conveyed by any individual regardless of whether or not the individual is a member of the Indian tribe or Native Hawaiian organization and such object shall have been considered inalienable by such Native American group at the time the object was separated from such group. [25 USC 3001 (3)(D)]

11 NAGPRA: why Native American: Of, or relating to, a tribe, people, or culture that is indigenous to the United States. [25 USC 3001 (9)] Of, or relating to, a tribe, people, or culture indigenous to the United States, including Alaska and Hawaii. [43 CFR 10.2 (d)] Cultural Affiliation: A relationship of shared group identity which can be reasonably traced historically or prehistorically between a present day Indian tribe or Native Hawaiian organization and an identifiable earlier group. [25 USC 3001 (2)] Culturally Unidentifiable: Cultural items for which no culturally affiliated present-day Indian tribe or Native Hawaiian organization can be determined. [43 CFR 10.9 (d)(2)] Preponderance of Evidence: As standard of proof in civil cases, is evidence which is of greater weight or more convincing than the evidence which is offered in opposition to it; that is, evidence which as a whole shows that the fact sought to be proved is more probable than not. [Black's Law Dictionary, 6th Edition] Mapping ideas of identity into legal language is troubling and difficult.

12 NAGPRA’s research questions
After a museum sends information to a tribe, tribal representatives and museum staff consult with each other to determine whether specific cultural items are eligible for repatriation under NAGPRA’s guidelines. Museums must make three determinations: Does the item meet the definition of a “cultural item” under NAGPRA? Under what conditions was that item acquired? What is the cultural affiliation of the cultural item? The application of these criteria lays the foundation for repatriation requests by tribes. Not all requests can be fulfilled under NAGPRA. If evidence suggests that an object meets legal criteria and is affiliated with the cultural group making the request, however, repatriation under NAGPRA may proceed. Also limits research creativity and responsiveness; really prioritizes certain questions that don’t necessarily reflect modern theoretical orientations or the information tribes or museums are most interested in learning from collections. Does the item meet the definition of a “cultural item” under NAGPRA? Under what conditions was that item acquired? What is the cultural affiliation of the cultural item?

13 Changes for tribes Decolonization
Working with imposed deadlines Strain on resources Asked to address difficult, multivalent issues Asked to share sometimes esoteric/sensitive information Increase education w/in communities: traditional rules, significance of cultural heritage, tribal museums & heritage centers Determining appropriate reintegration of objects: Storage Use Ritual retirement Reburial Co-curation Long-term loan Problem of poisoned objects I cannot speak as directly to the changes within individual tribal structures provoked by NAGPRA, which are different for different nations. But from working with tribal representatives and researching the issues, I can mention some generally recognized impacts: Increased agency and voice and responsibilities, requirements, take effort, resources. Strain on resources Asked to address difficult, multivalent issues Increase education w/in communities: traditional rules, significance of cultural heritage Motivated to create/undertake further work on tribal museums & heritage centers Should not underestimate the gravity and 1884 poison tag, NMNH Decolonization Intercultural processes of reconciliation & education

14 Changes for museums Paradigm shift:
NAGPRA “changed the underlying structures upon which the relationships between archaeologists [anthropologists, museums] and American Indians were based” (Watkins 2004) Reorganization of museums (practical, philosophical) Dialogue New stakes in understandings of tangible and intangible property/heritage: paradigm shift: NAGPRA “changed the underlying structures upon which the relationships between archaeologists [anthropologists, museums] and American Indians were based” (Watkins 2004) Different ideas of authority: take efforts to recognize that academic, “secular humanistic inquiry,” is not the most powerful or ultimate or only authority; others ways of knowing and valuing are as valid in the abstract, and specifically mentioned in the law. Need to compromise among them. Concepts of intangible property/heritage Bois Forte Band of the MN Chippewa rep’s PMAE in 2007

15 Changes for museums: openness
Extensive consultation, including visits, calls, , hard-copies, web-based information sharing, conferences, etc. Affiliated collections published in the Federal Register Notice of Inventory Completion (HR, AFO) Notice of Intent to Repatriate (UFO, SO, OCP) As part of consultation for Inventories of HR and AFO and post-Summary research for determining affiliation for UFOs, SOs, and OCPs, brings tribes into museums and encounters with collections. At the PMAE, show affiliated collections subject to NAGPRA, CUID collections that may be affiliated, Things that may be misidentified, Whatever the tribe is interested in and is a priority for the visit. Cannot overemphasize how important face-to-face meetings are for building understanding and respect. Museums learn from these visits, and Native people see what the museum’s mission as stewards & caretakers really looks like. Affiliated collections published in the Federal Register Notice of Inventory Completion (HR, AFO) Notice of Intent to Repatriate (UFO, SO, OCP) Tlingit skirt examined during NAGPRA consultation PMAE in 2003

16 Changes for museums: stewardship vs. ownership
NMNH: Traditional Care of Culturally Sensitive Collections: Creating a Box for a Cheyenne Buffalo Skull Part of the dialogue can surround issues of caretaking outside of traditional museum practices. Ceremonies as part of the repatriation process or visit process. Smudging, prayers & songs for staff. With or without objects or human remains present. Access and storage needs of collections also PMAE, flagged as Special Considerations in our database. Idea that caring for objects goes beyond minimizing physical deterioration. Offerings can be accessioned: tobacco, sage. Tribes are welcome to suggest appropriate materials used for storage: open bags, natural materials like muslin instead of plastic. Certain items should be facing up or down, or in certain directions. Try to balance recommendations with conservation and storage requirements and limitations. This is a retrofit at the PMAE and most museums, even NMAI; and if anyone is interested in their work could be a final paper. As you can imagine, complicated by complexity of beliefs and input from many tribes. EXAMPLE: NMNH: Traditional Care of Culturally Sensitive Collections: Creating a Box for a Cheyenne Buffalo Skull 1903: collected a ceremonial buffalo skull from the altar of the Cheyenne Sun Dance held that July in OK. Following a consultation visit from the Southern Cheyenne in 1997, this buffalo skull was removed from exhibit. They recognized it as a ceremonial and sacred object which is still alive with power. Combined museum & ceremonial standards. After removed from display, conducted an appropriate ceremony at the Museum Support Center to calm the energy of the buffalo skull and enable it to be at rest. Following the ceremony, consultants suggested that it would be preferable to store the buffalo skull upside down and facing east. Tribal consultants suggested constructing a twelve-sided storage container in the shape of a Sun Dance Lodge. Four paintings have been created by a tribal member and to be matted and inserted within the walls of the storage container. He has drawn inspiration from photographs taken at the 1903 Sun Dance Can you imagine this happening in the 19th or earlier 20th century? Betsy Bruemmer of the Repatriation Office, NMNH, and Gordon Yellowman of the Cheyenne and Arapaho Tribes

17 Resolutions: beyond repatriation
solutions within legal structure go beyond legalities best practices outside legal strictures contributions to a "second museum age"? true co-curation: shared ownership/control & voice National Museums as repositories long-term loans international/bilateral agreements diplomatic outreach joint initiatives/knowledge- & object-sharing rhetoric of healing Repatriation issues FORCE us to confront legacies, to share information, question assumptions, to repair relationships, to equalize power sharing, to think outside our cumulative cultural norms (on all sides), to assess ourselves. The first museum age is generally recognized to be from ca , when "the public museum became a normative institution of Western modernity" (Phillips 2005). Characteristics we well know, of monumentality, facades like temples, or cathedrals, encyclopedic and democratic aspirations. Postmodern critiques of these museums, and normative culture in general, have grown in the past 20 years or so. Part of this trend is bringing academia back to museums and museum colections, to decolonize museums and academic knowledge together. This process makes museums relevant like never before, because they can produce all sorts of knowledge for all sorts of people. Inclusivity is a new watchword. Now new models of partnership and collaboration are becoming normative - what Ruth Phillips calls "a second museum age". How does and can repatriation contribute to these emerging dialogues? Did it spur these dialogues on?

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