By Tamara Bray

So far, the concept of repatriation has been formulated as a hugely polarized debate with museums, archaeologists, and anthropologists on one aspect, and local american citizens at the different. This quantity bargains either a retrospective and a potential examine the subject of repatriation. via juxtaposing the divergent perspectives of local peoples, anthropologists, museum execs, and individuals of the criminal career, it illustrates the complexity of the repatriation factor.

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Additional resources for The Future of the Past: Archaeologists, Native Americans and Repatriation

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The second event involved the creation of a year-long dialogue, which was suggested by the American Association of Museums and sponsored by the Heard Museum in Arizona. The participants in the dialogue were museums, scientists, and Native Americans. The dialogue centered around the appropriate treatment of human remains and cultural artifacts. In early 1990, the Report of the Panel for a National Dialogue on Museum/Native American Relations was issued. As summa- rized in the report of the Senate Select Committee on Indian Affairs pertaining to NAGPRA, the major conclusions of the Panel were as follows: The Panel found that the process for determining the appropriate disposition and treatment of Native American human remains, funerary objects, sacred objects, and objects of cultural patrimony should be governed by respect for Native human rights.

Cultural Affiliation and Prior Ownership or Control Once it has been shown that an item is an unassociated funerary object, sacred object, or item of cultural patrimony, either the cultural affiliation must be determined or, in the case of sacred objects and items of cultural patrimony, the requesting tribe or Native Hawaiian organization must show that the object was previously owned or controlled by the tribe, organization, or a member thereof. A direct lineal descendant may also request repatriation of a sacred object owned by an ancestor.

Petitions for repatriation of human remains and grave-associated objects are resolved case-by-case, with each case offering opportunities for renewal of the controversy. How and why did this controversy arise, and what are the implications of reburial and repatriation for the practice of archaeology? We look for our answers in information from a variety of sources: historical, archaeological, and popular. We try to shed some light on how archaeologists view their own practice and on how others (especially Native Americans and the general public) view that same practice.

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