Sponsored by: Archaeological Institute of America
The Native American Graves Protection and Repatriation Act of 1990 (NAGPRA) outlines a legal process by which federally recognize Native American tribes could reclaim their ancestors, sacred objects, and communally-owned objects from museums. At that time, many museum employees, bioarchaeologists, and archaeologists were afraid that NAGPRA constituted an existential threat to museums. In the three decades since, NAGPRA has been slow to take hold (for a variety of reasons) and only about 30% of the Native American ancestors have been repatriated. This lecture examples the repatriation movement in archaeology with a specific emphasis on the Denver Museum of Nature & Science, which is a recognized world leader in these efforts.
Short bibliography and/or website on lecture topic:
A recent “Curiosities” post on the topic at SAPIENS.org: https://www.sapiens.org/column/curiosities/vigango-repatriation/
Colwell, Chip, and Stephen E. Nash, 2020. Why We Repatriate: On the Long Arc Towards Justice at the Denver Museum of Nature & Science. In Working with and for Ancestors: Collaboration in the Care and Study of Ancestral Remains, edited by Chelsea Meloche, Laure Spake, and Katherine Nichols. Vancouver: University of British Columbia Press, pp. 79-90.
Nash, Stephen E., and Chip Colwell, 2020. NAGPRA at 30: The Effects of Repatriation. Annual Review of Anthropology 49-225-239.