Transcending Repatriation Issues: The Importance of Dialogue

Sunday, 16 February 2014
Acapulco (Hyatt Regency Chicago)
T. J. Ferguson , University of Arizona , Tucson, AZ
Scholarly studies are often commissioned by museums and federal agencies in the United States to provide a basis for determining cultural affiliation pursuant to the Native American Graves Protection and Repatriation Act (NAGPRA). Cultural affiliation is the historically traceable shared identity between a present-day Indian tribe and an earlier identifiable group. The determination of cultural affiliation requires examination of scientific, historical and traditional information, and government-to-government consultation with Indian tribes. In addition to documenting significant information about human remains and cultural items subject to repatriation, NAGPRA research and consultation create an opportunity for dialogue between anthropologists and Indian tribes. This dialogue can act as a springboard that leads to productive collaboration on other research projects. In this presentation, I discuss several recent NAGPRA studies that led to academic research that transcended repatriation issues and produced significant new knowledge.