How can repatriation be built from mutual respect, cooperation and trust? North American museums and institutions have historically engaged in the collection and categorization of Indigenous cultural property and knowledge without the consent or active involvement of Indigenous people. The Native American Graves Protection and Repatriation Act (NAGPRA) was enacted in 1990 to return Native American "cultural items" to lineal descendants and culturally affiliated American Indian tribes, Alaska Native villages, and Native Hawaiian organizations. Despite this and further state legislation, many institutions including the University of California, have obfuscated or denied repatriation claims. Across the border, the Canadian government does not currently have legislation addressing the repatriation of Indigenous Ancestors and cultural heritage, but is working to create national support for repatriation through legislation Bill C-391. Some Canadian provinces have passed repatriation acts or provincial museum polices that have facilitated the return of ancestors and belongings. This panel discussion seeks to learn from what is being done in Canada. What is the cultural and nuanced work that builds successful repatriations? How can repatriation and indigenizing the institution from within preserve and strengthen tribal cultural heritage?
Join Sabrina Agarwal (Professor of Anthropology and Chair of the UCB NAGPRA Advisory Committee) in conversation with Louis Lesage (Bureau du Nionwentsïo Huron-Wendat Nation), Lou-ann Neel (Curator and Acting Head of Indigenous Collections and Repatriation Department, Royal BC Museum), and Michelle Washington (Repatriation Specialist, Royal BC Museum) to explore these questions and hear about their experiences in repatriation.