Exploring Native American Repatriation Act at UCSD Teach-in
Written by Jan Jennings - UCSD
Monday, 29 September 2008
San Diego, California - The Native American Graves Protection and Repatriation Act (NAGPRA) will be up for scrutiny when four panelists offer different points of view to the Grave Injustice: UCSD Repatriation Teach-In Oct. 13 in the Student Services Center at the University of California, San Diego.
The event, part of U C San Diego’s Native American Day Celebration, will be from 5 to 7 p.m. in the center’s Multi-Purpose Room. It is free and open to the public.
NAGPRA is a federal law passed in 1990 defining a “process for museums and Federal agencies to return certain Native American cultural items – human remains, funerary objects, sacred objects, and objects of cultural patrimony – to lineal descendants, culturally affiliated Indian tribes, and Native Hawaiian organizations.” If remains are found on federal land, the law states, they should be returned to the tribe of origin or the tribe with the closest cultural affiliation.
Devon Lomayesva, executive director of California Indian Legal Services and a member of the Iipay Nation of Santa Ysabel, will moderate the panel discussion.
The panelists and their particular expertise on NAGPRA:
-- Sherry Hutt, National NAGPRA program manager, will speak on NAGPRA at the national level and the intent of the law.
-- Carole Goldberg, professor of law at UCLA and faculty chair of UCLA Law School’s Native Nations Law and Policy Center, will focus on NAGPRA in the UC system.
-- Louie Guassac, Sycuan consultant, will consider the Kumeyaay perspective of the current repatriation issue with the UCSD’s University House remains.
-- Ross Frank, UCSD Department of Ethnic Studies and author of UCSD’s NAGPRA Minority Report on the University House remains, will talk on the current repatriation issue as a member of the UCSD NAGPRA Ad-Hoc committee and minority report author.
“Simply stated,” notes the UCSD NAGPRA Working Group Report regarding the University House remains issue, “our finding is that there is not a significant preponderance of evidence to support an affirmation of cultural identification or affiliation with any modern group … The highly imperfect and incomplete record of temporal sequencing of archaeological remains contains little to argue for or against such affiliation.”
In the UCSD NAGPRA Minority Report regarding the University House remains, Frank concludes the reverse: “The burials that form the basis for this claim were human beings whose most likely descendants, through both inherited culture and kinship, are the Kumeyaay people represented by the Kumeyaay Cultural Repatriation Committee. No concerted attempt has been made by the (NAGPRA Working Group) committee to bring a coordinated interdisciplinary analysis to bear on the disparate lines of evidence.”
Meanwhile, the University continues to work with Kumeyaay representatives on a number of cultural issues, in addition to repatriation, to foster and build on mutual interests.
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