A Progressive Approach to Repatriation of Sacred Objects


In this presentation, Ryan Wheeler, Director, Robert S. Peabody Institute of Archaeology, Phillips Academy; Jaime Arsenault, Tribal Historic Preservation Officer, White Earth Band of the Minnesota Chippewa Tribe; Melanie O'Brien, Program Manager, National NAGPRA, National Park Service; Robert Shimek, Executive Director, White Earth Land Recovery Project; and Tara Mason, Secretary/Treasurer, White Earth Band of the Minnesota Chippewa Tribe, discuss how, despite federal law, tribes and museums are often at odds over the return of sacred objects and objects of cultural patrimony. The presentation shares a series of remarkable repatriations carried out between 2015 and 2017, and session presenters are hopeful that their experiences will inspire other institutions to adopt a progressive approach to repatriation. This session was part of the ATALM annual conference held in Prior Lake, Minnesota, on October 8-11, 2018.