6th Annual Repatriation Conference
Growing Community & Moving Forward after 30 Years of NAGPRA
An ALL VIRTUAL Community Conference
October 26 – 28, 2020
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The Association on American Indian Affairs and the University of Denver Museum of Anthropology is partnering for the 6th Annual Repatriation Conference. Because of the coronavirus pandemic, the Conference will be completely virtual and formatted for active participation and networking among participants from Indian Country, institutions, federal agencies, international institutions, attorneys, academics and others interested in repatriation and Indigenous human rights work.
November 16, 2020 marks the 30th anniversary of the Native American Graves Protection and Repatriation Act. NAGPRA is the first and only Native American human rights legislation that requires the repatriation of cultural heritage that has been held by museums and government agencies. The Conference will look backwards to recognize and commemorate the importance of this landmark legislation and provide forward-looking strategies to grow and strengthen the repatriation community. In essence, this 30th anniversary of NAGPRA will allow us to look backward “to find tools that allow us to walk into the future.”
This 6th Annual Conference is intended for American Indian, Alaska Native and Native Hawaiian Nations, museums, institutions, government agencies, academics, attorneys, collectors, artists, cultural preservationists and others engaged or interested in the repatriation of culture. Repatriation is the return of Native American Ancestors and their burial items, as well as the return of tangible and intangible cultural heritage. Together, we will critically analyze the future of NAGPRA and learn how to advance its implementation across disciplines, while gaining a better understanding of repatriation in the U.S. and abroad. Sessions will focus on the future of repatriation work, under NAGPRA, as well as repatriation of tangible and intangible cultural heritage where NAGPRA does not currently apply.
This artwork was created especially for the 6th Annual Repatriation Conference by George Curtis Levi, who is a member of the Southern Cheyenne Tribe of Oklahoma and is also Southern Arapaho. This ledger art painting depicts how repatriation builds community and strengthens culture. It was painted on an antique mining document from Montana that dates from the 1890s. India ink and liquid acrylic paints were used.
It is now the moment of the seventh fire, and the people of the Seventh Fire do not yet walk forward; rather, they are told to turn around and retrace the steps of the ones who brought us here. Their sacred purpose is to walk back along the red road of our Ancestors' path
and to gather up all the fragments
that lay scattered along the trail.
The task of the moment is to find tools that
allow us to walk into the future.
Those tools are needed for lighting the eighth fire - an everlasting fire of peace that can be lit by all humans,
but that depends on our actions today.
-Heller and McElhinny, Language, Capitalism, Colonialism: Toward a Critical History (p. 15) quoting from Braiding Sweetgrass: Indigenous Wisdom, Scientific Knowledge, and the Teachings of Plants (p 368-69).