The 2020 6th ANNUAL REPATRIATION CONFERENCE
October 26 – 28, 2020
A Virtual Community Conference
November 16, 2020 marked 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 6th Annual Repatriation Conference looked backwards to recognize and commemorate the importance of this landmark legislation and provide forward-looking strategies to grow and strengthen the repatriation community. On the 30th anniversary of NAGPRA, the Conference allowed us to look backward “to find tools that allow us to walk into the future.”
Growing Community and Moving Forward After 30 Years of NAGPRA. The 6th Annual Repatriation Conference was our largest conference yet, with over 700 attendees from around the world, 100 repatriation experts presenting, and 3 days of connecting, learning, and imagining the future of repatriation together. Together we gathered –virtually– to share important information, research, case studies, insights, and support. Where there is still a lot of work ahead of us, we concluded the Conference feeling inspired, supported, and motivated to see our Ancestors return home.
Our keynote speaker, Suzan Shown Harjo, was at the center of the struggle to educate Congress about the need for repatriation law, and has been an advocate for protecting and respecting Indigenous Ancestors, funerary items, sacred sites, and cultural patrimony for many years. In her keynote presentation, Suzan shared powerful personal experiences from the multi-decade fight to pass NAGPRA, and how her family's struggle to be treated with diginity by U.S. institutions inspired her passion for pursuing repatriation justice.
The mission of the Association is to build a world where Native American cultures and values are lived, protected and respected. Learn more about the Association's repatriation work here.
"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).
Thank you to our SPONSORS committed to growing the repatriation community and moving forward!
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.