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Chip Colwell-Chanthaphonh

Date and Time: 
Thursday, February 20, 2014. 05:00 PM
Meeting Location: 
Stanford Archaeology Center (building 500, 488 Escondido Mall)
Meeting Description: 

Chip Colwell-Chanthaphonh (Denver Museum of Nature and Science)

"Does Repatriation Heal?"

 

In 1990, the U.S. Congress passed the Native American Graves Protection and Repatriation Act, which established a process for Native Americans to reclaim cultural items and ancestral remains from museums. This legislation was the culmination of a long crusade by Native leaders who sought to challenge the colonialist underpinnings of anthropology, and bring healing to their communities through the final burial of human remains and the reinsertion of sacred objects in their living traditions and rituals. As we near NAGPRA’s twenty-fifth anniversary, it is timely to explore whether the legislation has served to decolonize the museum endeavor, and has led towards the kinds of conflict resolution and peacebuilding envisioned by some of its proponents. Using a survey of tribal repatriation workers from across the United States and in-depth ethnographic interviews, this presentation asks what “healing” means to Native peoples and whether the return of things and ancestors can be a form of restorative justice.

 

Chip Colwell-Chanthaphonh (pronounced: chawn-ta-pone) is Curator of Anthropology at the Denver Museum of Nature & Science. He received his PhD from Indiana University, and has held fellowships with the Center for Desert Archaeology, American Academy of Arts & Sciences, and US Fulbright Program. he has published three dozen articles and chapters, and nine books. His work has been highlighted in such venues as Archaeology Magazine, Indian Country Today, and the New York Times, and garnered numerous awards, including the National Council on Public History Book Award and the Gordon R. Willey Prize of the American Anthropological Association.

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