M.A. Theses: Robyn Ewing, 2010

Finding Middle Ground:  Case Studies in Negotiated Repatriation

Repatriation, the return of cultural property and human remains has emerged as a nexus for change and development in the policy and practice of both Indigenous and non-Indigenous heritage institutions. Despite its lengthy history, repatriation has gained prominence more recently through the Native American Graves Protection and Repatriation Act (NAGPRA) passed in 1990. Consequently, less focus has been placed on negotiated repatriations. To understand the crucial dynamics driving negotiated changes of practice and policy I examine repatriation and long-term loans outside the ambit of NAGPRA’s purview, demonstrating exceptional circumstances.

My comparison of negotiated repatriation processes and results at the Arizona State Museum (ASM) and Calgary’s Glenbow Museum illustrate significant institutional variation in repatriation approaches and consultations. Both share similar proximate goals fostering productive dialogue. Repatriation profoundly influences institutional organization and mission, extending beyond legal mandates and revealing commitments to find middle ground through good faith negotiations and extra-NAGPRA collaborations.

Keywords: Alberta; Apache; Archaeology; Arizona; Arizona State Museum; Blackfoot Confederacy; Community; Culture; Cultural Heritage; Four Southern Tribes; Glenbow Museum; Indigenous; Intercultural Reconciliation; Kainai; Middle Ground; Museums; NAGPRA; Native; Negotiation; Pascua Yaqui; Piikani; Repatriation; Siksika; Salt River Pima Maricopa Indian Community; Tohono O’odham; Virtue Ethics.