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Subject:

OT: NCAI condemns UC Berkeley's NAGPRA reorganization

From:

Mark Hall <[log in to unmask]>

Reply-To:

British archaeology discussion list <[log in to unmask]>

Date:

Sat, 1 Dec 2007 01:54:51 +0900

Content-Type:

text/plain

Parts/Attachments:

Parts/Attachments

text/plain (229 lines)

EDITORIAL CONTACT: Ted Howard, 208-759-3100, ext. 243,
[log in to unmask]; Mark LeBeau, 916-801-4422,
[log in to unmask]

NATIVE AMERICAN NAGPRA COALITION CONTACTS: Reno Franklin 707-591-0580 Ext
105;
Lalo Franco, 559-925-2831; Radley Davis 530-917-6064;
James Hayward, 530-410-2875; Morning Star Gali 510-827-6719; Bennae
Calac, 760-617-2872; Silvia Burley, California, 209-931-4567;
Douglas Mullen, 530-284-7990; Amy Lonetree, 510-593-7729


NCAI, the Nation’s Largest Indian Organization, Condemns UC Berkeley
on Ancestral Remains, Supports Tribal Coalition’s Position

National Congress of American Indians Resolution Rejects UCB’s
Elimination
of Repatriation Unit, Subordination of Native Religion to University
Research

DENVER, Colorado, Nov. 28, 2007 &#8211; The Native American NAGPRA
Coalition (NANC) today
strongly endorsed the National Congress of American Indians’ (NCAI)
resolution
protesting UC Berkeley’s decision to eliminate its tribally approved
NAGPRA unit,
diminish tribal participation and influence in repatriation processes and
declare a huge portion of the Phoebe Hearst Museum’s collection of
ancestral remains and funerary
objects “to be culturally unaffiliated and thus not subject to tribal
repatriation and NAGPRA requirements.” The resolution, which passed
without dissent at the NCAI Annual Convention in Denver, also states
that the “needs of scientists
and scientific values” at the Museum “must be subordinate to the
religious freedom
and human rights of American Indians...” The Museum’s recent
reorganization has elevated research goals over Native American
entitlements under the Native American
Graves Protection and Repatriation Act (NAGPRA).

The text of the resolution is pasted below and the signed resolution is
attached to this email.

Founded in 1944 in response to termination and assimilation policies
forced upon
the tribal governments by the United States, NCAI now has over 250 member
tribes
across the country. NCAI the largest and most venerable Native American
organization
in America, and is best positioned to monitor federal laws, policies and
decisions that affect tribal government interests. In this capacity, the
organization “strongly
recommends that appropriate authorities immediately undertake a formal
investigation
of the Phoebe Hearst Museum…”



In August, the Native American NAGPRA Coalition asked UC Berkeley
Chancellor Robert J. Birgeneau to stop the Museum reorganization and
meet with NANC to discuss the
past and future of NAGPRA at the Hearst Museum. NANC’s letter protested
the
complete and deliberate exclusion of tribal representatives from the
reorganization
decision process, the new organizational structure that subordinates
Native American religious rights to the goals of science, and the
failure of the University to
adequately consult with tribes on the cultural affiliation of ancestral
remains and
sacred objects per the requirements of NAGPRA. The Chancellor ignored the
Coalition’s request, dismissed the protest as the agitation of a “few
disgruntled employees,” and referred all tribal NAGPRA inquiries to
subordinates. In spite of a major and successful NANC-sponsored
demonstration on the Berkeley campus in October, UC system chief
Rory Hume subsequently ignored similar requests from the Coalition.



“Thus far, the attitude of University officials toward sovereign Indian
tribes has been dismissive, discriminatory and paternalistic,” said Ted
Howard, Shoshone-Paiute, NANC representative and member of the 30-tribe
Great Basin NAGPRA Coalition. “Their primary concern has been to
placate powerful scientists who are extremely hostile to NAGPRA and
who want to keep our ancestors for the purposes of research. If UC
administrators continue this policy and ignore an organization of the
stature of the National Congress of American Indians, they may destroy
any prospect of cooperative and positive relationships
with tribes in the future. Native American ancestral remains belong to
Native Americans,
and we will not stop until our ancestors are repatriated
and returned to our mother earth.”



Indians regard repatriation as a human rights issue. The right to control
ancestral
remains is a basic human entitlement that has been extended to almost
every
ethnic group in the United States except Native Americans. Throughout
American history, scientists routinely pillaged Native American burials
and shipped massive amounts of ancestral remains to museums for
scientific study.  “It is time to correct
this fundamental injustice,” said Howard.



For additional information on the UCB NAGPRA issue,
visit http://nagpra-ucb-faq.blogspot.com and
http://nagpra-ucb.blogspot.com.



###



N A T I O N A L  C O N G R E S S  O F  A M E R I C A N  I N D I A N S



The National Congress of American Indians

Resolution #DEN-07-033



TITLE: Support for NAGPRA at the University of California - Berkeley



WHEREAS, we, the members of the National Congress of American Indians of
the
United States, invoking the divine blessing of the Creator upon our
efforts
and purposes, in order to preserve for ourselves and our descendants the
inherent
sovereign rights of our Indian nations, rights secured under Indian
treaties and
agreements with the United States, and all other rights and benefits to
which we
are entitled under the laws and Constitution of the United States, to
enlighten the publictoward a better understanding of the Indian people,
to preserve Indian cultural values,and otherwise promote the health,
safety and welfare of the Indian people, do herebyestablish and submit
the following resolution; and



WHEREAS, the National Congress of American Indians (NCAI) was established
in 1944
and is the oldest and largest national organization of American Indian
and Alaska
Native tribal governments; and



WHEREAS, the Chancellor of the University of California at Berkeley has,
without properly consulting with appropriate American Indian tribes,
decided to
discontinue the tribally approved NAGPRA unit dedicated to discharging
Universityresponsibilities to tribes under federal NAGPRA laws and
regulations
and has movedto place the NAGPRA program within other activities of the
Phoebe Hearst Museum of Anthropology, thereby diminishing tribal
participation and influence in the existing NAGPRA unit; and

WHEREAS, the needs of scientists and the scientific values of the Phoebe
Hearst Museum of Anthropology’s collection of skeletal material and
other sacred objects must
be subordinate to the religious freedom and human rights of American
Indians
whose ancestors and sacred cultural properties are housed in said
collections; and

WHEREAS, The Great Basin Intertribal NAGPRA Coalition (30 tribes) and
other tribes have vigorously opposed this action by the University of
California atBerkeley; and

WHEREAS, as much as fifty percent (minimum of 5,675 biologicalindividuals
(50%) and 69,028 Associated Funerary Objects) of the Phoebe Hearst
Museum of Anthropology’s collections
have been incorrectly declared to be culturally unaffiliated and thus not
subject
to tribal repatriation and NAGPRA requirements; and

WHEREAS, the decision by the Chancellor of the University of California
at Berkeley
places sacred American Indian skeletal remains and artifacts into the
hands of
University employees who are inadequately trained in the care and
preservation of such sacred items according to tribal customs and
traditions; and

WHEREAS, the NCAI quotes Section C of NAGPRA; Museum means any
institution, including institutions of higher learning &#8211; colleges,
universities etc. or state or local government agencies that possess or
has control over Native American collections (human remains or cultural
items) and receives funds through grant, loan, contract or other
arrangement by which Federal money or assistance is given to a museum
for any purpose, are bound by the stipulations of NAGPRA; and

WHEREAS, Section 5 of NAGPRA says, “In general” each Federal agency and
each museum which has possession or control over holdings or collections
of Native American human remains and associated funerary objects shall
compile an inventory of such items and, to the extent possible based on
information possessed by such museum or federal agency, identify the
geographical and cultural affiliation of such item. Requirements (1) the
inventories and identification required under subsection (a) shall be
(A) completed in consultation with tribal governments and Native
Hawaiian organization officials and traditional religious leaders.

NOW THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED, that the NCAI does hereby stronglyrecommend
that appropriate authorities immediately undertake a formal
investigation of the Phoebe Hearst Museum of Anthropology of the
University of California at Berkeley, to determine what provisions of
NAGPRA and related federal requirements have been overlooked by the
actions and inactions of the Phoebe Hearst Museum and the University of
California, Berkeley.

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that this resolution shall be the policy of NCAI
until it is withdrawn or modified by subsequent resolution.

CERTIFICATION

The foregoing resolution was adopted by the General Assembly at the 2007
Annual Session of the National Congress of American Indians, held at the
Hyatt Regency Denver at the Colorado Convention Center in Denver,
Colorado on November 11-16, 2007, with a quorum present.

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