Monday, July 30, 2007

Natives fear Hearst Museum may keep Alaska artifacts

Natives fear Hearst Museum may keep Alaska artifacts

AT BERKELEY: University dissolves unit that restored remains and art to tribes.
The Associated Press

Published: July 30, 2007 Last Modified: July 30, 2007 at 09:41 AM

JUNEAU -- Groups in Alaska are criticizing a California university's decision to eliminate the unit that restores Native artifacts to their original owners.
Native leaders worry the move at the University of California, Berkeley will delay or prevent the return of artifacts to tribes and clans under the Native American Graves Protection and Repatriation Act.

The university's Phoebe A. Hearst Museum of Anthropology boasts the second-largest collection of Native American remains and items in the country, including hundreds of Northwest Coast art and Tlingit, Haida and Tsimshian objects.

My impression is that this is one of the few museums where the staff is what we call the 'old guard,' " said Bob Sam, an elder and expert in human remains and burial site restoration, in Sitka. "They have very strong feelings that these items shouldn't be turned over to the Native people, but that they should be kept in a safe environment.

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