Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Susanville Indian Rancheria Resolution

Chancellor Robert J. Birgeneau
Office of the Chancellor
200 California Hall #1500
University of California
Berkeley, CA 94720-1500


Dear Chancellor Birgeneau:

Susanville Indian Rancheria (SIR) is a federally recognized Indian Tribe located in Northeastern California. The tribe is comprised of four distinct Tribes: Maidu, Paiute, Pit River, and Washoe. The Phoebe A. Hearst Museum of Anthropology (PAHMA) houses thousands of human remains that are related to us. SIR has created a NAGPRA Coalition that consists of Tribes from Northeastern California and the Great Basin Members from the Northeastern California NAGPRA Tribal Coalition (NECATNC) have visited the PAHMA on several occasions, as we are diligently working to repatriate the ancestors. Those Tribes that have officially signed on with the NECATNC are:

Washoe Tribe of Nevada and California
Reno-Sparks Indian Colony
Redding Rancheria
Maidu Cultural Development Group
Lovelock Paiute Tribe
Pit River Nation
Winnemucca Indian Colony
Pyramid Lake Paiute Tribe
Fort Bidwell Indian Community
Alturas Rancheria
Fallon Paiute-Shoshone Tribe
Greenville Rancheria
Susanville Indian Rancheria

On behalf of all members of the NECATNC we vigorously urge you to reverse the decision made to disband the NAGPA unit. It is our understanding that this decision was made based on a report written by two archaeologists who represent research interests that conflict with Tribal claims on the Museum's collection of ancestral remains. The review was conducted with only a few days notice, without Tribal notification and consultation! Despite insistence from Larri Fredericks, Ph.D., Interim NAGPRA Coordinator, that Native Americans be represented, her concerns were bypassed!

We feel that we have built a strong relationship with the PAHMA and the NAGPRA unit. The NAGPRA team consists of highly qualified people and they understand the cultural sensitivity that exists between Native Americans. NAGPRA issues require people who have specialized training on Native American Culture and NAGPRA. The PAHMA has the responsibility to care for our ancestors, artifacts, and cultural items, and they have worked very hard to build that trust with us. It would be a tragedy and an insult to disband the NAGPRA unit. We urge you to reconsider, to avoid a disastrous mistake that will be an injustice to Native Americans and will damage the University relations with Tribal Governments. If you have questions or comments you may contact Melany L. Johnson, Cultural Resource Specialist, at 530-251-5633 or cultural@sir-nsn.gov.

Mr. Stacy Dixon
SIR Tribal Chair

Cc: NECATNC Members
SIR Tribal Government Liaison Committee
Melany L. Johnson, SIR
Larri Fredericks, PAHMA

No comments: