Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Redding tribes question the Hearst

Redding tribes question museum
Artifact repatriation in doubt with UC Berkeley changes

By Kimberly Ross (Contact)
Thursday, September 6, 2007

Changes at a University of California at Berkeley museum, which holds the nation's second-largest collection of American Indian remains and artifacts, have raised questions among local tribes interested in regaining those items.

Corbin Collins, a Berkeley-based writer opposing those changes, spoke before several Redding-area tribal and human-rights representatives Wednesday at the Wintu Tribe of Northern California office in Redding.

Collins described a reorganization effort at UC Berkeley's Phoebe Hearst Museum as "the fox guarding the henhouse."

Department alterations relied on the opinions of archeologists and scientists, and excluded input from American Indians, including three in the museum's unit, he said. He fears the new setup will hamper tribes' future repatriation efforts.

"Scientists don't want to give back their (museum's) remains. They want to keep them and do research on them," he said.

Campus spokeswoman Marie Felde said by phone that tribes can expect the opposite from the restructured department.

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