Saturday, January 5, 2008

Wisconsin Inter-Tribal Repatriation support

Dear tribes and friends:

Above you will find a letter from the Wisconsin Inter-Tribal Repatriation Committee to Provost Wyatt R. Hume, acting president of the ten-campus University of California. The Committee represents all eleven federally recognized tribes in Wisconsin, and was written in support of the Native American NAGPRA Coalition’s (NANC) protest against UC Berkeley’s decision to eliminate the Phoebe Hearst Museum’s autonomous NAGPRA unit, the complete exclusion of American Indians from the reorganization decision process, the subsequent devastation of fair and impartial NAGPRA services, and other critical forms of exclusion that have dramatically impeded tribes’ ability to lawfully repatriate their ancestors’ remains. NANC would like to thank the Wisconsin tribes for their support. Their letter is a powerful addition to a growing body of letters and resolutions condemning the University’s NAGPRA policies, including a resolution by the National Congress of American Indians, the largest tribal organization in the country ( ).

Note that on October 31st, NANC sent a detailed letter to Provost Hume outlining our Coalition’s objections to UC Berkeley’s exclusionary NAGPRA policies ( Dr. Hume chose to ignore that letter and the request of tribal leaders for a meeting. Apparently, he accepts UC Berkeley administrators’ account of the recent NAGPRA dispute, an account which rationalizes blatant discrimination, trivializes the impact of Museum policies on repatriation services, obfuscates crucial distinctions and justifies the complete subordination of NAGPRA rights to the priorities of hostile research scientists ( We truly hope that the Wisconsin Inter-Tribal Repatriation Committee’s letter, along with other resolutions, will prompt Provost Hume to reconsider his indifference and to acknowledge the existence and legitimate concerns of sovereign tribal nations. Once again, we ask that he meet with the Native American NAGPRA Coalition.