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SFSU workshop to improve artifact return process between museums and Native American tribes



Ellen Griffin
SFSU Office of Public Affairs & Publications
(415) 338-6990
(415) 338-1665


Press Release published by the Office of Public Affairs & Publications


Native American tribes and museum officials to convene for dialogue, better understanding

More than 100 representatives of Native American tribes, government authorities and museums will convene at the Barona Valley Ranch Resort & Casino to explore better ways to implement the Native American Graves Protection and Repatriation Act (NAGPRA).

NAGPRA is the Federal law that provides a process for museums and Federal agencies to return sacred objects, human remains and other cultural items to Native American tribes or lineal descendants.

"There's a great historical justice that needs to be achieved regarding relationships between museums and tribes," says workshop organizer Melissa Nelson, assistant professor of American Indian studies at San Francisco State University. "We are trying to create an open, free dialogue to better understand each other's unique perspectives."

"NAGPRA in Context: A Workshop for Tribes and Museums," is sponsored by the departments of Museum Studies and American Indian Studies at San Francisco State University. It is hosted and co-sponsored by the Barona Museum and Cultural Center and the Cultural Conservancy and funded by the National Park Service.

Representatives of both tribal nations and museums will explain their organizational structures, operations and governance in an effort to promote understanding and cooperation. Participants will explore challenges in implementing the law, and solutions for partnering effectively.

Workshop sessions will promote better understanding of:

  • NAGPRA implementation to date
  • What tribes can expect from museum visits and consultations
  • How tribal nations and cultural centers operate
  • How to deal with pesticide contamination and other collection conditions
  • How museums are curated, governed and managed

July 14-15, Barona Valley Ranch Resort and Casino, 1932 Wildcat Canyon Road, Lakeside, Calif.


NOTE: For background, or to arrange to cover the event, contact Melissa Nelson, SFSU assistant professor of American Indian studies,, (415) 338-7062 or Edward Luby, SFSU assistant professor of museum studies,, (415) 338-3163.

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Last modified July 12, 2004, by the Office of Public Affairs & Publications