A Law’s Legacy

This summer, KHC features daily posts about the speakers and topics in the Humanities catalog. Today’s featured presentation is “Legacy of an American Indian Civil Rights Law” by Brice Obermeyer.

Blackfeet Tribe at Haskell

Blackfeet Indian Chiefs at the dedication of Haskell Stadium, Lawrence, October 1926. Image from kansasmemory.org, Kansas Historical Society, Copy and Reuse Restrictions Apply.

Many museums across the United States have human remains, funeral objects, and the sacred items of American Indians in their collections. Brice Obermeyer’s Speakers Bureau topic explores the Native American Graves Protection and Repatriation Act (NAGPRA), a law that guaranteed American Indian tribes the right to reclaim these items in an effort to restore the humanity of these individuals. When the law took effect in 1990, museum staff, board members, and volunteers feared conflict and a loss of valuable historical artifacts. However, increased collaboration between museums and Indian tribes has been sparked by NAGPRA, which is now appropriately viewed as American Indian Civil Rights legislation.

“Repatriation does more than return and rebury human remains,” said Obermeyer. “It builds strong and collaborative relationships between tribes and museums while restoring the humanity to those individuals in the museum collections who have long been viewed as artifacts of the past.”

Brice Obermeyer

Brice Obermeyer

Brice Obermeyer is an anthropologist who specializes in American Indian ethnography and historic preservation. He also serves as the director of the Delaware Tribe’s Historic Preservation Office.

You can bring Brice Obermeyer’s “Legacy of an American Indian Civil Rights Law” or one of the other presentations in the Humanities catalog to your community for FREE with a Resource Center Support Grant. It’s quick and easy! Visit the Speakers Bureau page to get started or contact Leslie Von Holten, director of programs, at leslie(at)kansashumanities.org for more information.