Giving Back


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Repatriation within physical anthropology and archaeology

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Giving Back

  1. 1. Giving Back: Anthropology and Repatriation Depiction of the Sand Creek Massacre painted on elk skin by a survivor Steph Halmhofer UBC
  2. 2. Caution <ul><li>Some slides in this presentation contain photos of human skeletal remains </li></ul><ul><li>I will try to give you a heads up before the slides, and if you do not wish to see the skeletal remains then look away and I will let you know when the pictures are gone </li></ul>
  3. 3. Who am I? <ul><li>I graduated from McMath Secondary in 2004 </li></ul><ul><li>Received an Associate of Arts degree in Criminology from Kwantlen University College, in 2007 </li></ul><ul><li>Currently attend UBC - Anthropology </li></ul><ul><ul><li>I specialize in physical (forensic) anthropology and archaeology </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Will be completing my studies at the University of Alberta </li></ul></ul><ul><li>During the summer of 2008 I worked as a collections technician for the Richmond Museum </li></ul><ul><li>September 2007 to April 2008, as well as October 2008 to present I work part-time at the Laboratory of Archaeology at UBC </li></ul><ul><li>From August 28 th to September 22 nd , 2008, I worked on an archaeological excavation in Spain, excavating human remains from a Roman necropolis (cemetery) </li></ul>
  4. 4. What is Anthropology? <ul><li>Not a lot of people know what anthropology is </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Many people think of dinosaurs (paleontology) </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Anthropology, simply put, is the study of people </li></ul><ul><li>There are 4 broad branches… </li></ul>
  5. 5. <ul><li>Cultural </li></ul><ul><ul><li>The study of human cultures </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Linguistic </li></ul><ul><ul><li>The study of human languages </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Archaeology </li></ul><ul><ul><li>The study of human past through material remains (artifacts, buildings, etc.) </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Physical </li></ul><ul><ul><li>The study of humans through their physical remains </li></ul></ul>
  6. 6. Archaeology <ul><li>The study of human past through material remains </li></ul><ul><li>These material remains, known as artifacts, can include: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Tools </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Acheulian hand tools </li></ul></ul></ul>
  7. 7. <ul><ul><li>Structures </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>The ancient city of Teotihuacan </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>And decorative artifacts </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>One interpretation of the infamous </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Venus figurine, from Willendorf, Austria </li></ul></ul></ul>
  8. 8. <ul><li>Archaeology gained popularity through the Indiana Jones films – it’s not at all like Indiana Jones in reality </li></ul><ul><li>The Roman City of Sanisera </li></ul><ul><li>Located on the island of Menorca, Spain </li></ul><ul><li>From August 28 th to September </li></ul><ul><li>22 nd , 2008, I excavated one of </li></ul><ul><li>the many necropolises that </li></ul><ul><li>surrounded the city </li></ul>
  9. 9. <ul><li>We had to hike a kilometre over rocks, crumbling walls, through bushes, and around the ruins of a Christian church (from 1 to 3 AD) to get to our site, part of that with a wheelbarrow, and in 30+ degree weather (though we did get caught in a large storm one day) </li></ul><ul><li>We began digging at 8:00 am, and dug for half the day (to beat the heat) </li></ul>
  10. 10. <ul><li>During the hottest part of the afternoon, or if the day all together was too hot, we were in the lab cleaning and identifying remains </li></ul>
  11. 11. <ul><li>Field work is only a small part of archaeology – the rest is spent in the lab, looking at what has been collected </li></ul><ul><li>I work at the Laboratory of Archaeology at UBC </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Part of this work includes photographing artifacts from various sites </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Another part of this job involves sorting through Assorted Materials (AssMat) – bags of materials collected from various sites </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>This involves separating the materials (i.e. faunal (animal), flora (plants, etc.), lithics (stone technology), human remains, etc.), and numbering them according to the Borden Classification System </li></ul></ul></ul>
  12. 12. <ul><li>Many items collected by archaeologists end up in museums around the world </li></ul>
  13. 13. Physical Anthropology <ul><li>The study of humans through their physical remains </li></ul><ul><li>Within physical anthropology there are many subfields, including: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Biological anthropology </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Includes genetics and ancient DNA </li></ul></ul></ul>
  14. 14. <ul><ul><li>Paleoanthropology </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Human evolution, human ancestors </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><li>Homo antecessor </li></ul><ul><li>Australopithecus afarensis, ‘Lucy’ </li></ul>
  15. 15. <ul><ul><li>Forensic Anthropology </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Identifying human remains for the police </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>The television show ‘Bones’ is based on a forensic anthropologist </li></ul></ul></ul>
  16. 16. Why are Skeletons so Important? <ul><li>You can learn an incredible amount of information about someone from just their bones </li></ul><ul><li>Looking at the teeth and fusion points of bones, along with the wear and tear present can give you an idea of age </li></ul><ul><li>Certain points on the skull can point to ethnicity along with the sex </li></ul><ul><li>The pelvis can also give you the sex </li></ul><ul><li>The lengths of long bones can help determine height </li></ul>
  17. 17. <ul><li>Certain diseases can leave their marks on bones </li></ul><ul><li>Repetitive activity and large muscles can enhance muscle attachments on bones, suggesting lifestyle </li></ul><ul><li>All this information combined can give you a profile about the person at hand, hence a skeleton’s importance to understanding past cultures and aiding in criminal investigations </li></ul>
  18. 18. Repatriation Within Anthropology <ul><li>What is ‘repatriation’? </li></ul><ul><li>Simply put, it means to return something to it’s place of origin </li></ul><ul><li>Repatriation occurs in many different forms </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Returning something you borrowed </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>When the government deports someone, that person is being repatriated </li></ul></ul>
  19. 19. <ul><li>But repatriation within anthropology usually carries a deeper meaning </li></ul><ul><li>In an anthropological context it is very, very important items being returned, such as skeletal remains and culturally sensitive objects </li></ul><ul><li>The strong emotions behind this type of repatriation came about because these skeletal remains and culturally sensitive objects being taken from people all around the world and not being returned </li></ul>
  20. 20. <ul><li>To help you understand why repatriation carries such an emotional meaning I want to talk to you for a bit about one of the most famous repatriation organizations and the history behind it – NAGPRA </li></ul><ul><li>http:// / </li></ul>
  21. 21. NAGPRA <ul><li>NAGPRA – North American Graves Protection and Repatriation Act </li></ul><ul><li>NAGPRA is a group of federal laws and regulations regarding the repatriation of human skeletal remains and artifacts belonging to Native American and Hawaiian groups in the USA </li></ul>
  22. 22. <ul><li>American common law states that human remains do not belong to individuals or organizations (government included) and the artifacts placed in graves belong to the deceased </li></ul><ul><li>NAGPRA adds to this by giving Native American/Hawaiian groups the right to claim skeletal remains and associated artifacts affiliated with their people (i.e. ancestors remains) </li></ul>
  23. 23. <ul><li>NAGPRA applies only to artifacts/skeletal remains on federal and tribal land, along with federally funded institutions (i.e. museums, universities) </li></ul><ul><li>It does not prohibit (prevent) excavating/researching Native American and Hawaiian skeletal remains/artifacts </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Rather it requires consultation with and permission from the associated groups </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Reburial is not required after repatriation, though most expect it will happen </li></ul>
  24. 24. The History Behind NAGPRA <ul><li>1823 </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Samuel Morton (the founder of physical anthropology in the USA) began collecting skulls </li></ul></ul><ul><li>In 1839 he published the Crania Americana which claimed that Native Americans were intellectually inferior to whites (not as good as) because of a smaller skull size </li></ul><ul><li>These ideas led to widespread looting and grave-robbing of Native American graves from the 1830’s – 1980’s </li></ul>
  25. 25. <ul><li>Collecting skulls eventually became institutionalized (allowed) in the mid 1800’s and resulted in the establishment of the Army Medical Museum in 1862, where officers were ordered to collect anything seen as ‘valuable’ </li></ul><ul><li>This ‘frenzy’ to collect led, in part, to the Sand Creek Massacre in 1864 </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Sand Creek, Colorado </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Colonel John Chivington and his drunken troops attacked a Cheyenne camp, despite the peaceful agreement between the Cheyenne and the American Military </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Hundreds of men, women, and children were killed and their heads sent to Washington, D.C. </li></ul></ul>
  26. 26. <ul><li>In 1868 more requests were sent to the Army for Native American skulls </li></ul><ul><ul><li>It was even considered making skull collecting obligatory, but the Army decided that was ‘distasteful’ so the soldiers were merely encouraged to go grave-robbing, or find remains other ways </li></ul></ul><ul><li>In 1891 when 4 of the 6 Inuit people brought from Greenland by Robert Peary died, it was seen as a “splendid, unparalleled opportunity to add postmortem data to their Eskimo file” </li></ul>
  27. 27. <ul><li>By early 1900’s, skeletal remains had gained a dollar value </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Skulls = $5 </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Complete skeletons = $20 </li></ul></ul><ul><li>The Great Depression only added to the looting and grave-robbing </li></ul><ul><li>By the 1930’s Native American skeletons had become tourist attractions and burial sites had been opened for public viewing </li></ul>
  28. 28. <ul><li>The final straw was drawn in 1971 when Iowa archaeologists reburied 26 European-American skeletons and sent 2 Native American skeletons to a local museum </li></ul><ul><li>This was the starting point for 20 years of lobbying by Native American and Hawaiian group for the return of their ancestral remains and artifacts </li></ul><ul><li>By 1979 the American Congress had passed the Archaeological Resources Protection Act (ARPA) </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Prevented the removal of archaeological resources without a permit </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Did not return previously collected items </li></ul></ul>
  29. 29. <ul><li>By the mid-1980’s lawsuits had been launched by several tribes for the return of their ancestral remains </li></ul><ul><li>In 1989 National Geographic Magazine published an article about the destruction of Slack Farm, in Kentucky, a site containing Native American burials and Mississippian houses (the site was dated 1400-1650 AD) </li></ul><ul><ul><li>In the mid 1980’s amateur ‘archaeologists’ paid the farm owners $10,000 for the right to excavate (the wanted to sell the artifacts for profit) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Used a bulldozer and destroyed hundreds of the burials and preserved houses </li></ul></ul>
  30. 30. Slack Farm, Kentucky An aerial shot of Slack Farm after looters used a bulldozer to ‘excavate’ in 1987
  31. 31. <ul><li>In 1990 the National Museum of the American Indian Act was passed </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Required the Smithsonian Institute to catalogue and ID their collection of Native American skeletons </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>The numbers came in at almost 19,000 individuals </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Finally, in 1991, NAGPRA was passed </li></ul>
  32. 32. The Kennewick Showdown <ul><li>While Native American and Hawaiian groups were ecstatic at the passing of NAGPRA, many archaeologists were not </li></ul><ul><li>Many archaeologists claimed that having to consult with Native American groups regarding the treatment and “disposition of human remains recovered from archaeological sites would have dramatically negative effects on the science of archaeology” </li></ul><ul><li>With help from the media, 1996 would bring about a bitter showdown between Archaeologists and NAGPRA over the infamous Kennewick Man </li></ul>
  33. 33. <ul><li>In 1996 a skeleton had been discovered along the Columbia River in Kennewick, Washington </li></ul><ul><li>Anthropologist James Chatters, along with two others, determined the skeleton was that of a Caucasian male approximately fifty years old </li></ul><ul><li>Because of a lithic (stone) point found in the skeleton’s pelvis, Chatters had the bones radiocarbon dated </li></ul><ul><li>Shockingly, the dates came back at between 9,100 and 9,400 years old </li></ul>
  34. 34. <ul><li>Five local tribes immediately claimed affiliation with the skeleton and demanded that the study of the skeleton stop </li></ul><ul><li>The Army Corps of Engineers (COE) took custody of the skeleton while affiliation was being determined, as per NAGPA (a very, very difficult task at times) </li></ul><ul><li>The archaeologists wrote to the tribes asking for permission to study the skeleton, but were “ignored” </li></ul><ul><li>The media became involved, taking the side of the archaeologists </li></ul>
  35. 35. <ul><li>The New York Times published a front-page article in 1996 entitled ‘Indian Tribes’ Creationists Thwart Archaeologists’ , comparing Native Americans to Christian fundamentalists </li></ul><ul><li> </li></ul><ul><li>“ Since the repatriation act was passed in 1990, American Indian creationism, which rejects the theory of evolution and other scientific explanations of human origins in favor of the Indians' own religious beliefs, has been steadily gaining in political momentum. Adhering to their own creation accounts as adamantly as biblical creationists adhere to the Book of Genesis, Indian tribes have stopped important archeological research on hundreds of prehistoric remains.” </li></ul><ul><li>The television program 60 Minutes launched an extremely one-sided attack against the Umatilla people (one of the groups claiming affiliation) </li></ul><ul><ul><li>During the interview, one archaeologist stated that he believed Native Americans were trying to control history </li></ul></ul>
  36. 36. <ul><li>Eight archaeologists who wanted to study the Kennewick Man, or ‘Ancient One’ as Native Americans referred to him, filed a lawsuit to prevent the repatriation, relying heavily on Chatters’ initial description that the skeleton was a Caucasian male </li></ul><ul><li>A relatively new religious movement, the Asatru Folk Assembly, became one of the loudest voices in the argument and filed a second lawsuit to prevent the repatriation </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Following pre-Christian Norse traditions and once compared to a white-supremacist group, the Asatru lawsuit also relied heavily on the Caucasian description </li></ul></ul>
  37. 37. <ul><li>While the Asatru group did not pursue their lawsuit for long, the archaeologists won and the COE was forced to allow a team of scientists to study the Kennewick Man’s remains </li></ul><ul><li>Though the lawsuit is over and time has passed, the Kennewick controversy still raises strong emotions </li></ul><ul><li>An update from the Asatru group was written in 2006, stating: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>“ The battle for control of the past never ceases. Kennewick Man - the 9,300 year-old skeleton found in the state of Washington - is a case in point. These remarkably non-Indian, possibly European, remains were the subject of legal battles a few years back, and the AFA is proud to have played a role in that drama.” </li></ul></ul>
  38. 38. World Repatriation <ul><li>Australia </li></ul><ul><ul><li> </li></ul></ul><ul><li>The Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Heritage Protection Act 1984 </li></ul><ul><ul><li>“ The purposes of this Act are the preservation and protection from injury or desecration of areas and objects in Australia and in Australian waters , being areas and objects that are of particular significance to Aboriginals in accordance with Aboriginal tradition ” </li></ul></ul><ul><li>In addition to the heritage act, most territories/states in Australia have specific, individual legislations </li></ul>
  39. 39. <ul><li>England </li></ul><ul><ul><li> </li></ul></ul><ul><li>The Working Group on Human Remains </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Established in 2001 </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Established to examine the legal status of human remains within UK museums </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Including potentially putting together guidelines to the safe-keeping of/return of humans remains, and how to deal any non-human material associated with human remains </li></ul></ul><ul><li>English law states that human remains (osteological and soft-tissue) belong to no one </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Within this law are many other rules/regulations/laws that essentially makes it very, very difficult for human remains to be released from museums </li></ul></ul>
  40. 40. <ul><li>Canada </li></ul><ul><li>In the early 1990’s, the Canadian Museums Association and the Assembly of First Nations established the Task Force on Museums and First Peoples </li></ul><ul><ul><li>The goal of the Task Force was to identify areas of conflict between museums and First Nations peoples, one of which was the repatriation of human remains and associated objects </li></ul></ul><ul><li>The Canadian Archaeological Association passed the &quot;Statement of Principles for Ethical Conduct Pertaining to Aboriginal Peoples”, which gives guidelines to displaying human remains/funerary objects and states that cultural items need to be handled in a respective manner </li></ul><ul><li>Many museums have individual policies regarding the repatriation of human remains and associated objects </li></ul>
  41. 41. <ul><li>UBC’s Museum of Anthropology </li></ul><ul><li>MOA does not have any First Nations skeletal remains in it’s collections </li></ul><ul><li>For funerary objects, MOA’s repatriation guidelines can be found online </li></ul><ul><ul><li> </li></ul></ul><ul><li>A written request must be made to start the process </li></ul>
  42. 42. <ul><li>UBC’s Laboratory of Archaeology </li></ul><ul><li>Unlike MOA, LOA does have human remains in it’s possession </li></ul><ul><ul><li>These human remains often appear while working on assorted materials collected from various sites </li></ul></ul><ul><li>The human remains are automatically set aside in anticipation of repatriation (after identification) </li></ul><ul><li>The steps toward repatriation can be found online </li></ul><ul><ul><li> </li></ul></ul><ul><li>When working with human remains at LOA (i.e. when remains are found), we follow a Musqueam tradition called ‘Tumuth’ </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Tumuth is a mixture of red ochre and a Vaseline-type substance (it varies) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>When human remains are present, you put a dot of tumuth on either side of your head (your temples), on the inside of each wrist, and women add a dot over their heart </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>The tumuth allows the spirit of the remains you are dealing with to see you and know who you are and what you do – this prevents angering the spirit </li></ul></ul>
  43. 43. A Canadian Repatriation Story <ul><li>The Haida Repatriation Committee is a group of volunteers dedicated to repatriating their ancestors </li></ul><ul><li>The Haida people of BC have been actively repatriating their ancestors remains for many years and have reburied over 460 remains from the Chicago Field Museum (over 160), the American Museum of Natural History (46), the Canadian Museum of Civilization, the Laboratory of Archaeology, the Royal BC Museum, private collections (over 200) </li></ul>