Smithsonian National Museum of the American Indian – Repatriation and Reburial

Smithsonian National Museum of the American Indian - Repatriation and Reburial
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Historical Signing: Chairperson Silvia Burley is a signatory for the California Valley Miwok Tribe. Mr. Terry Snowball, NMAI Repatriation Coordinator makes sure that all appropriate documents are signed and in order. Signing held on June 18, 2013 at 10601 N. Escondido Pl., Stockton. California.

On Tuesday, June 18th, 2013, the California Valley Miwok Tribe met with Mr. Terry Snowball, Repatriation Coordinator for the Smithsonian Institution National Museum of the American Indian, Washington, D.C.; in regards to the scheduled repatriation of unassociated burial objects that were originally taken from four sites within the cultural territory of the Plains Miwok and Northern Valley Yokuts (San Joaquin County). The reburial (of which no human remains were involved) is scheduled for June 19th, 2013.

The National Museum of the American Indian Act (NMAI Act) was enacted in 1989 and by law, requires that all museums that receive federal funding are to return specified items, including human remains and sacred objects, to the tribes with whom they are culturally affiliated. On May 19th, 2008, the Santa Rosa Rancheria Tachi Yokut Tribe initiated the repatriation process claim request. On February 18th, 2013, the Smithsonian Institution NMAI Board of Trustees approved the claim request for the repatriation of unassociated burial objects taken from San Joaquin County, California.

In March 2012, Carrie Feldman attempted to consult with all of the potentially affiliated tribes regarding these funerary objects. The signatory tribes for the repatriation are as follows: the Santa Rosa Rancheria Tachi Yokut Tribe (Lemoore, CA), Tule River Reservation (Porterville, CA), and the California Valley Miwok Tribe (Stockton, CA). Items repatriated consisted of a bone awl, pestles, a small double pointed stone, sea shell (funerary object inferred); bone harpoon points, a bone from an eagle claw, a mortar, disc shell beads; charred fragments of fishnet and basketry, charred acorns and shell beads.

The NAGPRA repatriation process is a complex and lengthy process that involves an ongoing collaboration between tribes, their cultural departments and staff, the museum staff, Repatriation Coordinator, Research Specialist, the Museum Director, and Board of Trustees.

The Tribal Council of the California Valley Miwok Tribe, Chairperson Silvia Burley, Vice Chairperson Anjelica Paulk and Secretary Treasurer Rashel Reznor would like to thank all whom were involved in the joint cooperation for a successful repatriation and reburial (at an undisclosed location) of unassociated burial objects from San Joaquin County.

Forever grateful to the Smithsonian Institution National Museum of the American Indian (NMAI) Board of Trustees, Mr. Kevin Gover, Director (NMAI), Ms. Jacquetta Swift, Repatriation Manager (NMAI), Mr. Terry Snowball, Repatriation Coordinator (NMAI); Ms. Carrie Feldman, Research Specialist (NMAI); Santa Rosa Tachi Yokut Tribal Council; Chairman Ruben Barrios (Tachi Yokut Tribe); Cultural Committee Chairman Elmer Thomas (Tachi Yokut Tribe); Cultural Specialist / NAGPRA Coordinator, Mr. Hector (Lalo) Franco (Tachi Yokut Tribe); Mr. Pete Alanis (Tachi Yokut Tribe); Archaeological Technician / Cultural Specialist, Ms. Shana Brum (Tachi Yokut Tribe); Chairman Neil Payron (Tule River Res); Director, Department of Environmental Protection, Ms. Kerri Vera (Tule River Res); Mr. Karl Stromayer, Ph.D., Ms. Kim Forest, FWS; Mr. Bob Parris, FWS; and Mr. Peter Kelly, FWS. Our apologies to anyone we may have inadvertently left off the thank you list.