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FW: [EthnoHist] Digest Number 319

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  • Lewine, Mark
    ... From: Alfred M Lee [mailto:leeam@juno.com] Sent: Thursday, June 14, 2007 11:30 AM To: Aliens_Gamers@yahoogroups.com; mlewine@wowway.com; Lewine, Mark
    Message 1 of 1 , Jun 14, 2007
      -----Original Message-----
      From: Alfred M Lee [mailto:leeam@...]
      Sent: Thursday, June 14, 2007 11:30 AM
      To: Aliens_Gamers@yahoogroups.com; mlewine@...; Lewine, Mark
      Subject: Fw: [EthnoHist] Digest Number 319


      I'm passing this along to you, as I thought you might find it of
      interest, both for substantive content, and as an indication that we are
      not the only ones who have to deal with less-than-ideal administrative


      1. FWD: NAGPRA Program at UC Berkeley
      Posted by: "(no author)" (no email address) mhall940
      Date: Wed Jun 13, 2007 1:21 pm ((PDT))

      June 12, 2007

      Dear Concerned Faculty, Students, Staff and Community Members:

      As the Phoebe Hearst Museum's Interim Coordinator for the Native
      American Graves Protection and Repatriation Act (NAGPRA), I need to
      alert you to a recent decision by Vice Chancellor Beth Burnside that
      will have a disastrous impact on UC Berkeley's relationships with Native

      The Vice Chancellor has decided to disband the NAGPRA unit dedicated to
      discharging University responsibilities to tribes under federal and
      state NAGPRA laws. I urge you to help us reverse this decision, which
      was based on a report written by two archeologists who represent
      research interests that often conflict with tribal claims on the
      Museum's collection of ancestral remains. The review was conducted with
      a few days notice-before the tribes could be notified and respond-and
      Native Americans were completely and deliberately excluded from the
      process, despite my vigorous insistence that they be represented. As a
      result, NAGPRA services after June 30 will be cut or eliminated at a
      critical time when good faith and justice require that the level of
      service be maintained or increased. Native Americans will lose the
      University's only cohesive and qualified group they can count on for
      fair and objective consultation and document research on repatriation

      Vice Chancellor Burnside claims that NAGPRA services will continue at
      the "same level" after the NAGPRA unit is "folded into" overall Museum
      operations. This is cynical spin. One highly trained PhD will be laid
      off, and other staff members will be demoted and/or absorbed into the
      disparate activities of the Museum. Three of these are Native Americans,
      two with PhD's and one with a Masters in Anthropology; all have
      specialized knowledge of NAGPRA and Native American culture. They will
      now be directly supervised by Museum staff members who know nothing
      about NAGPRA or Native Americans and whose primary responsibilities
      include promoting the Museum as a whole, preserving the collections, and
      serving the needs of research scientists. The NAGPRA unit's former
      functions-NAGPRA compliance, inventories, consultation, archival review,
      tribal visits and claims, document research, etc-will be handled on a
      "case by case" basis largely by a single, yet-to-be-hired director with
      a background in osteology/archeology who will answer to Museum
      administrators and University researchers. Museum activities will take
      priority, and NAGPRA funds will inevitably be co-opted to "enhance"
      underfunded Museum programs.

      The Phoebe Hearst Museum houses the nation's largest collection of
      Native American ancestral remains outside of the Smithsonian. Native
      Americans care deeply about the treatment of this collection, and many
      will not rest until their tribe's remains are returned and reburied.
      The NAGPRA staff has worked hard to establish good relations with Native
      Americans, while administering NAGPRA rules fairly and impartially,
      without favoring the tribes over the Museum, the University, or any
      other relevant constituency. Our goal is to build relationships and
      ensure that Native Americans have a seat at the table-that their voices
      be heard and that their just claims be acknowledged and satisfied. The
      NAGPRA unit has succeeded in establishing relations of trust and
      collaboration between the Museum and Native Americans, hosting over two
      hundred tribal visits in the past year, working with Native American
      Studies and the American Indian Graduate Program, facilitating the
      Museum's California Indian Day and the Native American Heritage
      Month-and much more. The decision to disband our unit will alienate
      tribes, break collaborative ties and destroy our hard work.

      I have sent a detailed letter to Chancellor Birgeneau asking him to
      reconsider the Vice Chancellor's decision. I urge you to contact him as
      well. Help us convince the Chancellor that the decision is both a
      mistake and an injustice that will seriously damage University relations
      with Native American communities. Please email, fax or mail your
      concerns as soon as possible to

      Chancellor Robert J. Birgeneau
      Office of the Chancellor
      200 California Hall # 1500
      University of California
      Berkeley, CA 94720-1500
      Phone (510) 642-7464
      Fax (510) 643-5499

      Please forward this email to friends and colleagues who might be
      sympathetic, ask them to contact Birgeneau and then forward it on
      themselves. You might also want to contact the Governor and other

      If you have any questions or need more information please contact me at
      510-642-6096, 510-652-1567 or larri.fredericks@.... Thanks for
      your support.


      Larri Fredericks, Ph.D.

      Interim NAGPRA Coordinator

      Chair, American Indian Graduate Program Advisory Committee

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