Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Research Involving Native Communities, Conflicts and Collaborations

An article in the latest issue of Science Magazine discusses the impact the Native American Graves Protection and Repatriation Act passed by the U.S. Congress twenty years ago has had on relations between Native American communities and scientists, and how new rules passed this year are likely to continue to complicate matters.

To read more, see "Grave Disputes" by John Travis, Science Magazine, Vol. 330, Issue 6001. pp.166-170.

The American Archaeological Association has also addressed a number of these concerns in their Code of Professional Conduct.

Though disputes still frequently occur, many archaeologists have found ways to collaborate with native communities. This same issue of Science Magazine contains a short article about a 12-year long collaboration between a team of archaeologists and paleontologists and the Tlingit tribe in Alaska where when the scientists discovered human remains on tribal land, the local tribe gave the scientists access to the bones and then jointly reburied the remains in a two-day celebration that involved the Tlingit, local bureaucrats and the scientists.

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