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Native Remains - Essay Example

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There are many exhibitions of Native Americans’ remains and artifacts all over the country, but the history of Native Americans and their cultural and historical heritage is complicated and terrible. Even now there are many opinions and disagreements about the ownership of…
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Native Remains Essay
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Native Remains

Download file to see previous pages... Bush, Congress passed the Native American Graves Protection and Repatriation Act” (Townsend and Nicholas 596 ), also known as NAGPRA. It is a federal law of the USA. Its purpose is to return the remains, artifacts, and all Native Americans’ sacred objects to Indian tribes. NAGPRA gives “Native American tribes the legal authority to reclaim artifacts from federally funded museums, colleges, and all types of institutions. What happens to the artifacts is then up to the tribe” (“Who should own Native American artifacts?”). As a rule, there are advantages as well as disadvantages of NAGPRA.
The main achievement of NAGPRA is that it “resulted in immediate repatriation of the remains of many tribes’ ancestors” (Townsend and Nicholas 596). According to Riffe’s video, there is a belief that the spirit “does not abandon the body after the death”. It means that without proper burial ceremony the soul of a person will not be able to move on. “It can harm or be harmed by the living” (Riffe). Hundreds of Indian remains have been taken home and their descendants have fulfilled their duties. One of the most striking stories is the history of Cheyenne. Defenseless people were not only killed. They were “decapitated and their heads shipped back to Washington as freight” (Townsend and Nicholas 596). It was a real violation of all human rights. It resulted in a lot of sufferings for the relatives of the murdered Native Americans, who by 1990 have almost lost their hope to assure that their ancestors will find their resting places. The biggest problem was to find all parts of the body, because according to the Indian rules, only the whole body can be buried. Also, sacred artifacts, which were once made by their ancestors, were given back to Native Americans. Such objects are important, sometimes even indispensable, for different kinds of rites or rituals.
But the process of returning is not as simple as it may seem. NAGPRA ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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