Abstract

http://ssrn.com/abstract=1401526
 
 

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Contaminated Collections: An Overview of the Legal, Ethical and Regulatory Issues


Rebecca A. Tsosie


Arizona State University (ASU) - Sandra Day O'Connor College of Law

2001

Collection Forum, Vol. 17, p. 14, 2001

Abstract:     
Repatriation of contaminated objects to Native Nations poses at least two distinct issues: first, the need to identify whether dangerous chemicals exist on an object prior to repatriation; and second, for those objects that are contaminated, the need to identify the particular health risk posed by the contamination. These issues fall within a complex legal framework, governed by at least two separate statutory regimes - cultural resources statutes and environmental statutes - as well as by principles of tort law. Although these legal principles influence the respective rights and duties of Native people and of museums, they are not dispositive of the issues. Rather, the issue of repatriation of contaminated objects requires a restructuring of existing law and policy directives to achieve a coherent legal solution. However, before such a restructuring is possible, it is necessary to examine the legal and
ethical dimensions of the problem through an intercultural lens. The nature of the problem is one that threatens human health and safety, requiring scientific study of the health effects of such contamination given the patterns of use employed by Native people. However, it is also one that requires recognition of cultural harm and the inadequacy of existing tort law to quantify the damages that are being suffered by Native people.

Number of Pages in PDF File: 16

Keywords: Native people, torts, repatriation

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Date posted: May 9, 2009  

Suggested Citation

Tsosie, Rebecca A., Contaminated Collections: An Overview of the Legal, Ethical and Regulatory Issues (2001). Collection Forum, Vol. 17, p. 14, 2001. Available at SSRN: http://ssrn.com/abstract=1401526

Contact Information

Rebecca A. Tsosie (Contact Author)
Arizona State University (ASU) - Sandra Day O'Connor College of Law ( email )
Box 877906
Tempe, AZ 85287-7906
United States
480-965-2714 (Phone)
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