Contested Objects, Contested Meanings: Native American Grave Protection Laws and the Interpretation of Culture
39 Pages Posted: 1 Feb 2010
Date Written: January 29, 2010
While the National Museum of the American Indian Act and the Native American Graves Protection and Repatriation Act grant Native American tribes the right to control the physical objects of their cultures, many Native Americans continue to seek control over nonmaterial aspects of their cultures, including control over the meaning ascribed to their history and culture. Although it is important to remember that there is not one unified view of native culture held by all – or even most – Native Americans, such control is nevertheless essential to a tribe's ability to construct and debate its own cultural identity. The extent to which physical control of objects provides for the control of cultural identity is the focus of this paper.
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