Opening Archaeology: Repatriation’s Impact on Contemporary Research and Practice

May 15th, 2009 | By | Category: 20-4: Tribal College Leadership and Vision, Media Reviews

Edited by Thomas W. Killion
School for Advanced Research Press (2007)

Review by Emily Lena Jones, Ph.D.

Opening Archaeology is a collection of essays from a diverse set of practitioners concerning the impact of the 1990 Native American Graves Protection and Repatriation Act (NAGPRA) and associated efforts to repatriate Native American burial material to culturally affiliated tribes. This 12-chapter book is organized into four parts: History, Outlook on Method and Theory, Experience and Practice, and Regional Perspectives.

Because of the importance of NAGPRA, this collection is recommended for most tribal college libraries. However, the book has flaws. Readers are assumed to be familiar with NAGPRA and its history, and the essays vary widely in their relevance to non-anthropologists.

Some are concerned with theoretical debates in anthropology and unlikely to be of interest to non-specialists. Others contain histories of anthropology’s interactions with Native peoples, discussions of colonialism and anthropology, and case studies of post-NAGPRA projects that would be highly relevant to many in the tribal college community.

Emily Lena Jones, Ph.D., taught at Diné College for five years. She is currently assistant professor of anthropology at Utah State University.

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