Association on American Indian Affairs declares #EVERYTHINGBACK at 7th Annual Repatriation Conference

Over the past 100 years, federal Indian law and policy have come a long way from US-funded policies aimed at destroying the structures of autonomy, governance and security of Indigenous nations to forcibly assimilate Indigenous peoples. in its crucible. These federal actions were declared by American leaders as acts of genocide, intended to eradicate and completely eradicate the indigenous nations.

Indian Association of America has been an advocate for the Indian country for the past 100 years, working to reverse the effects of these genocidal and assimilationist policies by changing Indian federal law and policy in favor of self-determination and sovereignty. The Association has had a positive impact on the Indian country through its efforts to support tribal governance reforms, protect the integrity of indigenous family structures, protect sacred places, language revitalization efforts, assist return of stolen cultural heritage and provide meaningful opportunities for indigenous youth to achieve greatness and stay close to culture. Sadly, there is still a lot of work to be done to bring about fundamental and systemic change at the highest levels, and a lot of healing that remains at the local level to improve the health and well-being of Indigenous Nations.

The Association is empowered and guided by the concept of #EverythingBack as an intentional movement towards reconciliation, reparation, return – healing and reparation – of all that has been stolen, taken and looted without free, prior consent. and enlightened. #EverythingBack is about shared values ​​for the environment, diversity, family and community. #EverythingBack is a call to action for the Indian country, our allies and supporters to stand united and demand that the very things that make us who we are as human beings and as self-governing sovereign nations be returned. This movement is for healing for Indigenous nations and their citizens, as well as healing for all of us as we take responsibility in our roles of caring for the Earth and each other.

The return of our ancestors, their grave goods and sacred and cultural objects is an important part of the #EverythingBack movement. Repatriation requires that all parties involved – institutions, collectors, dealers, federal agencies, tribal governments, lawyers, academics – be truth revealers and healers by demanding that each of us be responsible for our past and committed to our future. . This is not only the right thing to do, but repatriation is also governed by various federal, state and tribal laws.

Tribal nations have never given up their inherent sovereignty to maintain their cultures and religions. Thus, it is illegal to have human remains, burial effects, sacred and cultural objects of Native American ancestors unless there is a clear right of possession obtained directly from a tribal nation. It is illegal to sell our looted and stolen items. The Native American Graves Protection and Repatriation Act (NAGPRA) states that agencies and institutions cannot have these items unless they have a “right of possession” – meaning the tribe must have given his voluntary consent to allow such an item to leave the possession of the tribe. Yet there are still 116,000 human remains of ancestors and hundreds of thousands of other grave goods and items of cultural heritage in boxes and drawers held by US institutions and agencies. In addition, auction houses and dealers continue to sell our sensitive cultural heritage items around the world without proper proof that the seller has such a right of possession – and there are very few dealers and houses in the world. auction that will work with Tribes to determine if the items have been looted or stolen.

But the law is evolving to strengthen protections for Native American cultural heritage, as do the perspectives of institutions in the United States and around the world. In the United States, Congress drafted the Preservation of Heritage Objects Act to protect against the export of cultural heritage. The US Department of the Interior is working with Tribes on comprehensive reviews of the NAGPRA regulations. There is also a strong movement to amend NAGPRA to expand compliance and enforcement measures. In other countries, such as the Netherlands, Germany and France, there are decolonization movements to return items that were taken during the time of colonization.

The Association organizes its 7th Annual Repatriation Conference on the theme “Responsible for our past, committed to our future.” The conference will include three weeks of special events, speakers, cultural events, panels and educational opportunities for all those interested in the repatriation of Native American cultural heritage. The conference will provide a welcoming and productive virtual space to tell the truth about the physical, mental, emotional and spiritual burden that Indigenous nations continue to face due to the theft of their diverse cultures and human rights.

For more information on the 7th Annual Repatriation Conference, visit Please also see the most recent agenda on Indian-

You can attend for free thanks to the generous support of our sponsors. Complete our scholarship application by October 25 to receive a link to register for free and have full access to all events, networks and opportunities from November 1 to November 19, as well as access to conference recordings through ‘in February 2022!

And, to see the scholarship request:

Join us on this journey to learn more, find unity and demand #EverythingBack!

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About Leah Albert

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