Monday, December 27, 2010

The Alaskan Zahi Hawass

Okay, Okay - there is no one else on Earth like the great Dr. Hawass, (thank, God!) however, the trend to return native artifacts back to the original tribes and countries of origin continues unabated.

Marlene Johnson, a T’akdeintaan elder of Alaska, is fighting to have native ceremonial and antique handmade objects returned to her tribe. The objects are currently housed at the University of Pennsylvania Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology.

The Penn Museum is one of the oldest and most respected archeological schools in the world. In fact, the Great Dr. Hawass is a graduate. He contests this but was sponsored by the Edgar Cayce Foundation in the 1970's. The Penn Museum is also home to rare Sumerian artifacts amongst many, many others.

At issue: 40 or more objects such as a shaman’s box drum and headdress, a ceremonial rattle and a mask. A faded hide robe that memorializes ancestors of the Hoonah T’akdeintaan clan wiped out by a tidal wave in Lituya Bay, Alaska. The Lituya Bay robe, for example, represents the spirits of clan ancestors and is needed by religious leaders for use in funeral and memorial potlatches, according to the Huna Heritage Foundation. Also, a shaman’s owl mask. A brass Loon Spirit hat.

Most of the items were purchased in 1924 in Hoonah by Louis Shotridge, a Tlingit man from Klukwan who worked for the Philadelphia university. The school’s museum added the items to its collection.

The museum is willing to give back only 8 of the objects.

The Native American Graves Protection and Repatriation Act is a federal law under which American Indians can claim human remains and cultural objects held by museums and federally funded agencies.

News Article

News Article

No comments: