Study Finds Native Americans Excluded From Repatriation Process - NAPT Opportunities
Submitted by: Kim Baca <firstname.lastname@example.org>
For Immediate Release
WASHINGTON—Aug. 14, 2008—The federal government neither assures compliance with or enforcement of a federal law enacted to protect American Indian remains and funerary objects and to reunite them with their families and homelands. In some instances, agencies have withheld or changed information about the objects or human remains in their possession, in blatant disregard of the law, according to a new report studying the implementation of the act.
While some federal agencies have good working relationships with Native Americans, many Indian tribes say federal agencies rarely made good-faith efforts in contacting them about their collections. Tribes also have discovered that some of the federal agencies' official notices of cultural determinations have been withdrawn for unknown reasons and without consulting the tribes, according to a new report assessing the implementation of the 1990 Native American Graves Protection and Repatriation Act or NAGPRA released today.
"For decades…the human remains of thousands of Native Americans were lodged in federal repositories, museums, and scientific institutions," Sen. Daniel K. Inouye (D-HI) stated in the report's foreword. "It required an act of the Congress to ensure that their loved ones are accorded the proper respect in death that they enjoyed in life."
But researchers in the study say much more work remains to be done on NAGPRA. The law instituted a systematic approach of working with Native Americans to return human remains and funerary objects with which they are affiliated. Federal agencies and museums were required to take inventory and notify Native Americans about their collections and thus work in collaboration with Native Americans in determining a cultural link to the remains or objects. But researchers in the study say some federal agencies have refused to do so, which has resulted in more than 118,000 Native Americans being left in storage in federal repositories and museums across the nation.
The National Park Service, which both participates in and oversees the NAGPRA process, is one such agency that has the remains of hundreds of Native Americans in storage because the Service has withdrawn the public notices that tie the remains and objects to contemporary Native Americans. Most of these notices have been pending publication since 1995.
"Makah people have always lived in this area, and over the past 150 years a lot of our important cultural items have been improperly removed from here and are located in museums throughout the country," said Janine Bowechop, executive director of the Makah Cultural and Research Center that is operated by the Makah Tribe. "NAGPRA gave hope to all Indian people that we could legally seek return of our cultural objects and for many, this promise has been realized. If we had the resources, we would make a bigger push to bring our objects home, where they belong."
The Makah museum houses one of the country's largest collections of pre-contact, northwest coast artifacts.
Also according to the report, since 1999 more than $3 million has been used by the National NAGPRA program for purposes other than the grants program, which was created by the act to support museums and Native Americans to participate in the repatriation process.
But federal officials also have their frustrations. Many say they could benefit from training on the repatriation process, but they have inadequate resources, according to the report. Federal officials also cited confusion on who or which tribe to consult with. Federal officials agreed with tribes and cited concern with looting on federal lands.
In addition to the two national surveys of federal agencies and Native Americans, researchers reviewed the documentation process required by NAGPRA, Interior Department databases, legal records, and other public information provided by federal agencies and tribes. The study was funded by a National Park Service grant.
Specific recommendations in the report address the law, regulations, and federal oversight and enforcement, as well as creating and improving databases, and devising more or improved tribal and federal consultation policies to improve relations.The report, Federal Agency Implementation of the Native American Graves Protection and Repatriation Act, is available from NATHPO based in Washington, D.C. To view the report, go to http://www.nathpo.org/.
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NATIVE SPIRIT FILM AND VIDEO FESTIVAL, LONDON ENGLAND
Deadline August 31, 2008
The Native Spirit Festival 2008 will be accepting short and feature length film submissions to this year's festival, until August 31, 2008.
Documentary or fiction will be accepted. All films produced by indigenous filmmakers and productions that feature aspects of indigenous life, history, culture, traditions, art etc. are eligible for submission.
More information: http://www.nativespiritfestival.com/
IMAGINE NATIVE FILM AND MEDIA ARTS FESTIVAL
Call for Submissions
Deadline September 8, 2008
Do you have a great idea for a short documentary or short drama? Enter imagineNATIVE's competition to pitch your idea to a panel of major Canadian broadcasters. Three documentary pitch contestants and three drama pitch contestants will be selected to receive an intensive "How to Pitch" workshop.
One winner from each category will be selected. Best Documentary Pitch will receive one-month usage of a Sony HDV Camera. Best Drama Pitch will receive a $5,000 Development Deal with APTN. Email your one-page pitch idea and biographies of the production team to Kerry Potts at kpotts@imagineNATIVE.org.
A NIGHT TO CELEBRATE: SHORT FILMS BY INDIGENOUS PEOPLE OF THE AMERICAS
Deadline September 12, 2008
Women in Film International Committee (WIFI) is accepting short film submissions for its even, "A Night to Celebrate: Short Films by Indigenous People of the Americas" on October 25, 2008. Films can be about any topic, so long as at least one member of the production team (writer, director, actor, producer, cinematographer, etc.) is of indigenous descent.
Films should be 30 minutes maximum (DVD, Region 1 only). All films must be in English or contain English subtitles. For more information and an application please e-mail NativeShortsLA@yahoo.com or call Tessa Bell at (908) 310-7141.
CINEMA PROSPERITE CALL FOR SUBMISSIONS
Deadline September 15, 2008
The Social Equity Venture Fund is accepting entries for Cinéma Prospérité, a film competition designed to showcase successful models of enterprise-based development work. Up to $20,000 will be awarded to new and professional filmmakers worldwide who have made short films showcasing real people working to end poverty through enterprise-based solutions.
Visit their website: www.sevenfund.org/cinema
11TH ANNUAL NATIVE AMERICAN FILM & VIDEO FESTIVAL
Call for Entries
Deadline September 20, 2008
The Eastern Cherokee, Southern Iroquois & United Tribes of South Carolina are seeking submissions for their 11th annual film festival. The festival showcases films that feature, or are produced or directed by, Native American people.
Categories include: Dramatic Feature, Documentary Feature, Documentary Short, Commercial Feature, Short Subject, Music Video, Animated Short Subject, Public Service, Student Film, and Industrial. The deadline for submission is September 20, 2008.
Mail a clearly labeled DVD screener to the address provided on the application. There is no admission fee. For an entry form, visit cherokeesofsouthcarolina.com/filmfestivalform.html. For questions or more information, e-mail
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