The national program PBS NewsHour recently visited UC Berkeley and examined how the school is working to repatriate artifacts to Indigenous tribes. Many of the artifacts are held in the Phoebe A. Hearst Museum of Anthropology.
The story examined all the ways the museum — and the campus — have changed their ways of interacting with the many artifacts collected from Indigenous tribes in California.
“You have to change professional practice and institutional policies and process, which is what we have done,” said Sabrina Agarwal, a bio-archaeologist and professor of anthropology who heads Berkeley’s Native American Graves Protection and Repatriation Act (NAGPRA) committee. “I think we have had a shift in realizing we are not the experts, right? It is the people that — whose history that we are interested in which are the experts. And if they are still alive, we — they are the people that we need to learn from and listen to.”
The program also featured the cultural learning program ‘oṭṭoy, which is a collaboration between Café Ohlone and the Hearst Museum.