In 1989, The National Museum of the American Indian Act (NMAIA) was successfully passed after a long and intense struggle. One year later, the Native American Graves Protection and Repatriation Act (NAGPRA) followed. These federal repatriation statutes—arguably some of the most important laws in the history of anthropology, museology, and American Indian
rights—enabled Native Americans to reclaim human remains, funerary objects, sacred objects, and objects of cultural patrimony.
Twenty years later, the controversy instigated by the creation of NMAIA and NAGPRA continues to simmer.In the Smaller Scope of Conscience is a thoughtful and detailed study of
the ins and outs of the four-year process behind these laws. It is a singular contribution to the history of these issues, with the potential to help mediate the ongoing debate by
encouraging all sides to retrace the steps of the legislators responsible for the acts.
Few works are as detailed as McKeown's account, which looks into bills that came prior to NMAIA and NAGPRA and combs the legislative history for relevant reports and correspondence.
Testimonies, documents, and interviews from the primary players of this legislative process are cited to offer insights into the drafting and political processes that shaped NMAIA and
Above all else, this landmark work distinguishes itself from earlier legislative histories with the quality of its analysis. Invested and yet evenhanded in his narrative, McKeown
ensures that this journey through history—through the strategies and struggles of different actors to effect change through federal legislation—is not only accurate but eminently
C. Timothy McKeown is a legal anthropologist with the Department of the Interior where, for 18 years, he worked directly on the implementation of NAGPRA. He is also an instructor for the National Association of Tribal Historical Preservation Officers.
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May 29th - June 1st, 2013
The conference theme, "Towards a New Social Contract?," will explore inequality in Latin America. In the first decade of the 21st century, income inequality has gone down in a substantial number of Latin American countries. This is the first time that inequality has declined on such a broad scale since we have had reasonably reliable data on income distribution. Beginning in the 1990s educational reforms have expanded the percentage of the population with secondary and tertiary education. The governments of the left that came to power after 2000 implemented a number of other reforms to improve life chances for the underprivileged, such as increases in the minimum wage, social assistance programs, and health care coverage. Are these trends likely to continue, or are they conjunctural and easily subject to reversal once economic growth rates decline? Learn More
June 13th - June 15th, 2013
The NAISA Council invites scholars working in Native American and
Indigenous Studies to submit proposals for: Individual papers, panel sessions, roundtables, or film screenings. All persons working in Native American and Indigenous Studies are invited and encouraged to apply. Proposals are welcome from faculty and students in colleges, universities, and tribal colleges; from community-based scholars and elders; and from professionals working in the field.Learn More
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