First of all, I want to thank Judith Reynolds for her article regarding my work with the Native American Graves Protection & Repatriation Act (NAGPRA) in The Durango Herald on Nov. 10. Unfortunately, the subheadline that read “FLC completes NAGPRA requirements in November” is both inaccurate and misleading. This does not reflect what was reported in the article. For example, my quote, “Over the last six years, the college has come close to being in compliance with the law … At the end of November this huge project will almost have been complete.” This was referring to a NAGPRA Documentation & Consultation grant received in 2017. This oversight, error or whatever you want to call it, on the part of the editorial staff has the potential of creating unintentional consequences regarding the good work being done at Fort Lewis College. In fact, compliance with NAGPRA is ongoing at FLC and will continue long after I retire.
FLC is committed to NAGPRA compliance through the curation work and documentation of the collections, as well as ongoing consultation with Tribal Nation representatives regarding the collections. There is no end point to this important work at FLC as it continues to comply with NAGPRA and its engagement with Native students, faculty and descendant communities. We have taken great strides in decolonizing the museum and the other work that we do at Center of Southwest Studies, which serves as a model for other academic museums and galleries.
director, Center of Southwest Studies, Fort Lewis College