Event: FRIDAY SEMINAR: Plundered Skulls and Stolen Spirits: Why the Repatriation Wars Matter

Date & Time

December 7, 2018 - 4:00pm to 6:00pm
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Contact Information

Sumiji Takahashi
Phone 310-825-4169


Fowler A222 (Seminar Room)

Event Type

Friday Seminar

Event Details

Dr. Chip Colwell

Senior Curator of Anthropology, Denver Museum of Natural Science


Five decades ago, Native American leaders launched a crusade against museums to reclaim their sacred objects and to rebury their kin. This controversy has exploded in recent years as hundreds of tribes have used a landmark federal law to recover their heritage from more than one thousand museums across America. Many still question how to balance the religious freedoms of Native Americans with the academic freedoms of American scientists, and the arguments continue on about whether the emptying of museum shelves elevates human rights or destroys humanity’s common heritage.
This talk presents Dr. Colwell’s new book and winner of a 2017 Choice Outstanding Academic Book Title Award, Plundered Skulls and Stolen Spirits: Inside the Fight to Re claim Native America’s Culture, a personal journey that illuminates how repatriation has transformed both American museums and Native communities. This story reveals why repatriation law has become an imperfect but necessary tool to resolve the collision of worldviews between scientists and Native Americans—to decide the nature of the sacred and the destiny of souls.