Reviews for Plundered Skulls and Stolen Spirits : inside the fight to reclaim native America's culture

Copyright American Library Association, used with permission.

Museums and other institutions holding Native American collections have been working with NAGPRA--the Native American Graves Protection and Repatriation Act--since its passage in 1990, with varying degrees of support, hostility, cooperation, and challenge. In this very accessible book, Denver Museum of Nature & Science curator Colwell discusses his and the museum's work with Native communities and objects. Particularly significant is the discussion of Calusa remains held by the museum. Because of specific legal definitions and scant historical documentation, those remains originally were classified as "culturally unaffiliated"--essentially left in limbo, unconnected to the tribal entities of today. Colwell carefully works through what this meant for the museum and for the Native people seeking repatriation, as the law and its interpretations changed over time. (Those remains were eventually returned.) The narrative or storytelling form of writing will work for general readers and Native communities as well as for scholars and museum professionals. This powerful book will be of particular importance to those working in museum and tribal settings, but is highly appropriate for anyone interested in cultural heritage and the legal efforts to manage claims for Native patrimony. Summing Up: Essential. All public and academic levels/libraries. --Frederic W. Gleach, Cornell University