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School Completes Initial Outreach on Native Artifacts
More than 450 Native American, Native Alaskan, Native Hawaiian groups contacted

July 12, 2017

Grace and peace to you from Andover Newton Theological School.

We write today in an effort to continue to keep the public, and especially the Andover Newton community, updated on our efforts to repatriate sacred objects from our collection at the Peabody Essex Museum to the descendants of their rightful owners. This is part of our ongoing commitment to the proper treatment of Native American, Native Alaskan, and Native Hawaiian objects and an expression of our respect for the cultures from which they come and to which we seek to return these objects.

We have now mailed out all of the letters to Native American, Native Alaskan, and Native Hawaiian tribes and nations to request a consultation with each regarding objects in Andover Newton’s on-deposit collection that might belong to them. This totals more than 450 letters, and it brings this stage of the repatriation process to completion.

Each letter requests consultation on specific objects that may be subject to the Native American Graves Protection and Repatriation Act (NAGPRA). Letters also provide a complete summary of the Native American objects under the control of the School, inviting tribal leaders to consult with Andover Newton as to whether any objects are of interest to them. We have shared the same information with NAGPRA officials, who will further disseminate information via their Web site. This way, tribes and nations whom the School has not been able to locate or reach may be able to contact Andover Newton.

We have received responses from about 35 tribes. A handful of these have submitted requests for repatriation of specific objects. As this happens, notices of Intent to Repatriate will soon be published in the Federal Register, as required by NAGPRA.

We will continue to post updates on the website as this work moves forward.

Interested in learning more? Attached, please find a redacted version of the letter we are sending tribes and nations, as well as an image of the identification project under way.

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