Description of the Project

Project Title: Learning NAGPRA: Resources for Teaching and Training

Funding Agency: National Science Foundation 

Home Institution: Indiana University (IU)

In 2014 and 2015, researchers from Indiana University received National Science Foundation funding (grants 1449465, 1540447) through their Cultivating Cultures of Ethical STEM initiative to study how repatriation is taught and learned, and to work toward interventions to improve the resources available. The “Learning NAGPRA” project prioritizes a more thorough understanding of the challenges and bottlenecks in preparing professionals for work related to NAGPRA and repatriation. It also seeks better ways to assist learners at different points throughout their education on issues relating to professional ethics, working with human subjects, building cultural competency and relationships with Native American communities, and NAGPRA consultation and compliance. The project hopes, in collaboration with tribal colleges and participants, to look beyond traditional Euroamerican pedagogy, to find methods that speak to both indigenous and non-indigenous students.

The first year focused on background research and project planning and aimed to understand the perspectives and priorities of students and educators in learning and teaching about ethics and more specifically NAGPRA in anthropology and museum studies-related programs. A core component of the grant through its first three years is the Learning NAGPRA Collegium, a workshop format that brings together graduate students, educators, museum professionals, tribal cultural specialists, and members of professional organizations to discuss and then construct educational methods and materials for particular audiences in different disciplines and at all stages of career. We envision the result to be a website to act as a dynamic “hub” where a site visitor can hear a talk, explore a case study, connect to other NAGPRA-related resources, consult the wisdom of NAGPRA experts both tribal and non-tribal, or find materials to add to course planning.