Statement Concerning CalNAGPRA
Jun 24, 2020
To everyone who is confused and hurt by the letter sent by SAA regarding CalNAGPRA, this is a personal apology. I made a mistake in leadership, caused by hasty decision-making and a failure to consult the appropriate committees and groups within SAA. The stance taken in the letter was wrong, and it has been officially rescinded by Society for American Archaeology.
This is my error alone, as the SAA Board and committees that would normally have been consulted were not aware of the letter. I apologize personally to all impacted stakeholders, and I recognize that this lack of internal communication has risked undoing decades of work in our relationships with tribal communities in California and across the country. Repatriation is an issue of critical importance to many communities, and the rights of indigenous peoples should always be valued before the convenience of researchers. SAA is committed to righting this wrong, beginning with re-starting the review process by submitting the letter to the Committee for Native American Relations, the Repatriation Committee and the Committee on Museums, Collections, and Curation for their comments.
Joe E. Watkins
President, Society for American Archaeology