Save the Date: N. Scott Momaday at U-M

The Inaugural Robert F. Berkhofer, Jr. Lecture
in Native American Studies

An Evening with N. Scott

Friday, March 11, 2016
6:00 – 7:30 PM
Michigan League Ballroom
Reception to follow lecture

Pulitzer Prize-winning novelist, Native American scholar, and poet N. Scott Momaday has been hailed as “the dean of American Indian writers” by the New York Times.  He crafts — in language and imagery — majestic landscapes of a sacred culture.

Named a UNESCO Artist for Peace and Oklahoma’s poet laureate, he was also a recipient of the 2007 National Medal of Arts, presented by President George W. Bush.  Momaday was the first Native American to be awarded the Pulitzer Prize for his novel, House Made of Dawn, widely considered to be the start of the Native American Renaissance.  His most recent volume, Again the Far Morning: New and Selected Poems, was released in 2011.

His other awards include a Guggenheim Fellowship and the “Mondello,” Italy’s highest literary honor. His works include The Way to Rainy Mountain, The Names: A Memoir, The Ancient Child, and a new collection, Three Plays, which celebrates Kiowa history and culture.  He was featured in the Ken Burns documentary, The West, that showcased his masterful retelling of Kiowa history and mythology.

For more information, contact Scott Lyons, Director of Native
American Studies at U-M (

Robert F. Berkhofer, Jr. (1931-2012) was an historian and a leading scholar in the field of Native American studies. The author of many influential books, including The White Man’s Indian: Images of the American Indian from Columbus to the Present (1978), Berkhofer taught at Michigan from 1973-1991.  This annual lecture on Native American Studies honors his work and legacy.

ICT Profile of Tiya Miles


Tiya is one of our favorite scholars.

An excerpt:

Miles is best known for her study of the relationship between African and Cherokee peoples in American history, and her two books on the topic: Ties That Bind: The Story of an Afro-Cherokee Family in Slavery and Freedom and The House on Diamond Hill: A Cherokee Plantation Story. Her newest research project is leading her on an interesting journey through the history of early Detroit: “I’m finding that Native Americans were slaves in the Detroit area and also participated in the captivity and trade of [black and Native] slaves in Detroit,” she says.

UofM NALSA Indian Law Day: Indigenous Peoples’ Rights Under International Law

Indian Law Day 2012:

Full schedule here. (pdf)

Friday, March 30, 2012



Armstrong Wiggins, Indian Law Resource Director, Washington Office

Frank Ettawageshik, Executive Director of United Tribes of Michigan

Kirsten Carlson, Assistant Professor of Law at Wayne State University

AP Story on New NAGPRA Federal Regulations

The story about response to 2010 federal regulations can be found various places, including here.

Although the story focuses primarily on the University of California, Berkeley and the Kumeyaay Nation, it also mentions a variety of other universities, including the University of Michigan. Last month, UM’s NAGPRA Advisory Committee issued policies and procedures along with a cover letter. A previous post about the regulations can be found here.

Univ. of Michigan Announces Shift in NAGPRA Compliance–Good News!!!!

From the U-M Record Update:

A new federal rule that takes effect today regulating the transfer of Native American human remains provides an important opportunity for U-M to work with Native American communities.

More information
Click here to go to the Web site of the Advisory Committee on Culturally Unidentifiable Human Remains under NAGPRA.

That’s the view of Stephen Forrest, vice president for research. His office will oversee the transfer of human remains controlled by the university but for which no culturally affiliated Indian tribe has been identified.

“Of course we will respectfully comply with the law,” Forrest says. “But more importantly the rule gives us a framework for establishing trust and strengthening working relationships with Indian tribes in Michigan and elsewhere.”

The new rule was adopted as an extension of rules implementing the Native American Graves Protection and Repatriation Act of 1990, which gave standing to lineal descendents and culturally affiliated tribes to seek repatriation of burial remains, funerary objects, sacred objects, and cultural patrimony. It did not address the disposition of culturally unidentifiable human remains.

In the collection of the Museum of Anthropology, U-M has the remains of about 1,600 Native American individuals unidentifiable with an existing tribe.

Forrest says both his office and the Museum of Anthropology are seeking additional staff to facilitate the outreach to tribes, consultations and transfers.

While some are worried that the transfers will limit future research opportunities, Forrest sees it differently.

“Developing trusting relationships may facilitate future communications about ways of asking and answering questions of broad interest to both the university and native communities.”

Last fall Forrest appointed the 12-member Advisory Committee on Culturally Unidentifiable Human Remains under NAGPRA to provide advice and guidance on the procedures used to notify and consult with groups from whose tribal or aboriginal lands the remains were removed.

NAGPRA requires federal agencies and organizations that receive federal funds to submit to the U.S. Department of the Interior inventories of Native American human remains in their possession, and to include their best judgment as to whether the remains are culturally affiliated with a present day Indian tribe or known earlier group, or are culturally unidentifiable because no shared group identity can be reasonably traced.

Culturally affiliated remains are repatriated upon request after a public comment period.

The new rule specifies that after appropriate consultation, culturally unidentifiable remains are to be transferred to a Native American tribe from whose tribal or aboriginal lands the remains were excavated or removed.

Now that the new rule has clarified the process, Forrest says his office will be the university point of contact for requests and will take the necessary steps to facilitate the respectful transfer of Native American human remains in the U-M collection to tribes.