- Location: Vanderbilt Law School • 131 21st Ave South • Nashville, TN 37203
- Room: Renaissance Room
- Contact: Erin Parr-Carranza
- Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Audience: Free and Open to the Public
Please join the George Barrett Social Justice Program in welcoming Dr. Chip Colwell for a discussion of his book Plundered Skulls and Stolen Spirits: Inside the Fight to Reclaim Native America’s Culture. This event is free and open to the public. Lunch will be served.
Five decades ago, Native American leaders launched a crusade to force museums to return their sacred objects and allow them to rebury their kin. Today, hundreds of tribes use the Native American Graves Protection and Repatriation Act to help them recover their looted heritage from museums across the country.
As senior curator of anthropology at the Denver Museum of Nature & Science, Chip Colwell has navigated firsthand the questions of how to weigh the religious freedom of Native Americans against the academic freedom of scientists and whether the emptying of museum shelves elevates human rights or destroys a common heritage. This book offers his personal account of the process of repatriation, following the trail of four objects as they were created, collected, and ultimately returned to their sources: a sculpture that is a living god, the scalp of a massacre victim, a ceremonial blanket, and a skeleton from a tribe considered by some to be extinct. These specific stories reveal a dramatic process that involves not merely obeying the law, but negotiating the blurry lines between identity and morality, spirituality and politics.
Dr. Chip Colwell is Senior Curator of Anthropology at the Denver Museum of Nature & Science. He has held fellowships with the American Academy of Arts & Sciences, National Endowment for the Humanities, and US Fulbright Program. He has published more than 50 scholarly articles and chapters, and 9 books. His work has been highlighted in such venues as The New York Times, The Denver Post, Archaeology Magazine, and garnered numerous awards, including the National Council on Public History Book Award. He is the founding editor-in-chief of SAPIENS, an online magazine dedicated to anthropology for the public.
Visitors should park in the Terrace Place Garage, spaces 41-92, at the corner of 21st Ave. South and Terrace Place, or the Wesley Place Garage, spaces 52-170, at the corner of 21st Ave. South and Scarritt Place. Parking costs range from $4.00 to $12.00 at these garages. Both are within walking distance of the law school.