The NAGPRA Community of Practice (NCP) has been a group effort. Throughout my NAGPRA career, I have relied on colleagues and mentors to help me do my job better. In creating the NCP, I sought input from many folks throughout the NAGPRA community. We are now in year three of the three-year IMLS grant, and I’ve been thinking about the post-grant years and how to make sure that the NCP is sustainable. I decided once again to seek colleagues' input and asked for volunteers for the NCP Steering Committee.
The number of people who responded to my call for volunteers surprised me. In fact, there were so many I had to turn quite a number away. I am excited to announce that we now have a NCP Steering Committee composed of 10 members. Three members represent museums (as the term is defined in the Act), four represent Tribes, one is a consultant, one represents a Federal agency, and one represents the National NAGPRA Program.
The Community of Practice Steering Committee members are:
- Anne Amati, University of Denver Museum of Anthropology
- Bridget Ambler, Bureau of Land Management Canyons of the Ancients Visitor Center and Museum
- Jan Bernstein, Bernstein & Associates NAGPRA Consultants
- RaeLynn Butler, Muscogee (Creek) Nation Historic and Cultural Preservation Department
- Deanna Byrd, Choctaw Nation Historic Preservation Department
- Meg Cook, Mississippi Department of Archives and History
- Amber Hood, The Chickasaw Nation Department of Culture & Humanities, Division of Historic Preservation
- Ellen Lofaro, University of Tennessee Department of Anthropology
- Melanie O’Brien, National NAGPRA Program
- Reylynne Williams, Gila River Indian Community Tribal Historic Preservation Office
The Steering Committee has two primary goals – 1) to transition the NCP into the post-grant years and 2) to broaden input for programming and other initiatives. We've had two meetings so far and have discussed how to make the NCP sustainable after the grant ends as well as ways that the NCP can directly improve capacity for implementation of NAGPRA. We have also brainstormed topics for the bi-monthly calls. One of our future goals is draft a mission and vision statement for the NCP.
I am excited to work with these colleagues as we move forward with the NCP. Meg Cook shared that she is “honored to participate in this collaborative effort to guide the NAGPRA Community of Practice. As a museum representative, I recognize the need to broaden accessibility to resources and expand consultation. These are areas in which the community is most impactful. This group has enabled my institution to strengthen relationships with our Tribal partners and decolonize our NAGPRA process. I look forward to future opportunities NCP will provide across the nation.”