Here’s what Dr.Dorothy Lippert the case officer for repatriation at the Smithsonian Institution has to say about repatriation: “What were the fundamental reasons for repatriation? I don’t think archaeologists could maintain the argument that they were working for the public good when they were treating some members of the public as if they weren’t fully human. I’m thinking of cemeteries. There have been several cases–in California, in Iowa–where a cemetery was excavated, and remains from the same time period were determined to be either human or specimens for labs on the basis of whether they were white or Native American. The Smithsonian wasn’t alone in this.”
Here repatriation means that the artifacts and the human remains at the archaeological museum are restored by the Museum to the native American tribes. Apparently whether the dead was white or coloured determined the treatment of the remains as human or otherwise !