When my friend Erin went to go work at the National Museum of the American Indian, the Navajo/Dine woman whom gave the tour told her that the reason why she had choosen to work there was because when she went on a tour of the museum, they had pulled out the garment that she had helped make to bury her grandfather in.
Can you even think about what that must have been like for that woman? To know that you are seeing the exact garment that you yourself and your family members had made by hand to put your relative whom you loved very much to rest, and there in front of you lies that garment? And all the while you know, YOU KNOW, that the fact that it’s there infront of you means that someone had gone and dug up your relative just to steal that, and you don’t even know what kind of condition they are in. You don’t know if they were reburied, or whether their remains were taken, perhaps even separated out, to be put on display or to be studied for “science” and “anthropology”.
And it’s not like this is uncommon. The fact is there are many many people who’s ancestor’s remains and personal items are locked up in museums and they either have a long hefty fight to get it out of there and back to the family or they have no hope… particularly if the museum is a privately owned one.
This is the respect that is given to natives.