The work of the Haudenosaunee repatriation committee has paid dividends. Lawyers Shannon O’Laughlin, Thane Joyal, and Onondaga Faithkeeper Tony Gonyea along with representatives from the other nations, tirelessly work to return sacred objects to their people. I the past most of their work was with museums but with the explosion of on-line auctions, their work has expanded greatly.
Last week, wampum strings that were listed on e-bay were successfully repatriated. Shannon O’Loughlin, who had previously communicated with lawyers for e-bay about these issues generally, enabled her to cut right thru some of their more problematic administrative rules and communicate directly with the seller. Shannon was able to inform the seller of the Haudensaunee’s position on the return of sacred objects and the significance that wampum holds in our culture. The seller then volunteered to return the wampum to Onondaga, for no money.
Nyaweñha (thank you) to all of members of the repatriation committee for your great work and also appreciation goes out to the potential seller for the return to the wampum to the Haudenosuanee. Let’s hope this is an inspiration for others who hold sacred objects to return them home.