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What is co-curation?

The weekend of July 15th, 2022 marked the 8th Annual National Gathering of American Indian Veterans in Wheaton, IL. This event welcomes all veterans, families, and members of the public, as well as visitors from across the country.

As part of the festivities, Native American veterans and other guests were invited onto the Field’s marae in a powhiri, or welcome ceremony, led by visiting Maori community members. Speakers and musicians representing several North American and Pacific Islander groups took part in the ceremony, which was attended by nearly 100 guests.

The marae continues to be a place of gathering and cultural exchange for both visitors and residents of Chicago; veterans were previously honored there as part of 2019’s D-Day Warriors exhibition, and at last year’s iteration of the National Gathering powhiri.

Photos by JP Brown

On Friday, 23 March 2007, The Right Honorable Helen Clark, Prime Minister of New Zealand, came to the marae of Ruatepupuke II at The Field Museum.

That Monday, prior to her arrival in Chicago—and following several years of quiet negotiation by Te Papa Tongarewa in Wellington—the Museum's Board of Trustees had approved the repatriation of the remains of fourteen Maori individuals to New Zealand.

The Field Museum acquired these koiwi (bones) from a New York scientific supply company in the late 19th century; it was not known how they came to be in the United States, or where and how they had been obtained in New Zealand.

The first public announcement of the Board's decision was made formally to the Prime Minister by Dr. John Edward Terrell, Regenstein Curator of Pacific Anthropology, and Mr. Joseph Brennan, then the Museum's Legal Counsel. They were supported on the marae by Christopher J. Philipp, Regenstein Pacific Collections Manager, and Désirée Wisse, then Regenstein Pacific Conservator.

Later that year, Dr. Terrell and A. Watson Armour III Curator Robert Martin traveled to New Zealand to participate in the official repatriation of the Maori ancestral remains held by The Field Museum. John and Bob were accompanied by a delegation of seven representatives from the The American Indian Center in Chicago, who have developed a special relationship with Ruatepupuke II at The Field Museum.

This was the first repatriation of Maori ancestral remains from a mainland museum in the US. A moving ceremony took place at The National Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa in Wellington, on Te Papa’s stunning, cooperative-built modern marae.

The audio used in the making of this film originally aired on "The World" (a co-production of the BBC, PRI, and WGHB Boston) on 7 September 2007. All images are © Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa.

These images are supplied for your personal study and research only. Any further reproduction of these images requires the permission of the Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa. If your image has been used in this film and you would like it removed please contact John Terrell at the Field Museum.

View a transcript of the production here.

Thank you note from the NZ Embassy. Click to enlarge.

Today, we hear from Regenstein Collections Manager Chris Philipp. Chris explains the purpose the Museum's collections can really serve, and why the items you see in our galleries are only one part of the story:

Videos by Angle Park, Inc.

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