Student Research in Washington D.C.

Alexandria Decatur

Alexandria Decatur

Alexandria Decatur '16, Student Researcher

Major: History and Politics;

Nexus: Law, Public Policy, and Human Rights

Awards: Wilma J. Pugh Grant

This summer, I was awarded the Pugh History Research Grant by the Mount Holyoke College History Department. As a result, I was able to spend two weeks in Washington D.C. to compile research materials for my history senior thesis. During this time, I was able to acquire additional knowledge and research material in the subject of Native American culture and history at the National Museum of the American Indian, the National Archives and Records Administration, and the Law Library.

My thesis will discuss how modern Native American tribes have taken actions toward repatriation through political means, such as NAGPRA, and also how tribes are struggling yet today with the government's inability or unwillingness to assist Native American political retrieval of their many precious historical and cultural objects from museums and private collections.

To encompass all elements of this topic, I wanted my research to include several of the legal, political, cultural, and social implications of NAGPRA legislation. The research that I was able to complete in Washington D.C. allowed me to successfully compile several of these various elements that I hope to eventually include in my completed thesis.