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Healing and Justice through Repatriation

Learn about the importance of Repatriation from a Native perspective. Hear how representatives of three Native Nations work to reclaim cultural materials and ancestors from institutions across the US, and how their Tribal Historic Preservation Offices (TPHOs) support Repatriation work.  Presented by the McClung Museum in conjunction with the exhibition The Repatriation of Archaeology and the Native Peoples of Tennessee.


RaeLynn A. Butler is a citizen of the Muscogee (Creek) Nation and currently serves as the Manager of the Historic and Cultural Preservation Department at the Muscogee (Creek) Nation. She is from Peach Ground Ceremonial Ground and is Raccoon Clan. RaeLynn earned a Master of Science degree in Botany and Plant Pathology from Purdue University and a Bachelor of Science degree in Environmental Science from Haskell Indian Nations University. She oversees the Muscogee Nation’s efforts to promote, protect, and preserve Mvskoke cultural resources under the National Historic Preservation Act and the repatriation of Muskogean Ancestors under the Native American Graves Protection and Repatriation Act.  

Deanna Byrd is a registered professional archaeologist and completed her education at The University of Oklahoma and Illinois State University. She serves as the NAGPRA Liaison-Coordinator for The Choctaw Nation of Oklahoma. She is currently working with several institutions across the United States for the respectful repatriation of Chahta ancestors as part of a comprehensive nationwide search, No Stone Unturned Project. Deanna works to educate on the importance of Choctaw Historic Preservation, Indigenous Archaeology, Tribal Collaboration and Advocacy, and the healing aspects of NAGPRA across the country. Deanna has authored several historical articles for a monthly column in the National Choctaw Publication, Biskinik-Iti Fabvssa, on topics related to the Chahta community during her eight years of service to her Tribe. Most recent work includes the ties Chahta artisans have to cultural items in the Smithsonian collection. Deanna also heads the Chahta History Literacy curriculum development for grades K-4. Deanna values her time through her artwork, beading, traveling, and by spending time with her three beautiful children, new son-in-law, and fur babies. 

Miranda Panther is the NAGPRA Officer for the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians Tribal Historic Preservation Office (EBCI THPO). She has been employed by the tribe in this position for almost 14 years. She graduated with honors from Western Carolina University (WCU) with a Bachelor of Science degree in Criminal Justice. She also attended graduate school at WCU, pursuing a degree in Social Work. Miranda is responsible for NAGPRA compliance for the EBCI. This entails drafting repatriation and disposition claims, participating in consultations, securing protected reburial sites with federal partners within the Cherokee’s eight state aboriginal territory, and planning all reburials.

Sponsored by the Tennessee Valley Authority and UT's Office of Repatriation.

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Thursday, March 30 at 5:30pm

Virtual Event
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Lectures & Presentations


Humanities & Social Sciences, Diversity & Inclusion, Law & Policy


Current Students, Faculty & Staff, Alumni, General Public

McClung Museum of Natural History & Culture
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Katy Malone

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