The Indigenous International Repatriation Movement is advancing in countries throughout the world. Join art historian India Rael; Honor Keeler, assistant director of Utah Diné Bikéyah and NAGPRA review committee member; Curtis Zunigha, Cultural Resources Director from the Delaware Tribe of Indians; and community leaders from Utah Diné Bikéyah for a group discussion on repatriation, the history of Indigenous Ancestors and cultural items at Princeton, and the institutional ethics of return.

This event is the second of two public events being held in conjunction with the multi-site exhibition, “Public Lands, Private Hands: An Exhibition Depicting the Exploration and Exploitation of the American West.”


The exhibition and related events are sponsored by PEI with additional funding provided by the University Center for Human Values, Humanities Council, the Undergraduate Student Government Projects Board, the Carl A. Fields Center for Equality and Cultural Understanding, the Mamdouha S. Bobst Center for Peace and Justice, Lewis Center for the Arts, and the Princeton University Art Museum.


The history of exploration and exploitation in the American West will be the focus of the multi-site exhibition, “Public Lands, Private Hands: An Exhibition Depicting the Exploration and Exploitation of the American West,” open Monday, May 6, 2019, through Monday, May 13, in the Lewis Arts Complex CoLab and the Princeton University Art Museum Works on Paper Study Room. The exhibition is organized by photographer Fazal Sheikh, the Currie C. and Thomas A. Barron Visiting Professor in the Environment and the Humanities in the Princeton Environmental Institute (PEI). The exhibition will continue to be open at the Museum on weekends through June 9, 2019.

The CoLab installation will feature Sheikh’s original photographs documenting the ruination of the Utah landscape by uranium mining, oil and gas extraction, and the militarization of the desert. Artworks by Princeton students in Sheikh’s Spring 2019 environmental studies course, “Exposure: The Storied Landscape of Bears Ears National Monument and America’s Public Lands,” will expose the mythologies of preservation politics and interrogate histories of displacement and return. Also on display will be photographs drawn from the University’s collections that document Native American villages across the Southwest, railroad and mining projects, and mission schools.

At the art museum, photographs of missionaries and miners will serve as a backdrop to a selection of Indigenous belongings displaced by the first generation of European pilgrims, ambient sound recorded in the Utah desert, and a recorded testimony by Navajo spiritual leader Jonah Yellowman, who was instrumental in the 2016 creation of Bears Ears National Monument by President Barack Obama.


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The CoLab is located on the Forum (street) level of the Wallace Dance Building at the Lewis Arts complex, 122 Alexander Street, Princeton. View map of Lewis Arts complex

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Presented By

  • Lewis Center for the Arts
  • Council of the Humanities
  • University Center for Human Values
  • Carl A. Fields Center
  • Mamdouha S. Bobst Center for Peace and Justice
  • Undergraduate Student Government Projects Board
  • Princeton Environmental Institute
  • Princeton University Art Museum