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Letters to the Editor: Native Americans deserve justice. Here’s what UC Berkeley is doing

A campus worker at UC Berkeley removes the name "Kroeber Hall" from the exterior of the anthropology building Jan. 26.
A campus worker at UC Berkeley removes the name “Kroeber Hall” from the exterior of the anthropology building Jan. 26.
(Irene Yi / UC Berkeley)

To the editor: Your editorial on UC Berkeley’s decision to remove Aflred Krober’s name from its anthropology building told only one part of an important story.

We accept the criticism of our past failures to repatriate Native American ancestral remains and funerary objects, but we contest the claim that the renaming was nothing more than a misguided effort to make amends for those failures. In fact, the renaming is part of a broader initiative launched following a 2017 tribal forum.

Under the current campus leadership, we realize how inappropriate it is to dictate a tribe’s cultural inheritance. We know that we still have far to go, but through the appointment of a new advisory committee, including many Native American members, the hiring of a new liaison to tribes and a reorientation toward restorative justice, we have already achieved the highest rate of repatriation in more than 20 years.

We hope these changes will allow us to improve our relations, based on mutual respect, with the diverse tribes of California.

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Randy Katz, Berkeley

The writer is vice chancellor for research at UC Berkeley.


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