Chip Colwell is an archaeologist, editor-in-chief of SAPIENS and author of Plundered Skulls and Stolen Spirits: Inside the fight to reclaim Native America's culture (University of Chicago Press; March 2017). He was senior curator of anthropology at the Denver Museum of Nature & Science from 2007–20. 

The laws regarding Native American remains leave too much up to museums

In the absence of clearer rules, institutions should obey the spirit and not just the letter of the law – and be more careful with material they may have to return

22 Aug 2023
Red-on-buff plate with a bird holding a fish in its beak, c. 900–1150, Sacaton, Arizona. Arizona State Museum

The ancient heritage at risk from Trump’s border wall

With ‘controlled blasting’ underway in a national monument area in Arizona, cultural sites and their attendant artefacts may be lost forever

20 Feb 2020
Dance Mask (detail; c. 1900), unrecorded artist, Yup'ik, Alaska. Promised gift of Charles and Valerie Diker. Photo: Dirk Bakker

Native American art hasn’t changed, but museums have

The Metropolitan Museum is finally showing Native art in its American galleries. This is important, but only as a reflection on museums themselves

21 Apr 2017