NORWALK, Conn. (February 4, 2019) – The Norwalk Community College Archaeology Club will be hosting a presentation by Dr. Nicholas F. Bellantoni on the important stories of Henry ‘Opukaha’ia, a native Hawaiian and Itankusun Wanbli, Oglala Lakota and the repatriation of their physical remains. The presentation will be held on Thursday, February 14 at 8:00 p.m. on NCC’s West Campus in the Culinary Arts Dining Room. Refreshments at 7:30 will precede the lecture.
Dr. Bellantoni oversaw the archaeological disinterment, forensic identifications and return of their skeletal remains to their Native communities and families. The lecture, titled, The Long Journeys Home: The Repatriations of Henry ‘Opukaha’ia and Albert Afraid of Hawk, will give examples of the wide-reaching impact of American imperialism and colonialism on Indigenous Hawaiian and Lakota traditions and their cultural resurgences, in which the repatriation of these young men have played significant roles. Bellantoni’s excavations, his interaction with two Native families and his participation in their repatriations have given him unique insights into the importance of heritage and family among contemporary Native communities and their common ground with archaeologists.
Dr. Nicholas F. Bellantoni serves as the emeritus state archaeologist with the Connecticut State Museum of Natural History and Archaeology Center at the University of Connecticut. He received his doctorate in anthropology from UConn in 1987 and soon thereafter was appointed state archaeologist. He serves as an Adjunct Associate Research Professor in the Department of Anthropology at UConn, and is currently President of the Archaeological Society of Connecticut and former President of the National Association of State Archeologists.
A book signing will follow the presentation.