Olga J. and G. Roland Denison Visiting Professorship of Native American Studies

The Olga J. and G. Roland Denison Visiting Professorship of Native American Studies brings to campus a noted scholar, artist or practitioner to teach, research, lecture, serve the community and participate in other activities of the program. The Denison family generously established this endowed professorship in 2007. The gift helps to enhance the Native American Studies Program at Central Michigan University to increase understanding of the historical experiences, cultural traditions and innovations, and political status of Indian peoples in the United States and Canada. The Denison Visiting Professorship of Native American Studies also helps build upon the relationship between the Saginaw Chippewa Indian Tribe, CMU and the Mount Pleasant community.

Olga and G. Roland Denison

Dr. Holly Cusack-McVeigh

Confronting a History of Grave Robbing and Looting: Repatriation as Restorative Justice

Thursday, April 20
4:00 p.m.
Anspach Hall 161
Open event flyer (PDF)

Dr. Holly Cusack-McVeigh, Associate Professor of Anthropology and Museum Studies at Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis, will discuss repatriation as a human rights issue and form of social justice that pushes back on a history of colonization. 

Indigenous heritage has long been the focus of scientific study, but also the target of looting and grave robbing for sport for even longer. In November 2013, the Indianapolis Division of the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the FBI's Art Crime Team launched a complex, multi-year criminal investigation that set the stage for what has become the FBI's largest single recovery of Native American ancestral remains, cultural objects, and foreign artifacts to date.

This case highlights the painful legacy of looting and grave robbing – one that continues to be felt in contemporary communities today.

Sponsored by the Department of Philosophy, Anthropology and Religion and the Olga J. and G. Roland Denison Visiting Professorship of Native American Studies in the College of Liberal Arts and Social Sciences.

Closeup image of Holly Cusack McVeigh wearing blue shirt

Past visiting scholars

  • Spring 2023: "Women Leading the Way: Indigenous Education" - Panel Discussion Livestream
  • Spring 2022: Gifts for the River Film Festival
  • Spring 2019: Screen Printing Workshop with Dylan Miner
  • Spring 2019: LaDonna Brave Bull Allard
  • Fall 2018: Ty Defoe, "Gifts for the River"
  • Spring 2018: Elizabeth LaPensée
  • Spring 2017: Ty Defoe
  • Fall 2016: Ty Defoe​
  • Spring 2016: Gayle Ross​
  • Fall 2015: Gayle Ross​
  • Spring 2015: N​ative Skywatchers Educator Workshop​
  • Fall 2014: Native Skywatchers​
  • Spring 2014: Eddie Benton-Banai​
  • Spring 2013: Shirley Brauker
  • Spring 2012: Dee Ann Sherwood
  • Fall 2011: Dee Ann Sherwood
  • Spring 2011: Winona LaDuke
  • Spring 2010: Daniel Ramirez
  • Fall 2009: Eddie Benton-Banai