Penn Arts & Sciences Logo

Cultural Reclamation in California

Thursday, February 5, 2015 - 12:30pm

Nevil Classroom, Penn Museum, 3260 South Street, Philadelphia, PA

"Cultural and Linguistic Reclamation Among a Northern California Native American Community"

Talk by Dr. Brian Daniels of the Penn Cultural Heritage Center and Dr. James Sarmento from the University of California Davis. 

Many Native American communities have launched revitalization programs in an effort to restore their cultural practices and language. These efforts achieve some success when there are elders and surviving culture bearers who can act as guides and teachers. However, many Native communities have cultural practices and linguistic terms that have fallen into disuse, but they desire to bring them back as well. We describe this social and educational process as cultural and linguistic reclamation. In this paper, we will describe these dynamics among the Butte Valley Indian Community in northern California and discuss the local impacts of this community heritage initiative.


Dr. Daniels is the director of research and programs for the Penn Cultural Heritage Center at the University of Pennsylvania Museum. He co-directs the Safeguarding the Heritage of Syria and Iraq Project, which aims to enhance the protection of cultural heritage by supporting professionals and activists in impacted areas. He is co-principal investigator of an initiative funded by the National Science Foundation to study cultural heritage in conflict situations. He has worked with indigenous communities in western North America on issues surrounding heritage rights, repatriation, and recognition for over fifteen years. Dr. Daniels is a lecturer in the Anthropology Department at the University of Pennsylvania, and holds an appointment as a research associate at the Smithsonian Institution. Previously, he served as the manager of the National Endowment for the Humanities regional center initiative at San Francisco State University, where he developed strategies for community engagement on cultural heritage issues.

Brown Bag Lecture - Please Bring a Lunch!

Sponsored by the Penn Cultural Heritage Center with support from the PoGo Family Foundation.