A fascinating account of both the historical and current struggle of Native Americans to recover sacred objects that have been plundered and sold to museums. Museum curator and anthropologist Chip Colwell asks the all-important question: Who owns the past? Museums that care for the objects of history or the communities whose ancestors made them? This controversy escalated in recent years as hundreds of tribes have used a landmark 1990 federal law (the Native American Graves Protection and Repatriation Act, NAGPRA) to recover their looted heritage from more than a thousand museums across the country. At issue is how to balance the religious freedoms of Native Americans with the freedoms of American scientists; arguments continue unabated about whether the emptying of museum shelves elevates human rights or destroys humanity’s common heritage. Colwell is a respected leader and outspoken voice in the repatriation debates, He recounts his personal journey to understand how repatriation has transformed both museums and tribes, by following the historical trail of four objects as they were created, collected, and then ultimately returned to their sources.