Appendix G: How we did it: Workshop Overview
The following overview remarks are based on comments from workshop leaders and participants.
- The setup of the workshops varied significantly however, a circle of chairs seemed to encourage more individual participation. An informal format was most conducive to creating a constructive environment.
- Each workshop began with a blessing, which helped establish common ground and gave everyone the feeling that we were gathered to work together, to listen to each other.
- Ms. Chavez began each workshop with information describing how she became interested in the issue and how the problem affected her as a Cultural Resource Management professional. This approach created an open area between "the establishment" which represents a perceived impersonal bureaucracy and the other participants. Ms. Chavez set the stage for what we hoped would be frank, personal responses from those attending. She discussed working without knowledge of how dangerous the objects are, how risky it is to work where pesticides are present, and what long term effects that may have to her health. She discussed the tension between some museums and tribes regarding this issue and gave examples she and tribal elders experienced during several NAGPRA consultations.
- Dr. Caldararo addressed why the pesticides were applied and the history of their use over the past 200 years. He discussed various substances and reviewed the health hazards posed by each and why they could not be removed, even with present technology, without changing the objects significantly. The issues of dose and exposure were defined.
As money was not provided in the grant for food, it was open. People were encouraged to eat as a group so they could informally discuss on the morning’s session and add to the afternoon’s agenda.
- Ms. Chavez and Dr. Caldararo demonstrated the use of protective gear and ways to reduce or avoid direct contact with potentially contaminated regalia, which is meant to be worn and used. Many attendees requested more information on this issue. It is important that workshop leaders clearly state the limitations of protective clothing and remind participants that they should only wear respirators that have been fitted by a health care professional, after assessing the individual’s health condition.
It is also important to note this clothing must be considered a barrier only and that it becomes contaminated after one exposure. Participants were reminded that the face, especially the eyes, should not be touched by contaminated gloves.
The presentation also discussed testing methods and their associated costs.
- Ms. Chavez and Dr. Caldararo discussed how to notify tribes and museum staff, and public policy initiatives currently addressing this issue.
The workshop ended with an open discussion of the day's issues. It was an opportunity to share questions and concerns, and often some anger and frustration.
- Participants were asked to complete written evaluation forms.