SWS Alumna Plays Vital Role in Recent Repatriation

March 4, 2019

Chinese officials receiving artifacts during a repatriation ceremony.


Illegally obtained artifacts seized by the FBI in 2014 have just been repatriated to China last week in part due to the efforts of VCU alumna Liz Ale. Currently a Master’s student at Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis, Ale is part of a team of collections and repatriation consultants helping the FBI analyze over
7,000 objects from around the world which the FBI found in an Indiana home.

Ale graduated from VCU with a Bachelor’s in Anthropology in 2015 and has been working on this project since 2017. Although Ale has been involved in eight repatriations in total so far, last Thursday’s ceremony held in Indianapolis’s Eiteljorg Museum of American Indians and Western Art was the first she could attend in person.

 

Chinese officials receiving artifacts during a repatriation ceremony.


Ale has “never been so proud of [her] work” due to the “overwhelmingly positive” response from the Chinese officials receiving the cultural objects. The repatriation project has underlined for Ale the importance of collaborating across cultures as well as using all four fields of Anthropology: archeological, socio-cultural, linguistic and biological.

The IndyStar has more information about the ceremony and repatriation efforts.