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Accomplishing NAGPRA

Perspectives on the Intent, Impact, and Future of the Native American Graves Protection and Repatriation Act

Edited by Sangita Chari and Jaime M. N. Lavallee

Publication Year: 2013

Accomplishing NAGPRA reveals the day-to-day reality of implementing the Native American Graves Protection and Repatriation Act. The diverse contributors to this timely volume reflect the viewpoints of tribes, museums, federal agencies, attorneys, academics, and others invested in the landmark act.

NAGPRA requires museums and federal agencies to return requested Native American cultural items to lineal descendants, culturally affiliated Indian tribes, and Native Hawai’ian organizations.  Since the 1990 passage of the act, museums and federal agencies have made more than one million cultural items—and the remains of nearly forty thousand Native Americans—available for repatriation.

Drawing on case studies, personal reflections, historical documents, and statistics, the volume examines NAGPRA and its grassroots, practical application throughout the United States.
Accomplishing NAGPRA will appeal to professionals and academics with an interest in cultural resource management, Indian and human rights law, Indigenous studies, social justice movements, and public policy.

Published by: Oregon State University Press

Title Page, Copyright

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Sangita Chari & Jaime Lavallee

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pp. 7-18

The Native American Graves Protection and Repatriation Act (NAGPRA; 25 U.S.C. 3001 et seq.) marked its twentieth anniversary on November 16, 2010. At the time we both worked for the National Park Service in the National NAGPRA Program. Inspired by the significance of the anniversary, the National NAGPRA Program convened a small group of practitioners representing NAGPRA’s main constituents...

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1. The Case for NAGPRA

Jack F. Trope

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pp. 19-54

The Native American Graves Protection and Repatriation Act (NAGPRA) was part of a larger movement to recognize and rectify government actions taking place over centuries that had the goal of destroying Native American religions and cultures. For most of American history, the United States government actively discouraged and even outlawed the exercise of traditional Indian cultures and religions. For instance...

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2. "The Secretary Shall": Actual and Apparent Delegation of NAGPRA's Implementation Responsibilities

C. Timothy McKeown

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pp. 55-82

When the Native American Graves Protection and Repatriation Act (NAGPRA) was signed into law on November 16, 1990, it contained provisions requiring the Secretary of the Interior to carry out certain administrative duties and authorizing the secretary to carry out others...

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3. Finding Our Way Home

Eric Hemenway

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pp. 83-98

Throughout Indian Country,1 introductions are very important. You are expected to announce yourself by providing information including who you are, where you come from, and what tribe you are from. Therefore, before the purpose of this chapter is presented, I feel obligated to state some personal facts. My name is Eric Hemenway. I am an Odawa/Anishnaabek2 from Cross Village, Michigan. I work for the Little...

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4. A Call for Healing from the Tragedy of NAGPRA in Hawaii

E. Sunny Greer

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pp. 99-114

When my papa said the aforementioned words, the Hawaii State Historic Preservation Division was interviewing him for a video regarding the reburial and care of Native Hawaiian iwi kupuna (ancestral bones). Papa was respected for his expertise in life and death issues since he was a Po‘okela Kahuna Lā‘au Lapa‘au (foremost medicinal herbalist). He was also noted for his experience in conducting...

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5. Amending Wonder: Museums and Twenty Years of the Native American Graves Protection and Repatriation Act

Patricia Capone

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pp. 115-134

Hundreds of museums in the United States have implemented the Native American Graves Protection and Repatriation Act (NAGPRA) for more than twenty years. My experience with NAGPRA is based on just one of those museums subject to the act, albeit one which stewards a large and broad collection—the Peabody Museum of Archaeology and Ethnology at Harvard University. This experience includes...

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6. Federal Agency Perspective

C. Timothy McKeown, Emily Palus, Jennifer Riordan, & Richard Waldbauer

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pp. 135-162

The federal agencies who must comply with NAGPRA have a variety of missions that are defined in the statutes that created them. Often those missions are characterized as “conservation” or “multiple-use” when it comes to their responsibilities for the public lands over which they have authority. Though they all have preservation of cultural heritage as part of their missions, or are mandated by law, the various...

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7. NAGPRA's Impact on Non-Federally Recognized Tribes

Angela Neller, Ramona Peters, & Brice Obermeyer

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pp. 163-196

The Native American Graves Protection and Repatriation Act (NAGPRA)1 gives standing to federally recognized Native American tribes, Alaska Native villages, and Native Hawaiian organizations. There is no statutory basis under NAGPRA for the repatriation of human remains, funerary objects, sacred objects, or objects of cultural patrimony to a non-federally recognized Indian group or tribe that has stated...

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8. Implementing NAGPRA at History Colorado: Applying Cultural Property Legacy Collections and Forging Tribal Partnerships

Bridget Ambler & Sheila Goff

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pp. 197-222

History Colorado (HC, formerly the Colorado Historical Society) is the state history museum. Along with its collection and preservation responsibilities, HC administers educational programming, publications, exhibits, the State Historical Fund (SHF), and the Office of Archaeology and Historic Preservation (OAHP). As a museum institution that receives federal funding, HC is required to comply with the Native...

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9. Moving Forward from the Last Twenty Years: Finding a New Balance

Shannon Keller O'Loughlin

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pp. 223-238

The twentieth anniversary of the Native American Graves Protection and Repatriation Act (NAGPRA) presented us with a moment to evaluate the past two decades of its implementation and an opportunity to reconsider how we move forward. I would like to take this moment (and this chapter) to describe the planning for, and underlying dilemmas encountered at, the NAGPRA at 20 Symposium held at the George...

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10. Navigating a Colonial Quagmire: Affirming Native Lives in the Struggle to Define Our Dead

Clayton W. Dumont Jr.

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pp. 239-264

For Native peoples, the Native American Graves Protection and Repatriation Act (NAGPRA 25 U.S.C. 3001) is about protecting the physical remains, the graves, the spirits, and the dignity of our ancestors. Yet there is something even more fundamental at stake. NAGPRA is about our very survival as Native peoples. It is about our ability to maintain our own identities, to define our worlds and histories for ourselves, to...

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11. The Impact of NAGPRA on Communities

Jan I. Bernstein

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pp. 265-284

What do we as human beings desire more than anything else? After our basic needs of food, shelter, and clothing are met, we desire to be recognized as human, and in that recognition we want to be treated with dignity and respect, to be seen as nothing less than human. The history of the United States is filled with chapters in which groups of people were marginalized and had to fight for the same basic rights that...


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pp. 285-296

E-ISBN-13: 9780870717215
E-ISBN-10: 0870717219
Print-ISBN-13: 9780870717208
Print-ISBN-10: 0870717200

Page Count: 296
Illustrations: B&W Photographs.
Publication Year: 2013

OCLC Number: 870969959
MUSE Marc Record: Download for Accomplishing NAGPRA