Sensitivity to Native American Cultural Traditions
Nez Pierce tribal traditions are preserved at Montana's Big Hole National Battlefield. (NPS)
The Native American Graves Protection and Repatriation Act (NAGPRA) formally affirms the rights of lineal descendants, Indian tribes, and Native Hawaiian organizations to custody of Native American human remains, funerary objects, sacred objects, and objects of cultural patrimony with which they can show a relationship of lineal descent or cultural affiliation. In enacting this legislation, Congress and the President acknowledged that over the course of the nation's history, Native American human remains and funerary objects have suffered from differential treatment as compared with the human remains and funerary objects of other groups. They also acknowledged that the loss of sacred objects by Indian tribes and Native Hawaiian organizations has negatively impacted Native American religious practices. They further acknowledged the failure of American law to recognize concepts of communal property that were traditionally and still are in use by some Indian tribes.
At Wyoming's Devils Tower National Monument at least six tribes still perform traditional ceremonial activities that demonstrate the sacred nature of the site. These activities include prayer offerings (bundles and cloths), sweatlodge ceremonies, vision quests, and Sun Dances.
Devils Tower National Monument (NPS)
This web site links to resources on the human skeletal remains of "Kennewick Man", found in 1996 and claimed by Indian tribes, local officials, and some members of the scientific community.
Native Americans at
Mojave National Preserve
This web site describes how local tribes were contacted and given the opportunity to present their own story.