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Native American Graves Protection and Repatriation Act Overview

The Native American Graves Protection and Repatriation Act (NAGPRA) became law in 1990; regulations implementing the statute were completed and went into effect in January 1996. The law formally affirms the rights of Indian tribes, Native Alaskan entities, and Native Hawaiian organizations to custody of Native American human remains, funerary objects, sacred objects, and objects of cultural patrimony with which they have a relationship of cultural affiliation. NAGPRA gives even stronger custody rights to lineal descendents when such a close relationship can be documented. In addition, the law and regulations describe procedures designed to ensure that all Americans can derive educational, historical, and scientific value from the remains and objects covered by the statute through public interpretation, documentation, and study.

Sources of Information

  *   The Native American Graves Protection and Repatriation Act (NAGPRA)”a summary article from Archaeological Method and Theory: An Encyclopedia, edited by Linda Ellis, Garland Publishing Co., 2000.

  *   Native American Graves Protection and Repatriation Act (PDF version)

  *   Final Regulations, 43 CFR 10 (PDF version)

 

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